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Major airlines appeared ready to go through with the third fare increase of the year as more carriers matched a 4 percent increase introduced by Continental Airlines over the weekend. The lone holdout was US Airways. If the increase holds, it would come on the heels of a 4 percent fare boost in January and a 3 percent increase in March. The new increases would apply to leisure travel in the 48 states on tickets bought seven, 14 and 21 days in advance, but do not affect business travel.
The Supreme Court set aside a lower-court decision that had forced major local phone companies such as Ameritech to lease a critical part of their existing networks to new competitors. The high court ordered the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider an August 1998 ruling that the major carriers could be forced to lease at a discount service for carrying phone calls among telephone company central switching offices.
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., meanwhile, lost a Supreme Court appeal in a dispute over how much money it can collect from bankrupt companies after taking over their plans. The court, without comment, turned away an appeal by the federal agency. Lower courts had reduced the agency's claim against a Colorado steel company whose plan it assumed.
Avondale Industries' board said it was prepared to accept the $529 million cash offer for the New Orleans shipyard from Litton Industries. Avondale previously had agreed to be acquired by Newport News Shipbuilding for $470 million, but chose Litton instead after Litton made twin bids for Avondale and Newport News. The Pentagon said last week that it was opposed to Litton's offer for Newport News but did not oppose Litton's acquisition of Avondale.
Intel agreed to pay $780 million for Dialogic, a supplier of equipment that merges phone and fax functions into computers. Intel said the transaction would allow it to expand its sales of high-volume servers -- computers used to manage networks of other computers -- in the multibillion-dollar office network and telecommunications markets.
Two specialty chemical firms, Crompton & Knowles and Witco, announced plans to merge in a tax-free exchange of shares worth about $2.26 billion. The total value of the deal is about $4 billion, including the $1.7 billion combined debt of both companies, they said. Witco is based in Greenwich, Conn., and Crompton & Knowles is in Middlebury, Conn.
Teamsters extended a strike deadline again early today as negotiators reported progress in talks aimed at reaching a new contract with 17 trucking companies that haul new cars to dealerships. "We're not going to strike as long as we're making progress," Chip Roth, a Teamsters spokesman said shortly after a second strike deadline expired at 12:01 a.m.
American Airlines' more than 20,000 flight attendants stand to get raises totaling 15.9 percent under a six-year contract, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants said, releasing details of its recent deal with the carrier. The new pact also offers a 3 percent bonus if union members approve the contract and longevity bonuses for attendants who have worked more than 25 years. Union officials said the bonuses and salary increases under the deal replace a profit-sharing plan, which will be phased out in 2000.
AmSouth Bancorp of Birmingham plans to buy Nashville-based First American in a $5.4 billion stock deal, creating one the largest banks in the Southeast. The deal would create a bank with $40 billion in assets and 680 branches in Virginia and eight other states.
T-bill rates rose. The discount rate on three-month Treasury bills auctioned yesterday rose to 4.620 percent, from 4.495 percent last week. Rates on six-month bills rose to 4.750 percent, from 4.570 percent. The actual return to investors is 4.753 percent for three-month bills, with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,883.20, and 4.947 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,759.90. Separately, the Federal Reserve said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for making changes in adjustable-rate mortgages, rose to 4.93 percent last week, from 4.89 percent the previous week.
Hewlett-Packard said it will start selling its products to corporate customers on the Internet, an effort to compete more effectively with Dell Computer.
Lockheed Martin, the biggest U.S. defense contractor, might lose as much as $66 million in payments after three straight failures of its Titan IV rocket, the Air Force said. Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin already has lost $29 million in award fees because of a failed launch last August and could lose more if it's found at fault for two other Titan IV failures this year, the Air Force said.
US Airways raised salaries for 9,500 passenger service workers. Arlington-based US Airways, the nation's sixth-largest airline, said new pay scales would be based on salaries of comparable jobs at the nation's four largest airlines plus 1 percent, lifting the hourly pay of a 15-year employee by 13.7 percent to $20.33.
Some of Hechinger's debt was downgraded by Moody's Investors Service. The rating service said the downgrade "reflects the company's increasing liquidity pressure resulting from continuing losses, certain merchandise vendors reducing credit exposure to the company, and the intense competition."