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Nextel and the Justice Department reached a settlement to ease limits on the wireless capacity the nationwide cellular phone company can hold in a given market. The proposed agreement would end a consent decree limiting Nextel's holdings on Oct. 30, 2000, five years earlier than it was scheduled to end. Nextel also agreed not to buy 900-megahertz spectrum from Geotek Communications as part of the settlement, the Justice Department said.

The computer virus Worm.Explore.Zip, proving even more virulent than first believed, sprang back from a deceptively quiet weekend amid warnings that it uses more than just e-mail trickery to spread. Computer support lines were inundated yesterday with calls about new outbreaks of the file-killing virus, which experts now say was also designed to spread within an organization through computer network links that enable co-workers to share files on each others' machines.

Iridium World Communications has laid off 15 percent of its 550 workers, a company spokeswoman said, in the latest sign of the satellite phone company's difficulties. Iridium stock fell to a year's low on the news, to just above $5 a share, amid views the company's telephone handsets have not caught on as well as Iridium had hoped.

Litton Industries said the U.S. government advised the company in February of its intent to file criminal charges after an investigation of payments to foreign consultants involving sales to Taiwan, Greece and perhaps South Korea. In a quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the defense contractor said it was in talks with the U.S. attorney for central California but did not say whether charges had been filed.

Prudential Securities is investigating what it calls an "inauthentic" letter written on company letterhead, recommending the purchase of three small-cap stocks. The letter, circulated to smaller financial firms that are Prudential's clients, urges an unnamed broker to buy stock in Trans-Global Holdings, TMANglobal.com and China Food & Beverage. Prudential was alerted to the letter earlier this month and notified regulators.

T-bill rates rose. The discount rate on three-month Treasury bills auctioned yesterday rose to 4.62 percent, the highest rate in about 10 months, from 4.51 percent the previous week. Rates on six-month bills rose to 4.855 percent from 4.760 percent, reaching an 11-month high. The actual return to investors is 4.753 percent for three-month bills, with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,883.20, and 5.059 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,754.60. Separately, the Federal Reserve said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for changing adjustable-rate mortgages, rose to 5.12 percent last week from 5.08 percent the previous week.

Healthsouth, the biggest U.S. operator of outpatient rehabilitation clinics, said its board approved a preliminary plan to split its outpatient and inpatient operations into two companies. If the plan is carried out, Healthsouth stockholders would receive shares in a tax-free spinoff called Healthsouth Hospital Corp., which would include 128 inpatient rehabilitation centers and four hospitals. Outpatient facilities would remain under the Healthsouth Corp. name.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. reportedly is in talks to buy the publishing companies William Morrow and Avon Books. Discussions to add the two companies to Murdoch's HarperCollins group are in an "advanced" stage, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Boeing announced orders and options for 45 Boeing 737s to Midway Airlines, Jet Airways of India and CIT Group, a leasing company. The deals are worth more than $2 billion if all options are exercised. In another announcement made at the Paris Air Show, Rolls-Royce said it has received orders totaling $275 million to provide jet engines for Airbus Industrie and three leasing companies.

Gasoline prices dropped an average of 2.78 cents a gallon in the past three weeks, to $1.1902, but the decline might stall if oil prices continue to rise, according to Trilby Lundberg, publisher of the Lundberg Survey of 10,000 service stations.

Securities regulators would be required to make price information on corporate bonds as widely available as data about stocks and government bonds under a bill passed by the House. Such information would make the market more competitive and enable investors to shop around for the best prices, said sponsors of the bill. The Clinton administration supports the measure, which passed the House 332 to 1 and advanced to the Senate for further consideration.

Trans World Airlines and the union representing its flight attendants and machinists said they had reached a new contract deal. No terms of the pact were disclosed. It comes on the heels of what TWA called a final offer last month, a proposal the union leadership found unacceptable. The new deal is expected to be presented to union members this week.

Intel introduced two new processors for mobile personal computers: a Pentium II mobile chip and a Celeron for laptops, both running at 400 megahertz. The new products are designed to give Intel an edge in its competition with Advanced Micro Devices in the hot notebook-computer market, where AMD has stolen market share. Until now, AMD had faster mobile products.

Inktomi, the company that provides the Internet searching technology behind Yahoo and many other portal sites, plans to announce today it has developed a new method of document-classifying that it believes will help people find information online more easily. Called "concept induction," the technology uses supercomputing techniques to classify content. It will allow Web sites to automatically create Web directories without human editors and to enhance those that have human editors, said Inktomi CEO David Peterschmidt.

INTERNATIONAL

Venezuela's economy shrunk by an alarming 9.8 percent during the first quarter of 1999, according to a news report attributed to the Central Bank. A Central Bank official, who asked to remain anonymous, said the institution would not deny the report in the newspaper El Universal. In the absence of official figures, economists had estimated the economy contracted by as much as 8 percent.

France's Vivendi agreed to acquire Superior Services for $27 a share, or $875 million. The transaction also includes "a little over $100 million" in Superior debt, a company spokeswoman said. Milwaukee- based Superior Services provides waste collection and recycling services to 750,000 residential and business customers in 22 states. It had revenue of $319.7 million in 1998.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber is suspending construction of a $180 million factory in Brazil because of a 20-month decline in car sales of almost 30 percent. The plant in southern Rio Grande do Sul -- Goodyear's third in Brazil -- was scheduled to produce at least 3,400 tires a month by the end of the year to supply General Motors and Ford. Construction will be delayed until 2001.

DaimlerChrysler board member Juergen Hubbert said sales of Mercedes Benz brand cars rose 16 percent in the first five months, to 405,000, compared with a year earlier. The biggest gains came in Germany and the United States.

EARNINGS

Rite Aid, the third-largest U.S. drugstore chain, said its fiscal first-quarter profit rose on higher sales of prescription drugs. Net income rose to $81 million, after a charge in the quarter ended May 29, from a restated $78.3 million a year earlier.

CAPTION: Treasury Bills (This graphic was not available)