The United States and the European Union could butt heads over trade restrictions on genetically modified foods, President Clinton's nominee for deputy treasury secretary told lawmakers. "The Europeans have an absolute fear, unfounded by any scientific basis, of accepting these products," Stuart Eizenstat said at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on his nomination. "They are talking about a moratorium" on imports of genetically modified foods. "It is, to my mind, the single greatest trade threat that we face systemically with the European Union," he said.

General Motors has agreed to extend the life of its Broening Highway Assembly Plant in Baltimore through the year 2001, Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening announced. Until yesterday, the automaker had not announced any plans for the truck plant beyond 2000. The plant, one of the oldest GM assembly plants, employs 2,700 workers and manufactures Chevrolet Astro and GMC Safari minivans. GM plans to build a new transmission plant in White Marsh, which employs several hundred workers.

E-Loan, an online mortgage provider, saw its stock nearly triple in price in its market debut. The Dublin, Calif.-based firm's shares, brought to market at $14, closed at $37 on the Nasdaq stock market. The initial public offering brought the company $49 million.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the world's largest accounting and consulting firm, told about 10,000 managers to sell investments in companies the firm audits. Regulators ban auditing partners from owning financial stakes in companies their firms audit. At the Securities and Exchange Commission's request, PricewaterhouseCoopers extended the ban to managers in all client-service departments. The action follows an SEC investigation into alleged violations by the firm of the agency's auditor-independence rules earlier this year.

Cisco Systems, the largest maker of Internet equipment, agreed to buy the rest of StratumOne Communications for $435 million in stock to gain semiconductors for high-speed networks. Cisco will swap 6.31 million to 7.72 million of its shares for all StratumOne stock and options. Cisco had taken an undisclosed stake in its Santa Clara, Calif., neighbor in January.

Deutsche Bank, the world's biggest bank, said former Bankers Trust chairman Frank Newman will leave the bank today, less than a month after he helped engineer the sale of the firm to the German bank for $9 billion. Newman's resignation may have been inevitable after the German bank refused to put him on its Vorstand, or top management committee.

Gillette filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that American Safety Razor's Tri-Flexxx three-blade shaving system infringes on several Gillette Mach 3 patents. American Safety Razor was not immediately available for comment.

A significant number of Americans are not maximizing the investment potential of the tax-deferred retirement savings plans offered by their employers, Fidelity Investments said, citing a recent survey. Fidelity, the nation's largest mutual funds complex, said its survey showed that some participants are not contributing the maximum allowed to their 401(k) plans, while a substantial number are reducing their earnings potential by taking loans from their plans. But overall, the study showed that 401(k) investing has been successful, a Fidelity official said.

H&R Block has agreed to buy the nation's seventh-largest accounting firm in a deal analysts say pushes the company best known for tax preparation closer to becoming an elite national financial services firm for mid-size business clients. The $240 million deal for McGladrey & Pullen LLP of Minneapolis makes H&R Block the sixth-largest accounting firm in terms of revenue.

Marshall Loeb, editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, is leaving the magazine to write a column on personal finance, the stock market and the economy for CBS MarketWatch.com, an online news provider, beginning in August.

EARNINGS

General Mills, the No. 2 U.S. cereal maker, said fiscal fourth-quarter profit rose 14 percent to $104.8 million, thanks to higher sales of breakfast cereals and new products.

Dean Foods, the nation's biggest dairy processor and distributor, said its fiscal fourth-quarter profit from continuing operations rose 10 percent, to $27.1 million, on increased earnings in its dairy, pickles and canned-pudding businesses. A charge of $6.3 million in the quarter related to plant closures made net income $20.8 million.

LOCAL BUSINESS

Cybercash, an electronic commerce firm in Reston, said it acquired Tellan Software of San Jose for an undisclosed price. The deal is expected to be completed by mid-July. Tellan Software is a privately held company that provides payment processing software for companies that want to consolidate various payment applications into one platform.

Newport News Shipbuilding said its second-quarter earnings would exceed analysts' estimates because of better-than-anticipated profit margins and a one-time gain of $25 million. The gain comes from a break-up fee Newport News is being paid from the termination of its proposed merger with Avondale Industries, and an insurance settlement. Avondale has since decided to merge with Litton Industries for a higher price than Newport News was offering.