The Bank of England sold 25 metric tons of gold -- about 3.5 percent of its reserves -- in the first step of a planned massive sell-off. Spot gold prices in Europe hit a 20-year low of $255.75 a troy ounce. The central bank said it was selling gold to buy U.S. dollars, Japanese yen and European Union euro to create a more balanced cash reserve.

Maryland legislative leaders approved a $2.5 million state loan to help General Motors build a transmission plant in Baltimore County. The loan will not have to be repaid if the company creates 420 jobs by the end of 2002 and retains that many jobs for five years. GM is to invest $210 million in the factory, which will make automatic transmissions for commercial-duty vehicles.

Long-Term Capital Management, the hedge fund that was bailed out by 14 banks and brokerages last year after nearly collapsing, will return $1.3 billion to original investors and its rescuers. The fund will return $1 billion to the banks that injected $3.625 billion last September and give back $300 million to its investors.

Worldwide sales of computer chips rose 12 percent, to $11.3 billion, in May from a year ago, led by surging sales in Asia and Japan, the Semiconductor Industry Association said.

Overnite Transportation moved employees and threatened to hire temporary help to keep open freight terminals struck by the Teamsters in Memphis, Indianapolis, Atlanta and Kansas City, Mo. Richmond-based Overnite, a unit of Union Pacific, is the largest U.S. carrier of shipments of less than a truckload that doesn't have a national labor contract.

The Direct Marketing Association will require all of its members doing business in the United States to disclose to consumers when they are sharing their private information with other marketers. The new policy, which was expected to be announced today, is intended to prevent unwanted mail or phone solicitations from reaching consumers and to protect consumers' privacy.

Sony said it is shutting its North American wireless phone business and firing about 200 employees in engineering, sales and marketing. The business had "a difficult year" and has "had a tough time staying competitive in that area," a spokesman said.

Motorola plans to hire 1,400 engineers as it works with Internet equipment maker Cisco Systems to develop an Internet protocol wireless technology that would give users instant access to voice mail, e-mail, fax and video conferencing worldwide on a single device.

A malfunction in a device that transports information over the Internet caused problems for some users trying to log on to Web sites hosted by Frontier Global Center. Yahoo, the Internet's most popular destination, was among those affected. A Frontier Global technician blamed the problems on a glitch in a computer router.

General Motors said it has petitioned federal safety officials to have the failure of a federal crash test for air bags in two of its large sport-utility vehicles termed "inconsequential." According to the petition, filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, GM wants to avoid recalling 279,132 1999 Chevrolet Tahoes and GMC Yukons, even though a crash dummy in the right passenger seat of the Tahoe tested in February suffered a neck injury.

T-bill rates fell. The discount rate on three-month Treasury bills fell to 4.59 percent, from 4.75 percent last week. Rates on six-month bills fell to 4.59 percent from 4.96 percent. The actual return to investors was 4.72 percent for three-month bills, with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,884.00, and 4.776 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,768.00. Separately, the Federal Reserve said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for making changes in adjustable-rate mortgages, fell to 5.11 percent last week from 5.14 percent the previous week.

RECALLS

Subaru recalled 95,000 Impreza and Legacy sport-utility vehicles for removal of front tow hooks that can accidentally cause air bags to deploy if the hooks come in sharp contact with curbs, dips, potholes, railroad crossings or similar road hazards. The recall covers some 1994-95 model Impreza and some 1995-96 model Legacy vehicles.

LOCAL BUSINESS

Southwest Airlines will open its first East Coast crew base for flight attendants at Baltimore-Washington International Airport today, creating 800 jobs by the end of the year and adding $28 million annually to Maryland's economy, Gov. Parris N. Glendening's office said.

Lockheed Martin of Bethesda won three contracts worth about $300 million to provide data processing and computer services to General Motors. The work will be done at Lockheed's Owego, N.Y.-based Electronic Platform Integration unit.

Newport News Shipbuilding is prepared to sweeten its pension offer when it resumes talks with striking workers today, the company said. The new round of talks between the shipyard and the United Steelworkers of America was encouraged by federal mediators.

CAPTION: (This graphic was not available) Treasury Bills