Litton Industries yesterday withdrew its proposal to acquire Newport News Shipbuilding for $1.3 billion. Litton made the offer in May, but Defense Secretary William S. Cohen subsequently said the Pentagon would oppose the bid. Litton instead is going ahead with separate plans to purchase Avondale Industries, a New Orleans shipyard that Newport News had once tried to buy.

Freddie Mac will team up with the NAACP to help open the door for minorities struggling to buy a house in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Texas. Freddie Mac will buy up to $500 million in mortgage loans as part of the alliance that will be managed through local NAACP Community Development Resource Centers, working with financial institutions, some of which are minority-owned. The goal is to bring the percentage of minority homeowners up to the level of the national rate of 66 percent. About 46 percent of blacks own homes.

AT&T and several other companies, including MCI WorldCom, British Telecom and Sprint, were given FCC approval as a group to build an undersea fiber-optic cable from the United States to Japan. The FCC soon will open an inquiry into the undersea cable business in response to allegations by Global Crossing, which also is building an undersea cable, that the AT&T-led group would stifle competition.

AlliedSignal plans to buy the electronics unit of Johnson Matthey for $655 million, a move to take advantage of the booming use of cell phones and other electronic devices. To finance the deal, AlliedSignal will sell its Laminate Systems division to Ruetgers of Germany for $425 million.

Telefonos de Mexico reached an agreement with MCI WorldCom to end a two-year battle over fees to connect calls between the United States and Mexico. International settlement rates are the fees that U.S. phone operators pay Telmex to end calls in Mexico. The fees are generated when Telmex finishes more calls in Mexico for MCI than it asks MCI to finish for Telmex in the United States. The agreement sets a retroactive rate of 37 cents per minute for calls made in 1998, and a rate of 31 cents per minute for calls made in the first half of 1999.

Teledesic, which plans a network of low-orbit satellites to provide a range of telecommunications services, has signed a launch contract with Lockheed Martin and reached an agreement with Motorola to build the satellite network. Lockheed Martin will use Proton M and Atlas V boosters to launch a significant portion of Teledesic's planned 288 satellites.


Abbott Laboratories said second-quarter profit rose 9.8 percent, to $643 million, as rising sales of diagnostic tests offset a decline in its pharmaceutical unit.

Consolidated Papers said second-quarter profit fell 68 percent, to $10.1 million, because of low prices, competition from imports and the rising U.S. dollar.


Mobil lost a lawsuit to Canadian rancher Douglas Jones and was ordered to pay about $120,100 to settle Jones's claims that pollution from Mobil's oil and gas operations caused deaths and illness among his cattle in Alberta. Fairfax-based Mobil said it would consider an appeal. The case further strains already tense relations between the energy industry and Alberta farmers over environmental and health concerns.

Union Pacific's Richmond-based Overnite Transportation unit said a Teamsters walkout at 11 of its trucking terminals ended after the union's president, James Hoffa, asked striking employees to return to work. The company said the strike ended without its agreeing to the union's demand for a meeting on "unfair labor practices." Hoffa said he called for an end to the strike because the workers' message "has been heard."