Billionaire investor Julian Robertson's Tiger Management lost 6 percent of net assets last month on the decline of some of his biggest holdings, including US Airways Group and Waste Management, said a person familiar with the hedge fund. While Robertson lost money, some of his largest competitors gained. George Soros's Quantum Fund rose 1.6 percent during the month, and Jeffrey Vinik's Vinik Asset Management jumped 4 percent, investors said.

The proposed sale of International Monetary Fund gold reserves on the open market is looking unlikely, as the United States appears to be backing off from the conroversial plan, lawmakers and other sources said. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), who attended a meeting yesterday with Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers, said the issue, which ran into opposition in Congress and elsewhere, was no longer being considered as a viable option by the administration.

Orders to factories, bolstered by higher demand for autos and electronic equipment, rose 0.7 percent in June in a fresh sign of a recovery by the manufacturing sector. This 10th increase in the last 13 months followed a 1 percent gain in May, the Commerce Department said. Many analysts had expected factory orders to rise by 0.4 percent in June.

U.S. airlines will begin assessing the safety of their foreign partner airlines under an agreement reached with the Defense Department, the Air Transport Association said. The Defense Department has audited U.S. carriers for more than a decade to ensure they are fit to carry U.S. military personnel. The Pentagon's move to gauge foreign airline safety is prompted by the proliferation of code-sharing partnerships, where one ticket may cover travel on one or more foreign carriers. The crash last September of a Swissair aircraft off the east coast of Canada, killing all 229 people on board, focused attention on questions surrounding code sharing. Fifty-three passengers aboard Swissair Flight 111 had bought tickets on that plane as Delta Air Lines Flight 111.

Two biotechnology companies said they have begun human testing of a compound that may repair damage to nerve cells. Amgen of Thousand Oaks, Calif., and Guilford Pharmaceuticals of Baltimore said if initial safety studies, now beginning in Europe, prove satisfactory they will test the ability of the compound to repair damage from Parkinson's disease, a brain disorder. The drug is the first of a potentially important class of compounds called neuroimmunophilins that were discovered by Guilford and licensed for development to Amgen.

First Union stock fell 3.6 percent after its top management gave a three-hour presentation to Wall Street analysts about its Internet plans and other strategies. The fifth-largest U.S. bank plans to launch a Web site next week that will offer online trading, credit applications, and financial planning and budgeting advice. But the bank's stock, already depressed after a costly and disappointing merger binge, fell $1.68 3/4 yesterday to close at $44.56 1/4.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the London International Financial Futures Exchange are expected to announce today a strategic partnership that would expand access to each other's biggest contracts, exchange sources said. The deal calls for establishing a joint venture called the Spread-Trading Facility that would allow customers to trade the short-term interest-rate futures contracts of both markets on a single computer screen.

Plymouth of Radford, Va., has hired 100 more workers to meet strong demand for Pokemon-themed school supplies. Plymouth is the primary manufacturer of Pokemon school supplies, including notebooks, folders, pens and pencils. The cartoon characters from the Japanese company Nintendo are among the most popular figures for children ages 5 to 12 this year. Pokemon, short for "pocket monsters," was introduced in the United States in September.

General Motors announced a marketing partnership with the National Football League's Dallas Cowboys. The automaker did not release financial terms of the five-year deal, which will give GM exclusive rights to display signs and GM/Cowboys seat cushions throughout Texas Stadium, as well as to advertising in Cowboys-sponsored publications and broadcasts.

General Motors also has formed an extensive joint marketing venture with Warner Bros. that gives the carmaker unprecedented access to the entertainment giant's movie, broadcast and music properties. The alliance, with a value of at least $30 million, builds upon past deals in which GM used cartoon characters Wile E. Coyote and Tasmanian Devil to pitch cars.

Boston Chicken has asked a federal bankruptcy court in Phoenix to change the process for bidding on its assets after receiving a buyout offer. An investment group calling itself Boston Market Acquisition, led by Jack Baum of Dallas-based Sagebrook Investments, has offered to buy Boston Chicken's assets for $140 million. Boston Chicken's board of directors approved the financial terms of the sale on July 30, according to court documents. Tuesday the company asked the court to amend portions of orders issued in June and July that require two creditors, GE Capital and Bank of America, to approve any purchase proposal.

Polo Ralph Lauren won a trademark-infringement lawsuit against Westchester Media, publisher of Polo Magazine. U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Milloy in Dallas gave Westchester 90 days to stop using the Polo name, saying it was "inescapable" that the magazine would cause consumer confusion with the designer of clothing, fragrances and home furnishings.

Two South Florida companies may have defrauded investors who bought life-insurance policies from terminally ill people, say investigators, who believe that in some cases the policies didn't actually exist. FBI agents have already seized assets--including 40 cars--belonging to Financial Federated owner Frederick C. Brandau, according to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal. Brandau told the Journal that he and his companies have done nothing wrong and that he is fighting the accusations. He also said none of the investments was at risk.

INTERNATIONAL

Airbus Industrie consortium members are holding talks that could lead to the European aircraft manufacturer becoming a single corporate entity, London's Financial Times reported. The newspaper said each of the Airbus partners--Matra, DaimlerChrysler Aerospace and British Aerospace--was holding negotiations on a bilateral basis.

LOCAL BUSINESS

America Online said it expanded a previous arrangement with American Greetings to create a new one in which AOL will receive $100 million over the next 5 1/2 years. AmericanGreetings.com will offer a mix of free and subscription electronic greeting card services, with its name prominently displayed, to users across all AOL brands, which include CompuServe, ICQ and Netcenter.

American Capital Strategies of Bethesda reported net income of $6.1 million, up 80 percent from the same period a year ago. For the first six months, the buyout and specialty finance company reported profit of $12.3 million compared with $5.8 million a year ago.

Igen International, a Gaithersburg biotechnology firm, reported a loss of $5.1 million on revenue of $3.9 million in its fiscal first quarter ended June 30. That compared with a loss of $2.9 million on revenue of $3.7 million during the period last year.