China banned the manufacture of a wide range of consumer products, including toothpaste and microwave ovens, in an effort to break the nation's deflationary spiral. Consumer prices in China's glutted markets have been falling since October 1997. Regulators also will withhold permits for new luxury apartments, hotels and office buildings to combat a widespread real estate glut.

American Airlines told employees it will continue with its plans to integrate Reno Air at the end of the month even without a blessing from its pilots. The issue led to a February sickout that stranded hundreds of thousands of passengers and cost the company $225 million--over $100 million more than it cost to purchase Reno.

Intel will require Internet sites that carry its advertising--including its popular "Intel Inside" campaign--to warn consumers what personal details are collected about them online, the company said.

Shares of eight Internet companies got a boost when they were recommended by Merrill Lynch analyst Henry Blodget, who said the firms are poised to benefit from stronger holiday e-commerce and advertising sales. America Online rose $1.68 3/4 to $99.18 3/4; Amazon.com was up $3.87 1/2 at $113.12 1/2; Yahoo, rose $6.18 3/4 to $145.06 1/4; eToys climbed $4.93 3/4 to $45.18 3/4; Excite At Home rose 43 3/4 cents to $40.06 1/4; Lycos was up $2.43 3/4 at $44.75; Inktomi rose $3 to $119; and Barnesandnoble.com climbed $2.50 to $19.25.

Lucent Technologies agreed to buy Excel Switching, a provider of open switching platforms for telecommunications, $1.7 billion in stock.

EARNINGS

News Corp., the media company run by Rupert Murdoch, said its fiscal fourth-quarter profit from operations fell 20 percent, to $214 million, because of higher programming costs at the Fox TV network and lower circulation revenue at London's Sun newspaper. Including $224 million in one-time costs--mostly related to equipment upgrades at the British pay TV service 40 percent-owned by News Corp.--the company lost $10 million, compared with a profit of $233 million a year earlier.

RECALLS

Almost 10,000 electric heaters made by Trane Co. of Tyler, Tex., a division of American Standard, were recalled because of faulty wiring that may cause fires. The Consumer Product Safety Commission said some supplemental heaters that provide additional warmth for larger home electric systems may have defective wiring that doesn't properly control the motor. No injuries or fires have been reported. Trane and American Standard dealers sold the accessory heaters from October 1997 until May for $250 to $400. Consumers should call 1-888-556-0125.

LOCAL BUSINESS

Policyholders of three of the nation's largest automobile insurers filed suit in Prince George's County alleging the carriers improperly reduced and denied claims under personal injury protection coverage. The plaintiffs, who are seeking to make the case a class action, accused Allstate, State Farm and Geico of employing "bogus" reviews to use as a basis for curbing claims. The companies denied any impropriety and said they give claims their normal reviews that are necessary to hold down costs.

U.S. Foodservice reported fourth-quarter net income of $31.9 million, up 19.4 percent from $26.7 million for the same period a earlier. Sales of redundant assets and the addition of several large contracts boosted results. Revenue rose 17.6 percent to $1.7 billion. For the year, the Columbia food service distributor posted $83.2 million in net income, compared with a loss of $47 million in 1998.

Government Technology Services of Chantilly signed a strategic agreement with Washington-based Information Strategies, a software development company, to create a sales and service system for government clients that use Microsoft products.