The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said bank failures this year are likely to generate the fund's biggest losses since the regional banking crises of the early 1990s. So far this year, the fund expects to lose an estimated $510 million to $810 million because of five bank failures. The largest collapse, that of First National Bank of Keystone, W.Va., amid allegations of fraud, could cost the fund up to $750 million.

Intel and the American Medical Association said they are developing an online system to verify that Web users who dispense medical advice are indeed doctors. Such a system could be crucial for the next wave of Internet health-care applications, which could let doctors share lab results and diagnose patients electronically. Engineers designed the system to verify doctors' credentials and prevent pranksters from impersonating a physician. The system will also be able to verify patients' identity to protect sensitive medical records.

Pfizer was told by a Los Angeles jury to pay $143 million for using a British company's name to market the Trovan antibiotic, a drug that already has been a disappointment for the U.S. pharmaceutical company. Pfizer said it will challenge the verdict in trial court.

Planet Hollywood filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, a day after the movie-themed restaurant chain closed nine of its 32 U.S. restaurants. Analysts have said aggressive expansion and increased competition have hurt the company.

United Airlines is dropping its "Rising" advertising campaign, which it introduced in 1997 as the successor to its famed "Friendly Skies" slogan. The ads are being phased out and will be replaced by a new campaign in early 2000, a spokesman said.

Interest rates on short-term Treasury securities rose in auction. The Treasury Department sold $9 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 4.780 percent, up from 4.730 percent last week. An additional $8 billion was sold in six-month bills at a rate of 4.930 percent, up from 4.870 percent. The three-month rate was the highest since Aug. 30. In a separate report, the Federal Reserve said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills rose sharply last week, to 5.34 percent from 5.24 percent.

Newell Rubbermaid, the Freeport, Ill.-based maker of Calphalon cookware, Levolor blinds and other household products, agreed to buy a 51 percent stake in Reynolds, a French manufacturer of pens and pencils, for about $64.8 million.


DLJdirect, the online brokerage arm of investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, posted a third-quarter loss of $3.3 million as the cost of landing new accounts surged 86 percent from the previous quarter. The brokerage had a profit of $800,000 a year earlier.

Enron said third-quarter earnings rose by 33 percent, to $223 million, excluding nonrecurring items, underpinned by rapid growth of its core power-marketing business amid global electricity deregulation.

Hertz said third-quarter earnings climbed 17 percent, to $139 million, on increased rentals of both cars and industrial and construction equipment. The company also announced that Frank A. Olson will retire as chief executive at year's end. President Craig R. Koch was named his successor.

International Paper, the world's largest paper and forest-products company, reported sharply higher third-quarter earnings thanks to better pricing for its products and cost-cutting efforts. Not counting one-time gains and losses, International Paper earned $192 million, compared with $81 million in the same quarter a year ago.

Merrill Lynch reported third-quarter earnings of $572 million, compared with a loss of $173 million a year ago, when the company had a $430 million pretax write-off of costs related to staff reductions.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer reported its first profitable quarter in almost three years, earning $10.3 million on the strength of recent films, television programming and cost cutting. Wall Street analysts had predicted a loss.

Motorola, the world's No. 2 maker of cellular phones, said third-quarter profit rose to $91 million from $27 million on sales of digital cell phones and a turnaround in its semiconductor business. The company revised last year's third-quarter earnings in November to reflect new accounting procedures connected with the acquisition of Starfish Software. The revised profit includes charges of $13 million for the purchase, as well as gains on business and asset sales.

Seagate Technology, the world's largest independent maker of computer disk drives, reported a $2 million profit in its fiscal first quarter despite price cuts and a restructuring charge. Seagate lost $30 million in the same period a year earlier.

Tricon Global Restaurants said third-quarter gains including $3 million for account changes and $84 million from selling restaurants resulted in net income of $197 million. A year ago, a gain of $34 million from selling locations and other items led to net income of $128 million. Tricon credited higher sales at its Pizza Hut chain and overseas for its results.


Shares of Nextel Communications fell 8.7 percent after bankrupt NextWave Telecom denied speculation that it agreed to sell its wireless licenses to Nextel. Nextel, controlled by cellular pioneer Craig McCaw, fell $7.37 1/2, to $77. The Reston company's shares have more than tripled so far this year. Nextel, with the backing of Federal Communication Commission staff, has sought to acquire wireless licenses that NextWave won in a government auction. But NextWave said it intends to emerge from bankruptcy and retain the licenses.

America Online said it has signed a marketing deal with Universal Studios for an undisclosed amount. The first joint project will be installing kiosks where AOL subscribers can exchange e-mail and look at AOL and Universal Studios content at the theme park Universal Studios Islands of Adventure in Orlando.