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Mitsubishi Motors, Japan's fourth-largest automaker, will cut 10,000 jobs in a bid to boost competitiveness, the mass-circulation Asahi newspaper reported in Tokyo this morning. The cuts will be achieved mainly through attrition, including reducing the number of new hires and utilizing early retirement programs offering special benefits, the paper said. Mitsubishi Motors' total work force will be reduced to 78,900 employees from the current 88,800 by March 2004, for a reduction of 11 percent, the paper said. The move by Mitsubishi would be the latest in a wave of corporate restructuring announced by some of Japan's top companies amid a long economic slump.

Twenty-one U.S. companies, led by Microsoft, have formed an alliance with the National Business and Disabilities Council to increase job opportunities for people with disabilities. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said the companies taking part in the Able to Work program will share their expertise. The program has launched a Web site, Abletowork.org, with information on available jobs and job applicants.

Micron Technology, the biggest U.S. maker of memory chips, will provide Compaq Computer with memory components for its PCs in a huge five-year deal, the companies said. Financial terms were not disclosed, but industry sources close to the deal put its value at up to $20 billion. Under the alliance, Micron would become Compaq's single largest supplier of memory chips, providing nearly a majority of its worldwide requirements.

Suzuki Motor's U.S. subsidiary was sued by the American Medical Association, which contends that the automaker wrongly implies in advertising that the medical organization endorses one of its products. A Suzuki print ad, which shows a sport-utility vehicle driving through mud, features the caption: "Mud baths stimulate the central nervous system, increasing muscular excitability." The ad attributes the quote to the AMA's Journal of the American Medical Association. The AMA says it has never made that statement. The suit, filed in federal court in Chicago, asks that Suzuki be barred from running the ad and seeks unspecified damages.

Electronic Data Systems and MCI WorldCom agreed to swap computer-maintenance and telephone services for 10 years in a $12.4 billion contract that expands a partnership begun in February. EDS will get $6.4 billion to run MCI WorldCom's computer network. MCI WorldCom will receive $6 billion to provide phone services to EDS. The accord follows EDS's purchase of MCI WorldCom's Systemhouse computer-services business for $1.65 billion in April.

Stamps.com, an Internet postage company, agreed to buy iShip.com for about $305 million in stock to create a one-stop Web mailing and shipping source. Stamps.com will pay 8 million shares for iShip.com shares, warrants and options outstanding. IShip.com allows customers to compare the prices of shipping services, including the U.S. Postal Service, United Parcel Service, Federal Express and Airborne Express.

Dell Computer surpassed Compaq to become the No. 1 personal-computer maker in the United States in the third quarter, although Compaq kept its worldwide lead, two market-research firms said. Dell sold almost 2 million PCs in the United States in the quarter, giving it 17.1 percent of the market, according to Dataquest. Compaq sold 1.78 million, taking 15.3 percent of the market. International Data also said Dell took first place. Dell also rose in the global market. Both IDC and Dataquest showed Dell surpassing IBM to become No. 2 in the world.

Sales of existing single-family homes fell by 2.1 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.13 million units, the National Association of Realtors said. Yet association officials said they expect existing homes sales this year to set a record of 5.20 million units, up 4.8 percent from the 1998 record of 4.97 million units. Americans bought fewer existing homes in September, deterred by higher mortgage rates and Hurricane Floyd. It was the third straight monthly decline.

T-bill rates rose. The discount rate on three-month Treasury bills auctioned yesterday rose to 4.995 percent percent from 4.99 percent the previous week. Rates on six-month bills rose to 5.115 percent from 5.00 percent. The actual return to investors is 5.145 percent for three-month bills, with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,873.70, and 5.338 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,741.40. Separately, the Federal Reserve Board said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for changing adjustable-rate mortgages, rose to 5.47 percent last week from 5.42 percent during the previous week.

Gasoline was little changed at $1.237 a gallon, as crude oil prices stayed below last month's 2 1/2-year high, a government survey showed. The average pump price for regular self-serve gasoline rose 0.1 cent during the past week, as an increase in Midwest prices offset declines elsewhere, according to a Department of Energy survey of 800 filling stations. Prices had dropped for four weeks after reaching a three-year high of $1.268 a gallon on Sept. 20.

NCR said it would cut 1,500 jobs and take a fourth-quarter restructuring charge of up to $250 million in its shift from the computer hardware sector to business software. The company wants to focus on three higher-growth businesses: automated teller machines, retail store automation and data warehouses.

EARNINGS

American Express said its third-quarter profit rose 13 percent, to $648 million, meeting expectations, as customers spent more with its credit cards and boosted investments with its financial planners.

Atlantic Richfield said third-quarter earnings excluding special items rose 600 percent due to higher oil and gas prices and strong refining results. Earnings excluding special items rose to $511 million, from $73 million the year before.

AT&T's aggressive foray into cable television weighed down the company's third-quarter profit, but the results edged past most Wall Street forecasts. AT&T's operating profit totaled $1.75 billion, down 4.5 percent from a year earlier.

Chevron said its third-quarter profit from operations rose 82 percent, to $702 million--the company's first increase in eight quarters--as oil prices surged to a 2 1/2-year high.

Hershey Foods said net income for its fiscal third quarter ended Oct. 4 dropped by $20 million, to $87.6 million. The company said computer troubles slowed deliveries.

Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing said its third-quarter profit from operations rose 18 percent, to $462 million, as sales rose and costs for raw materials fell.

Safeco said third-quarter profit from operations plunged 90 percent, to $9.8 million, as claims against its insurance policies for individuals and businesses surged.

Texaco said third-quarter profit from operations more than doubled, to $453 million, because of an increase in oil and natural-gas prices.

Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts said its third-quarter profit from operations more than doubled, to $14 million, as a result of cost controls and increased sales in its non-casino operations.

Union Carbide said higher prices for raw materials kept its third-quarter earnings at the same level as a year earlier. Net income for the latest quarter was $77 million, compared with $76 million in the year-ago period.

LOCAL BUSINESS

Network Solutions, the Herndon company that registers Internet domain names, can't be sued for approving the name of a "cybersquatter" that violates another firm's trademark, a federal court ruled. Network Solutions doesn't control or monitor the millions of names it approves and is not legally responsible when the approval results in a trademark infringement, said the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The case involved a suit filed by Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin over use of "skunk works," the name of the firm's California design facility.

CAPTION: Treasury Bills (This graphic was not available)