Qwest Communications and US West are likely to win quick approval of their proposed $45.2 billion merger, Federal Communications Commission Chairman William E. Kennard said. "The companies are working to demonstrate that their transaction will not harm the public interest," Kennard said at a meeting of utility regulators. "It's fair to say that their application is on the fast track."

Delta Air Lines and Comair agreed to settle a legal dispute with Comair shareholders who accused Delta of paying too little for the regional carrier. In settling the lawsuit, the carriers agreed to drop the $50 million termination fee that Comair would have had to pay to Delta if it wanted to back out of the $1.91 billion deal. Comair also agreed to pay the shareholders' legal expenses up to $750,000.

Robert E. Rubin, the former Treasury secretary, was elected to Ford's board of directors. Last month, Rubin, who resigned from the Cabinet in July, joined Citigroup as chairman of its executive committee. He is also head of a nonprofit group that channels private-sector money into the development of inner cities and distressed rural communities.

Bank One shares pared earlier losses on optimism that the bank may sell assets or put itself up for sale after warning for a second time in less than three months its credit-card unit will curb earnings. Shares of Bank One, the fifth-largest U.S. bank and No. 2 credit-card issuer, fell 56 1/4 cents, to $34.43 3/4, on the New York Stock Exchange, where 13.6 million shares traded, the fourth-most of any stock. Earlier, the shares fell as much as 8.2 percent, to $32.12 1/2.

Amazon.com should achieve full-year profitability in 2002 and could do so right away if the investment community demanded it, investment bank Goldman Sachs said in a research report. Goldman began research coverage of Amazon with a market-outperform rating yesterday and called the Seattle-based online retailer a key long-term Internet holding.

The Boston Globe, owned by the New York Times Co., said it will stop running tobacco advertisements immediately because of concern about the harmful effects of smoking. The newspaper also will prohibit tobacco ads in sections printed by outside companies that are carried in the Globe, such as Sunday supplements, beginning Jan 1. The additional time is to allow supplements that have already been printed to run. The New York Times, the Seattle Times, Christian Science Monitor and a handful of other newspapers also do not run tobacco ads.

Making purchases online was the fastest-growing Internet activity this year, with 42 percent of Web users saying they shop online, up from 31 percent in 1998, according to a study from Roper Starch Worldwide and America Online. Thirty-seven percent of consumers plan to increase their Internet buying during the next few years, indicating the rapid growth will continue, said AOL President Bob Pittman.

INTERNATIONAL

Ebookers.com, a British online travel agent, had a 48 percent increase in its stock price in the first day of trading after an IPO. Ebookers.com, a unit of Flightbookers, closed at $26.62 1/2 a share, up $8.62 1/2 as about 5.1 million shares were traded. The London-based company sold 3.4 million American depositary receipts at $18 each on the Nasdaq Stock Market, raising $61.2 million at its initial sale.

EARNINGS

Dell Computer said third-quarter net income fell 17 percent, to $289 million, because of the cost of acquiring ConvergeNet Technologies. The world's biggest direct seller of PCs said that without that cost it would have earned $483 million in the quarter.

LOCAL BUSINESS

The Teamsters union said it will begin paying $100 a week in benefits to hundreds of members who have been on strike against Union Pacific's Overnite Transportation trucking unit since Oct. 24. Overnite, a Richmond-based subsidiary of the railroad company, has been the target of a Teamsters organizing drive for more than four years. The AFL-CIO contributed $100,000 to supplement funds to be raised from Teamsters locals and other union sources.