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Litton Avondale Industries workers will be represented by a union. A labor fight dating back a half-century ended when an arbitrator ruled that 4,200 workers at the shipbuilder and defense contractor would be represented by the Metal Trades Department of the AFL-CIO. The union and the company both said they expect to sit down early next year to negotiate what could be the first-ever union contract at the company.

American Home Products will consider offering more of its shares for Warner-Lambert if Warner-Lambert succeeds in ending a marketing pact with Pfizer for the drug Lipitor, a person familiar with the situation said. Warner-Lambert, fighting a $77 billion hostile bid from Pfizer, has sued to end its marketing partnership for Lipitor, the top-selling U.S. cholesterol drug. Warner-Lambert prefers a friendly $66 billion merger with American Home Products and contends Pfizer's offer violates a "standstill" agreement in the Lipitor pact.

Microsoft representatives, Justice Department lawyers and state attorneys general met in Chicago for the first time with a court-appointed mediator in an effort to settle the government's antitrust case against the software giant. Attorneys indicated the negotiations would go forward but declined to say after the two-hour meeting whether they sensed any progress in their talk with the mediator, federal appeals Judge Richard A. Posner. The meeting had been billed as an introductory session to allow the parties to set a schedule of further negotiations and perhaps lay out their positions.

ECompanies, a high-powered Internet venture capital fund, paid more than $7.5 million for the Internet address business.com--the most ever paid for a Web domain name, naming consultants said. ECompanies, which was founded by former Walt Disney Co. Internet chief Jake Winebaum, said it paid the high price to help it build up its brand name for a planned business-to-business Internet service.

NBC launched a new company, NBCi, which combines several of the network's online assets, including NBC.com, as well as the Snap Internet portal and the e-commerce company Xoom.com. NBC, which will contribute $400 million in TV advertising to the new venture, will own 47 percent of NBCi, while stockholders of Xoom.com will own 39 percent and CNET, the former parent of the Snap portal, will own 14 percent.

Nissan North America said it will slash 1,000 jobs from its combined U.S. and Canadian payroll in the next 16 months as it moves to meet corporate chief Carlos Ghosn's goal of returning the Japanese automaker to profitability in the next fiscal year.

John Hancock policyholders approved plans to take the company public as the insurance company moves toward launching a $2 billion initial public offering sometime next year.

Fixing the Y2K bug will cost companies and governments worldwide about $311 billion, according to a survey by International Data. Spending this year alone is estimated at $97 billion. An estimated $184 billion was spent from 1995 to 1998, and a projected $30 billion will be spent in 2000 and 2001, the market research firm found.

INTERNATIONAL

The euro flirted with an all-time low against the dollar but managed to stave off for another day its widely expected slide to parity with the U.S. currency. The euro slipped as low as $1.0043 in European trading before recovering late in the day to $1.0074, an improvement over Monday's late European rate of $1.0060. The modest recovery came a day after the fledgling regional currency sank to an all-time low of $1.0039 during trading.

RECALLS

DaimlerChrysler is recalling 140,900 Mercedes-Benz vehicles, including SL coupes for faulty air bags and M-Class sport-utility vehicles for defective seat belt latches. The recall covers 4,400 of the company's 1997 SL cars with driver-side air bags that could deploy unexpectedly because of corrosion from high humidity. The M-Class recall involves 136,500 of its 1998 and 1999 sport utilities to fix front-seat belt buckles that could become unlatched. A company spokesman said 85,000 of the recalled M-Class vehicles were sold in the United States, as were all 4,400 of the SL coupes.