The industrial sector rose in December for the 11th consecutive month, but at a slower pace than in November, according to a survey by the National Association of Purchasing Management. The group said its index, based on a national survey of executives who buy raw materials and other supplies for manufacturing companies, registered 55.5 percent in December, compared with 56.2 percent in November. Any reading over 50 is a sign of expansion. Analysts had predicted a reading of 56.5 percent.
Automakers are expected to report this week that December sales rose 4.4 percent. The average forecast of four analysts was that sales at Chrysler increased 3.3 percent, fueled by cash-back offers of $500 and $1,000. General Motors sales rose 1.9 percent, helped by sweetened rebates on midsize cars and minivans, the analysts said. But Ford sales were estimated to be down 3.5 percent. Sales by Toyota and Honda were forecast to rise about 7 percent.
Bell Atlantic will offer long-distance service in New York for as low as 5 cents a minute, according to information posted on a new company Web site, CallBell.com. Residential customers who sign up for Bell Atlantic's "E-Values" long-distance plan using the Internet will pay 5 cents a minute on weekends and 9 cents a minute at other times, with no monthly fees or minimum use requirements. Bell Atlantic received Federal Communications Commission permission two weeks ago to sell long-distance service in New York, making it the first local phone company to enter the business.
The Federal Communications Commission named David Farber, a pioneering computer scientist and telecommunications expert, as its chief technologist. Farber is a telecommunications professor at the University of Pennsylvania and was an expert witness for the government in the Microsoft antitrust trial. He will replace Stagg Newman, who will join McKenzie & Co. as senior telecommunications expert in Washington.
T-bill rates rose. The discount rate on three-month Treasury bills auctioned yesterday rose to 5.36 percent, from 5.3 percent last week. Rates on six-month bills rose to 5.585 percent from 5.505 percent. The actual return to investors is 5.525 percent for three-month bills, with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,864.50, and 5.844 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,717.60. Separately, the Federal Reserve said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for making changes in adjustable-rate mortgages, fell to 5.95 percent last week, from 5.97 percent the previous week.
The Web domain name www.year2000.com was sold at auction for $10 million--a record if the sale goes through. The address was put up for sale by Peter de Jager, a Canadian computer consultant who was one of the first to sound the Y2K alarm. Online auction site eBay said it had accepted 13 offers by the end of bidding Saturday. The name of the buyer was not disclosed, and eBay said it usually takes three business days to determine whether a bid is legitimate.
Electrolux may face losses of as much as $28 million as a result of unauthorized currency trading by an employee of its internal bank in Germany, the Stockholm-based company said. The employee, who worked with foreign exchange transactions but was not otherwise identified, admitted that he began unauthorized trading in currencies early last year and manipulated records to hide the transactions, the company said.
U.S. and British negotiators are set to hold their first formal aviation talks in more than a year. When the talks resume today, the U.S. side will be pressing Britain to allow an American carrier to fly to London from Pittsburgh, a city left without service when British Airways abandoned the route last year, a U.S. Department of Transportation spokesman said.
EARNINGS Walgreen said fiscal first-quarter profit rose 23 percent, to $127.8 million, led by a surge in sales of prescription drugs.
America Online said its members spent $2.5 billion online during the 1999 holiday shopping season, doubling 1998's total of $1.2 billion. The average AOL user spent $300 online between Thanksgiving and Christmas, up 50 percent from 1998, the company said.
Statoil Energy, headquartered in Alexandria, said it will sell its Appalachian Basin gas exploration and production subsidiaries, Eastern States Exploration and Eastern States Oil and Gas, for $630 million to Equitable Resources, an energy company based in Pittsburgh. Statoil Energy, a subsidiary of the Statoil Group of Norway, announced previously that it intends to sell all its businesses.
National Geographic of the District is increasing the frequency of its Adventure magazine from four to six issues a year. Launched last spring, National Geographic Adventure focuses on demanding travel, with the January-February issue including stories on excavating frozen mummies in the Andes, five unspoiled Caribbean destinations and a woman's attempt to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean.