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STOCKS DROP

A weak bond market and concern over inflation, which could halt further easing of interest rates, helped undercut stocks Tuesday in hectic afternoon trading. The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials shed 21.24 points to close at 3,224.73.

Nation

Gas prices climb for

first time in 12 weeks

The price of gasoline at the pump rose over the past week, snapping a 12-week slide, the American Automobile Association said in a survey released Tuesday.

The nationwide average price for a gallon of self-serve regular unleaded moved up .4 cent, to $1.049, the auto club said.

It was the first increase recorded by AAA since Nov. 19, when the price was $1.143 per gallon.

STOCK REVISIONS PROPOSED. Promoting the economic agenda of the White House, Richard C. Breeden, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, proposed measures Tuesday to make it cheaper for small companies to raise money. The proposals would reduce, and in some cases eliminate, the public disclosure requirements for small companies that issue stock. They would also make it easier for mutual funds to invest in small and new businesses. While the details of the proposals will take several months for the commission to iron out, some state regulators have expressed concern that the measures could make it more difficult for shareholders and the authorities to combat fraud in the penny-stock market.

HOLLYWOOD PINCHED. Movie ticket sales in North America fell last year, dragging receipts down with them, a film industry group reported, giving a clear measure of the recession's impact on the entertainment business. Despite a record last-minute surge, movie ticket sales fell 7 percent in 1991 while the year's receipts tumbled 4.4 percent from the year before to $4.8-billion, the Motion Picture Association of America said Tuesday. Meanwhile, for only the second time in 12 years, the average cost of making a feature Hollywood film declined.

Tampa Bay/State

TECO RATE LOWERED. The Florida Public Service Commission on Tuesday lowered Tampa Electric Co.'s authorized rate of return to shareholders from 13.5 percent to 12.5 percent. TECO spokesman Mike Mahoney said the decision should have no immediate impact on customer rates. However, he said, Tampa Electric still expects to file a full rate review by mid-year. In that proceeding, the company expects to address all of the components that determine the company's prices for electricity.

Earnings

SUPERIOR SURGICAL. Superior Surgical Mfg. Co. Inc. on Tuesday reported annual 1991 earnings of $8-million, or $3.78 per share, down from 1990 net income of $8.7-million and $4.01 per share. The Seminole-based manufacturer of hospital uniforms, career apparel and accessories also said it earned $2.17-million in the quarter ending Dec. 31, 1991, or $1.02 per share, down from $2.35-million and $1.11 per share in the fourth quarter of 1990. Gerald M. Benstock, chairman and chief executive officer, said that based on bookings for the first six weeks of this year he is optimistic about the company's performance in 1992.

HOMESTYLE BUFFET. Homestyle Buffet Inc., the Palm Harbor-based restaurant company, reported Tuesday a loss of $856,000, or 14 cents per share, on sales of $49.4-million for the fiscal year ending Jan. 1, 1992. The company earned $1.1-million, or 21 cents per share, in the 1990 fiscal year on sales of $41.1-million. President John A. Scott said that 10 cents of the per share loss was attributed to a fourth-quarter charge of $495,000 to upgrade 24 older restaurants. The remaining adjustments of five cents per share were for worker's compensation insurance and other insurance premiums dating back to the first quarter of 1991. Scott said that Homestyle expects to earn a profit in the second quarter of 1992.

KOGER. Koger Properties Inc., the Jacksonville-based office park company, reported on Tuesday a loss of $15.4-million for the three-month period ending Dec. 31, 1991. For the nine-month period Koger Properties lost $109-million. The company said declining revenues from rents and increases in real estate taxes and utility costs contributed to the loss. The company has been operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since Sept. 25.

Note to readers

NO YIELD CHARTS TODAY. Because of the delay in the Treasury auction for President's Day, money yields charts that usually appear in regional editions and Page 2E of the Times on Wednesdays will be published Thursday this week. Banks and thrifts use the Treasury auction to determine their interest rates.

DOW DOLLAR YIELD

30 INDUSTRIALS VS. JAPANESE YEN 30-YEAR U.S. BOND

3224.73 128.00 7.98

-21.24 +1.05 +0.07

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