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Stocks surge, Dow up 50.

The stock market's winter-long rally came back to life Thursday, carrying the Dow Jones industrial average to a new closing high amid hopes for a sustained economic recovery. Dow Jones' average of 30 blue chips jumped 50.32 points to 3,280.64, surpassing the previous closing peak of 3,276.83 it reached on Feb. 12.


Trade deficit down 35 percent for '91

America's trade deficit improved dramatically in 1991, falling below $100-billion for the first time in eight years as exports hit a record high and the recession held down imports, the government reported.

While the 35 percent drop in the deficit to $66.2-billion represented America's best trade performance since 1983, analysts saw plenty of problems ahead.

America's deficit with Japan actually rose during 1991, climbing by 5.7 percent to $43.44-billion, representing two-thirds of the total imbalance.

JAPANESE BUYING BINGE OVER. Japanese investment in U.S. real estate _ slowed by an American recession and changes in Japanese lending activity _ slumped last year to its lowest level since 1985. Japanese investors purchased $5.06-billion in U.S. real estate in 1991, down 61 percent from the $13.06-billion the year before.

GM TO HEAR FROM BOSS. General Motors Corp. Chairman Robert Stempel plans a satellite-fed message to employees Monday, and rumors were swirling that he might announce some of GM's planned plant closings. GM, the world's largest automaker, reports its fourth quarter and year-end 1991 financial results Monday, and company spokesman John Mueller left open the possibility that Stempel's comments might go beyond the earnings statment.

SIGNS OF RECESSION. Business failures hit record levels in 1991, and jobless claims rose in early February. Stories, 6D.

Tampa Bay/State

EX-CENTRUST CHIEF FACES JAIL. Ousted CenTrust chairman David Paul was ordered jailed for contempt of court Thursday after he refused to give documents to a grand jury investigating the thrift's $1.7-billion failure. U.S. District Judge Stanley Marcus gave him until 4 p.m. Monday to surrender to U.S. Marshals.

FORTUNE EXECS NAMED. Fortune Bank named Roy M. Whitehead executive vice president and head of the thrift's 46 branches and consumer lending. Whitehead, 39, succeeds Rausey W. Mason in the position at the Clearwater-based thrift. Mason, 54, will remain vice chairman but will take early retirement in the spring. Whitehead served until last October as area president of First Union National Bank's Tampa office. Fortune has $2.7-billion in assets.

NATIONSBANK OFFERS STOCK. NationsBank Corp. said Thursday it expects to raise $300-million through the sale of 7-million shares of new common stock. NationsBank said the money will be used for general corporate purposes, which include strengthening its capital levels. Other uses include possible takeovers of other banks or thrifts, but NationsBank spokeswoman Virginia Mackin said the bank currently has no plans to acquire any other institutions. NationsBank said it will offer the common stock at $45 per share. The offering is expected to close on Feb. 27.


Time Warner Inc. said Thursday that N.J. Nicholas Jr. had quit as co-chief executive and president at the media and entertainment giant, and was stepping down from its board ... Seven former executives of savings and loans and a developer were sentenced to prison Thursday in two separate cases stemming from the collapse of thrifts in Minnesota and Texas ... The Boeing Co. says it expects to cut about 8,000 jobs this year, 6,500 of them in Washington state ... The Japanese owners of the Pebble Beach golf resort have sold the property to a newly formed Japanese company ... United Airlines is raising fares 2 percent across the board to help reverse staggering losses, but it remained unclear whether the rest of the industry would go along ... A Money magazine annual poll indicates that four in 10 Americans feels worse-off financially under the Bush administration; it also showed that 76 percent think about money more often than sex.

Nation's Average Yields


30 Industrials VS Japanese Yen 30-Year U.S. Bonds

3280.64 128.60 7.90

+50.32 +0.40 -0.01