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3280.19 128.65 7.94

-0.45 +0.05 +0.04

DOW LEVELS OFF. The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials slipped .45 to 3,280.19, finishing the week with a net gain of 34.22 points.


VA mortgage rate

boosted a half-point

WASHINGTON _ The Veterans Affairs Department said Friday it is raising the maximum interest rate on VA mortgages to 8.5 percent.

Conventional mortgage rates, loans not backed by a government agency, have been rising since they hit a 19-year low of 8.23 percent in January.

For the latest week, the national average for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages climbed to 8.82 percent, according to a survey by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. For one-year adjustable rate mortgages, lenders were asking an average initial rate of 5.92 percent, up from 5.78 percent last week.

USAIR BOOSTS FARES. The attempt by United Airlines to raise domestic air fares got support Friday from USAir, the dominant carrier at Tampa International Airport, which said it would go along with a 2 percent across-the-board increase.

HUB FARES DECRIED. In testimony one senator said should "set off an alarm bell," government officials told Congress on Friday that air fares are higher at hub airports where a dominant airline has little or no competition. Minneapolis; Cincinnati; St. Louis; Pittsburgh; Memphis, Tenn.; Salt Lake City; Dayton, Ohio and Charlotte, N.C. all have airports dominated by one airline. The government said fares are about 21 percent higher where one or two airlines dominate.

GM MAY GET WORD. More than two months of wondering about layoffs may end Monday for General Motors workers when chairman Robert Stempel talks to them by closed-circuit television. The Detroit Free Press reported an Arlington, Texas plant would be closed and an Ypsilanti, Mich. factory would be spared. GM is also to release its fourth quarter and 1991 financial results. It is expected to report more than $3-billion in losses.


dard & Poor's Corp. dropped its credit rating on McCrory Corp. debt Friday, the latest blow to the five- and-dime store company that was believed to be headed for bankruptcy court protection. Standard & Poor's said it assigned the lowest ranking, "D," to some of McCrory's debt, the rating given to securities of a company that has missed debt payments.

Tampa Bay/State

PRICES UP 4.2 PERCENT. Consumer prices rose 4.2 percent in the Tampa Bay area last year, close to the 3.1 percent national inflation rate, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The biggest increases were in prices for women's and girls' apparel, up 26.6 percent; alcoholic beverages, up 11.8 percent; and medical care, up 10.5 percent. Prices of dairy products and footwear dropped between 1990 and 1991.

AUCTION WORKSHOP SET. Prospective buyers gearing up to participate in the March 14 auction of 65 properties by the Resolution Trust Corp. should attend the Bidders Awareness Workshop at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the main ballroom of the St. Petersburg Hilton & Tower in downtown St. Petersburg. The seminar will be preceded by one for real estate professionals at 5 p.m. For information, call (800) 852-9966.

OFFICE DEPOT HITS CANADA. Office Depot Inc. Friday acquired its first seven store locations in Canada, where the fast growing Deerfield Beach-based retailer plans a major expansion. Acquisition of HQ Office International Inc. gives Office Depot 248 stores.

Et Cetera

Lloyd's of London, underwriters of a $36-million accident insurance policy on Robert Maxwell, said Friday that it did not intend to pay because the media and publishing mogul had probably committed suicide . . . Ousted CenTrust Chairman David Paul filed an appeal Friday to stay out of jail for defying a judge's order to surrender documents to a grand jury examining the failure of his thrift . . . United Airlines has laid off 534 of its 80,000 employees in the past three weeks and may have to lay off many more, chairman Stephen Wolf warned in a letter to employees . . . BCCI depositors in 40 countries would get about one-third of their money back under a deal announced Friday . . . Lamb-Weston Inc., a Washington state potato processor, dropped its lawsuit against an Idaho competitor over a process used to make curly french fries after inspecting Boise-based J.R. Simpot Co.


For several years, Raymond James & Associates Inc. has organized much of its corporate structure based on the team approach, rather than a standard top-down, department approach. A story Thursday about Salomon Brothers Inc.'s first anniversary in Tampa quoted a Salomon official who said his company would become the only one in the securities business to organize that way.