The stock market fell moderately Wednesday after a weak Treasury note auction set off heavy selling in the government bond market. The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials, which was up 9 points in morning trading, reversed direction by the afternoon, closing down 25.94 points at 3,152.25.
T-NOTE YIELDS FALL. Yields on seven-year Treasury notes fell in Wednesday's auction to the lowest level since the government began issuing the securities regularly in 1978. The average yield was 6.01 percent, down from 6.44 percent at the last auction on July 8. The notes will carry a coupon interest rate of 6 percent. A total of $9.75-billion in notes were sold out of bids totaling $19.6-billion.
Another GM plant
threatened with strike
For the third time in the last month, the leadership of the United Automobile Workers has authorized a strike against a crucial General Motors production center, ostensibly over working conditions.
If negotiations fail, the 3,400 hourly workers at the two Inland Fisher Guide plants in Anderson, Ind., could be on strike by next Wednesday. Since the plants supply tail lights, turn signal lights and other exterior lighting to all 28 GM assembly plants in North America, a strike there could cripple overall GM production.
Industry analysts said the strike authorization is part of the union's continuing resistance to GM's plans to close plants and shift work to outside suppliers.
Late last year, GM said it would make broad changes in its manufacturing operations to cut costs, requiring the closing of 21 plants and the layoff of 60,000 workers.
However, some labor experts and union insiders said Wednesday they expect a strike to be averted because of the enormous financial impact it could have on the financially weakened automaker.
CONSUMER DEBT STILL FALLING. American consumers reduced their outstanding debt for the seventh consecutive month in August, improving their balance sheets by $959-million, the government said. The decline translated into a 1.6 percent reduction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, following a drop at a 1.8 percent rate in July, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday. Both consumers and businesses have been busy reducing huge debt burdens built up during the 1980s and economists often cite that as one of the chief factors slowing the recovery.
COMPAQ MAKES CUTS. Compaq Computer Corp. will cut 1,000 employees, or about 10 percent of its worldwide workforce, because of fierce computer industry competition, the company said in a statement released late Wednesday. The Houston-based personal computer maker also said it will take roughly $85-million in restructuring and other special charges in the third quarter, but added that the charges will be offset by a third quarter gain of about $86-million on the sale of the company's equity interest in Conner Peripherals. The company said it would begin laying off 700 workers this month but made no mention of where the layoffs would occur.
TAMPA BANK PICKS CEO. University State Bank in Tampa has hired Mark Lopez, 35, as its new president and chief executive officer. Lopez, a former vice president at Columbia Bank of Tampa, said the appointment must first be approved by federal bank regulators. In July, University State brought in new owners and hired Columbia Bank of Tampa to review the bank's internal operations. Lopez served as a consultant to University. The bank, located on E Fowler Avenue near the University of South Florida, has been looking to hire a new banking chief since James C. Hoppe resigned as president and CEO in the spring.
A building that may become home to a Metropolitan Life Insurance operation is on the west side of 28th Street N in the Gateway Centre in Pinellas Park. A map that accompanied a story Wednesday about MetLife's possible move had the building on the wrong side of the street.
DOW 30 INDUSTRIALS 3152.25 -25.94
DOLLAR JAPANESE YEN 120.40 +0.70
YIELD 30-YEAR U.S. BOND 7.48 +0.07