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DOW GAINS

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 22.51 points Wednesday to 3,831.74.

Nation

Honeywell accused

of discrimination

Labor Secretary Robert Reich ruled that Honeywell discriminated against women by separating job classes by gender.

Reich said Wednesday that from 1972 until 1977 Honeywell assigned women at its Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., plants primarily to jobs already occupied by large numbers of females and provided them with fewer opportunities for advancement than newly hired men.

Reich's decision sends the case to a Labor Department administrative law judge who will decide how to compensate the women involved. They could receive pay dating as far back as 1974.

SEC CHIEF RAISES CONCERNS. Banks that sell mutual funds are not subject to the same regulations as securities firms and that's bad for investors _ and possibly for the whole economy, the nation's top stock market regulator said Wednesday. The planned merger of mutual fund giant Dreyfus Corp. with Mellon Bank Corp. highlights potential gaps in investor protection and the need for changes in how bank-sold securities are regulated, said Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur Levitt Jr.

NEW HOME SALES FALL. Sales of new homes plunged 20.1 percent in January, the steepest decline in nearly 14 years, because of the bad weather and rising interest rates, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. The drop brought the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate down to 695,000 in January, well below Wall Street economists' forecast of a 764,000-unit rate. It followed back-to-back revised sales increases of 13 percent in December, when the sales rate hit 880,000, and 6.5 percent in November.

PRUDENTIAL EXEC TAKES RESPONSIBILITY. After months of keeping a public distance from allegations of wrongdoing at its brokerage subsidiary, the chairman of the Prudential Insurance Co. of America publicly accepted responsibility Wednesday for improprieties that took place in recent years at the unit, Prudential Securities, and within the insurance giant itself. The statement by Robert C. Winters, the chairman, was the first time he has commented on the problems publicly.

VIACOM COMPLETES OFFER. Viacom Inc. successfully completed its tender offer for a controlling stake in Paramount Communications Inc., the entertainment and publishing company it won after a five-month bidding war. It will still be several weeks before the merger of the two companies is completed, Viacom said Wednesday.

SENATE APPROVES LABOR BOARD CHIEF. The Senate confirmed Stanford University law professor William B. Gould IV as chairman of the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday after months of delay caused by conservatives who said he was biased toward labor unions.

BANK PROPOSAL IN TROUBLE. A proposal to streamline the federal bureaucracy regulating banks appears to have hit a roadblock in the Senate unless the Clinton administration makes major concessions. In an appearance Wednesday before the Senate Banking Committee, the chief opponent of the administration's plan, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, gave little ground. The administration is proposing that banking regulation be consolidated from four agencies into one new Federal Banking Commission.

Tampa Bay/State

COMPANY PLANS MOVE. Modern Talking Picture Service Inc., a St. Petersburg distributor of educational and public relations videos, plans to move to substantially smaller quarters. The 57-year-old company retained the Arnold Companies in Clearwater to sell its 104,000-square-foot headquarters at 5000 Park St. N, one of the largest single-use buildings in Pinellas County. The asking price is $2.95-million. Modern is looking for 40,000 to 50,000 square feet of space, probably in the bay area, to relocate, Arnold officials said.

SHIP TO GET FACE LIFT. The Queen Elizabeth 2, one of the last of the old-style ocean liners, will get a $45-million face lift this fall, Cunard Line president John Olsen said Wednesday in Miami Beach. Work on the liner will emphasize the nostalgic feel of the 1,850-passenger ship, Olsen announced at the cruise industry's annual Seatrade conference.

Best Mortgage Rate

The best 30-year fixed mortgage rate in the Tampa Bay area as reported Wednesday was 7.625 percent with 0 points offered by, among others, Mandarin Mortgage (813) 963-6263, American Financial Mortgage (813) 282-9669, and Apex Mortgage Corp. (813) 684-1111. The rate is based on a $100,000 purchase with a 5 to 10 percent down payment. For additional mortgage rate information, see the complete list of rates offered by area institutions in Saturday's Home & Garden section. The information is supplied by National Financial News Services in West Chester, Pa.

DOW 30 INDUSTRIALS 3831.74 +22.51

DOLLAR JAPANESE YEN 104.15 -0.445

YIELD 30-YEAR U.S. BOND 6.77 -0.01

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