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Wednesday's Markets

STOCKS RISE AFTER U.S.-JAPAN DEAL. Stocks posted moderate gains on Wednesday after the United States and Japan reached a compromise in their automotive trade dispute, narrowly averting an all-out trade war. The dollar shot higher after the breakthrough, pulling bonds and stocks with it.

TREASURY YIELDS FALL. Yields on five-year Treasury notes fell in Wednesday's auction to the lowest level in 16 months. The high yield was 5.91 percent, down from 6.25 percent at the last auction on May 24.

Nation

Senate okays curb on stockholder suits

The Senate voted Wednesday to curb stockholders' suits against companies and their accountants. Backers said the bill is sorely needed to stop frivolous lawsuits, but consumer groups called it an outrage, sure to stifle legitimate complaints.

The overwhelming 70-29 vote, coupled with a 325-99 House vote for a more expansive version in March, means proponents may have sufficient votes to override a possible presidential veto. White House aides have only hinted at a veto. The bills now go to a House-Senate conference to resolve their differences.

Under the current liability system, defendants who played a minor role _ such as an accounting firm that failed to detect fraud _ can be forced to pay the entire settlement if the fraud's masterminds are bankrupt.

Another provision would grant immunity from lawsuits for executives who make forward-looking statements about their companies, such as predictions of growth, that don't pan out.

TWA HEADED FOR 2ND BANKRUPTCY FILING. Trans World Airlines plans to make its second bankruptcy filing in 3{ years, but this time the visit is expected to be brief. The airline has worked out a deal with creditors to wipe out a big chunk of its debt, allowing it to file what lawyers call a prepackaged bankruptcy reorganization plan. TWA plans to continue flying its normal schedule during its reorganization, which should be complete by September, TWA spokesman John McDonald said Wednesday.

EEOC SUES EXXON. A federal agency sued Exxon Corp. on Wednesday, accusing the oil company of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act because of a policy that excludes all employees with a record of past substance abuse from some safety-sensitive jobs. Exxon's "nationwide, blanket policy" violates the law, which says employers must assess individually whether workers can safely do their jobs, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in its federal court lawsuit. A spokesman for Irving, Texas-based Exxon said he was not familiar with the lawsuit and declined comment.

LATIN AMERICA HUGE IMPORTER OF FLORIDA GOODS, SURVEY SAYS. Florida's exports to South America and the Caribbean grew by 50 percent between 1990 and 1994, generating $14.2-billion last year, according to a report by the World Bank. Brazil ranked first in the region in purchasing Florida products, with $1.4-billion in imports last year, the report said. Next were Colombia, which imported a total of $1.3-billion worth of goods from Florida; Argentina, $1.1-billion worth; and Chile, $569-million worth.

MARKETS TO TAKE A HOLIDAY. If the hot stock market has you in the mood to do some buying or selling, you might want to call your broker today or Friday; the financial markets are preparing to take a holiday. Trading is expected to be light Monday, with U.S. stock markets closing at 1 p.m. and remaining closed Tuesday for the July 4th holiday.

DOW DOLLAR YIELD

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

4556.79 85.68 6.51

+14.18 +1.50 -0.03

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