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SPRINT STOCK RISES: Reports that Cable & Wireless PLC is considering a bid for Sprint Corp. sent the No. 3 U.S. long-distance company's stock up nearly 5 percent, despite denials from Sprint and partner France Telecom. A deal would help Britain's Cable & Wireless compete better with expanding rivals and Sprint would gain a link to the booming Asia market.

FORMER TEXACO EXEC ENTERS PLEA: A retired Texaco executive whose secret tapes helped force the company to settle a race discrimination lawsuit pleaded innocent Wednesday in White Plains, N.Y., to an obstruction of justice charge. Richard Lundwall was the only person charged with trying to destroy documents, although the tapes recorded other executives also discussing the destruction of evidence.

CONAGRA SETTLES CASE: ConAgra Inc. will pay $8.3-million in fines and penalties as part of a plea agreement to charges farmers were cheated at its grain elevators in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky, federal authorities said. The agribusiness giant was charged with wire fraud, a felony, and three misdemeanor charges. Four former employees and two grain samplers also have agreed to plead guilty in the case.

Tampa Bay/State

JABIL STOCK RISES: Jabil Circuit Inc. shares rose 15 percent after the company reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings, according to Bloomberg News. Shares of the St. Petersburg circuit-board maker rose $6 to $45.62{. Tuesday, the company said its second-quarter net income rose 70 percent from the year-earlier period.

BUHL OPTICAL SOLD: A Rochester, N.Y.-based company that makes audio-visual equipment has bought Buhl Optical Inc. of Pittsburgh, which has a small manufacturing plant in St. Petersburg. Navitar Optical Inc. was a longtime competitor of Buhl Optical, which makes equipment used in corporate presentations. Buhl Optical employs eight people in St. Petersburg in the making of glass and metal parts found in video projectors. The plant will remain open and there will be no layoffs, said Julian Goldstein, co-owner of Navitar Optical. Terms of the sale were not released.

MINING DEAL SIGNED: A TECO Energy Inc. unit said it has acquired from a Coastal Corp. subsidiary the right to mine 10-million tons of Kentucky coal, according to Bloomberg News. The transaction also gives TECO Coal Corp. access to a preparation plant and railroad loading facilities that will allow it to increase production from its adjacent Premier Elkhorn operation by 1-million tons a year during 1998, the company said. Terms of the deal were not released.

PAN AM IN TALKS: Pan American World Airways is in the final stage of takeover talks with discount carrier Carnival Air Lines. The talks are a second attempt at a merger. The pair had a $100-million agreement in July before Pan Am resumed flying, but it fell apart when Pan Am sought to lower its cash payment after examining Carnival's books. Spokesmen for both companies declined comment.

DOW DOLLAR YIELD

30 INDUSTRIALS VS. JAPAN'S YEN 30-YR. U.S. BOND

6877.68 122.82 6.98

-18.88 +0.39 +0.02

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