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Nation

Tech Data profits

soar, boosting stock

Tech Data Corp. said Tuesday that sales for its third quarter ended Oct. 31 exceeded $2-billion, up more than 61 percent over same-period sales last year of $1.24-billion. The Clearwater company estimates net income for the quarter of $23-million, or 50 cents a share, compared with $16.7-million, or 38 cents a share, a year ago. The company attributed the growth to gains in its core U.S. computer products distribution business, which grew 40 percent year-over-year in the quarter, as well as growth in international business. Tech Data shares rose 4.3 percent Tuesday to $45.62{, up $1.87{. More earnings, 2E

HILTON, ITT MEET: ITT Corp. on Tuesday began its first merger talks with Hilton Hotels Corp. after months of refusals _ a day after Hilton raised its long-running hostile bid to upset ITT's friendly pact with Starwood Lodging. ITT's agreement with Starwood stands, but its board will meet today to consider Hilton's new offer. Monday, Hilton raised its bid a second time, to $10-billion or $80 a share in cash and stock. While still below the Starwood deal reached last month _ worth $10.25-billion or $82 a share _ Hilton said its offer is better for shareholders because it contains $3.3-billion more cash than Starwood's offer.

CHRYSLER COMPLETES BUYBACK: Chrysler Corp. said Tuesday it completed its $2-billion stock buyback program for 1997 and will begin buying back another $2-billion of its stock. The nation's No. 3 automaker said the recent volatility in the stock market allowed it to complete its 1997 buyback, to boost stock value, in October. Chrysler had 679.2-million shares as of Sept. 30, which means the new buyback program covers about 8 percent of its outstanding stock. Chrysler traded at $35.93}, up 43} cents, on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

DLJ, DEBARTOLO FORM NOVEL VENTURE: Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Inc. said Tuesday it formed a joint venture with Simon DeBartolo Group to invest at least $1-billion in racetracks, movie theaters and entertainment properties in the next 18 months. Called Simon/DLJ Entertainment Properties LP and believed to be the first of its kind, the venture intends to buy projects in the United States, Europe and Asia. DLJ, the ninth-biggest U.S. securities firm, and Simon DeBartolo, the largest publicly traded real estate company, will consider selling the properties over the next two years, with one alternative being an initial public offering of shares in the venture.

MICROSOFT, US WEST NEAR DEAL: Microsoft Corp. is close to an agreement to invest up to $1-billion in the cable TV operations of US West, according to the New York Times. The investment would buy Microsoft as much as 6.3 percent of US West's cable business at the current stock price. More important, it would further the software giant's strategy of turning the nation's cable systems into the primary providers of high-speed access to the Internet _ with Microsoft hoping to control the television set-top box software that people would use to get online. Related story, 6E

Markets

TREASURY YIELDS FALL: Yields on three-year Treasury notes fell in Tuesday's auction to the lowest level in 21 months. The average yield was 5.762 percent, down from 6.041 percent at the auction on Aug. 5. The notes will carry a coupon interest rate of 5} percent with each $10,000 in face value selling for $9,996.70. A total of $14-billion in notes was sold out of bids totaling $34.6-billion. Tuesday's sale was the first of three quarterly refunding auctions scheduled this week. The department plans to sell $11-billion in 10-year notes Wednesday and $10-billion on 30-year bonds Thursday.

Tampa Bay/State

DENTAL CARE ALLIANCE HAS IPO: Dental Care Alliance Inc. said Tuesday it sold 2-million common shares for $24-million, or $12 a share, in an initial public offering of stock. By midday, the shares were trading at $13.56\ each on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Sarasota-based Dental Care is a dental practice management company operating in Florida and Michigan.

JUMBOSPORTS REFINANCED, DOWNGRADED: JumboSports Inc. has refinanced and enlarged its working capital debt with a $215-million revolving credit line from GE Capital Corp. and a British subsidiary of Prudential Insurance Co. Meanwhile, Moody's Investors Service downgraded $75-million of the Tampa sporting goods chain's outstanding debt to a junk bond rating of Caa1, citing recent store closings and a buildup of unsold inventory.

DOW DOLLAR YIELD

30 industrials vs. Japan's yen 30-year U.S. bond

7689.13 122.15 6.24

+14.74 +0.83 +0.03

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