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Nation

ITT holding out

for bigger bids

The asking price for ITT Corp. has ballooned more than $3-billion in 10 months, yet the hotel-casino giant believes it's not enough. ITT said Thursday that neither merger partner Starwood Lodging nor hostile suitor Hilton Hotels has made its best offer. Hilton broke off talks, saying they were rigged in Starwood's favor, but left its $10-billion bid on the table. A $10.25-billion pact ITT reached last month with Starwood still stands, but ITT said bidding should remain open. ITT shareholders are scheduled to vote next week on a new slate of directors proposed by Hilton for ITT's board, who if elected would accept Hilton's now twice-raised offer.

MORTGAGE RATES, JOBLESS CLAIMS UP: Mortgage interest rates rose slightly this week after sinking to the lowest level in 20 months a week earlier. The average rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 7.24 percent from 7.21 percent, Freddie Mac said Thursday. Fifteen-year mortgages, a popular option for refinancing, averaged 6.80 percent this week, up from 6.76 percent. Meanwhile, the number of U.S. workers applying for state unemployment benefits jumped last week to the highest level in two months. First-time jobless claims rose by 16,000, to a seasonally adjusted 315,000 in the week ended Nov. 1, the Labor Department said.

Tampa Bay/State

KIWI TOUCHES DOWN IN TAMPA: KIWI International Airlines returned to Tampa on Thursday for the first time since its owners sought protection from creditors under federal bankruptcy laws more than a year ago. The small, low-fare airline, which will offer $99 one-way service to Newark, N.J., Atlanta and Chicago, was rescued from Chapter 11 limbo by an ownership group led by Baltimore surgeon Charles Edwards.

SENSORMATIC SETTLES LAWSUITS: Sensormatic Electronics Corp. agreed to pay $53-million to settle lawsuits by shareholders who accused the company of misstating revenue. The Boca Raton maker of electronic security systems said it expected to recover some of the expenses from its primary insurer and is in litigation with other insurers over $20-million in coverage. The company said it agreed to the settlement to put the accounting errors, which it admits and corrected, behind it.

AIRTRAN TO MOVE TO ORLANDO: AirTran Airlines Inc., the former ValuJet, said Thursday it will move its corporate headquarters from Atlanta to Orlando after the holidays. The discount airline has been promised its own building and hangar as part of the move to Orlando International Airport. It will begin transferring its executives to Orlando at the end of the month, though reservations agents and flight and maintenance crews will stay in Atlanta.

DANKA'S CFO RESIGNS: William T. Freeman has resigned as chief financial officer of St. Petersburg-based Danka Business Systems PLC. He is joining a Tampa information technology company that plans to go public. The name of the company was not disclosed. Danka's finance director, David C. Snell, will become CFO. Paul Suijk was named senior vice president and corporate treasurer. Suijk was assistant treasurer at James River Corp.

Markets

TREASURY SECURITIES FALL: Interest rates on 52-week Treasury bills and 30-year Treasury bonds fell in separate auctions Thursday. The average discount rate in the monthly sale of 52-week bills was 5.14 percent. The bills will carry an equivalent coupon interest rate of 5.42 percent with each $10,000 in face value selling for $9,480.30. Sales totaled $12.3-billion out of bids of $79.5-billion. The high yield on 30-year bonds was 6.201 percent. The bonds will carry a coupon interest rate of 6[ percent with each $10,000 in face value selling for $9,897. A total of $10-billion in bonds were sold out of bids totaling $28.2-billion.

Corrections

Due to an error at the Pacific Exchange, the closing price for Security Capital Group Class B shares was incorrect in Thursday's listing of the biggest New York Stock Exchange losers. The correct price was $32.75, down 12{ cents.

The Toronto exchange closed at 6,976.63 Wednesday. An incorrect figure was listed in Thursday's Foreign Index report.

DOW DOLLAR YIELD

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

7683.24 123.03 6.20

-9.33 -0.04 -0.02

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