PRODUCTION, CONSTRUCTION DOWN: Production at factories, mines and utilities declined in November for the fourth time in six months, reflecting last month's unseasonable warmth and the Asian economic slump. Industrial production dropped 0.3 percent after a 0.2 percent increase in October, the Federal Reserve said. Manufacturing output was flat, as declines in production of iron and steel, farm machinery, aircraft and autos offset increases in computers, household appliances and construction materials. Separately, the Commerce Department said builders started construction of new housing at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.65-million, down 2.7 percent from October but still close to July's 11-year high of 1.7-million.
BARNETT LAWSUIT DISMISSED: A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against the former board of Barnett Banks Inc. that contended $200-million worth of Barnett shares in the bank's 401(k) retirement plan should be split among 20,000 Barnett employees. U.S. District Judge Ralph W. Nimmons Jr. ruled Barnett, which was acquired by NationsBank Corp., did not have to turn over the shares to employees and can merge the shares of the Barnett plan with those of the NationsBank retirement plan Dec. 31. Robert Winicki, the attorney for plaintiff Thomas S. Burns Jr., a former Barnett employee, said he was disappointed by the ruling and continues to believe the Barnett directors owed it to employees to distribute the plan's shares.