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BRIEFLY

GM, FORD SALES DROP: The world's two largest automakers _ General Motors and Ford Motor Co. _ said their U.S. sales declined more than predicted last month as a late-summer sales frenzy caused more of an industry backlash than expected. GM sales fell 7.7 percent, while Ford's dropped nearly 3 percent. But the slack in business was not felt uniformly. DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group said Monday it had an 11 percent sales increase over a year ago. Toyota and Nissan also reported double-digit sales growth in October in the United States on the strength of a variety of new or revamped vehicles.

RAYTHEON AVERTS STRIKE: Raytheon Co. averted a strike by its employees at a Tomahawk cruise-missile plant in Tucson, Ariz., after union workers accepted a revised three-year labor contract that scales back proposed increases in their health-care costs. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 933, which represents 2,100 of the 10,000 people at the plant, had planned to strike Monday. Employees won minor concessions, and retirees will have to begin paying for their own health insurance, union spokesman Kevin Cummings said.

ARDEN DROPS 100 JOBS: Fragrance and skin-care company Elizabeth Arden Inc. said Monday it will consolidate its U.S. distribution operations into a single facility by March and cut about 10 percent of its U.S. work force, or roughly 100 jobs. The distribution center in Miami Lakes will close. Corporate offices, also in Miami Lakes, will move to a nearby location, Arden said. Arden's domestic distribution and warehouse operations will move to Roanoke, Va.

VIVENDI LAWSUIT GOES ON: Vivendi Universal SA, the world's fifth-largest media company, must defend a lawsuit accusing it and former chief executive officer Jean-Marie Messier of defrauding investors, a judge ruled. U.S. District Judge Harold Baer in Manhattan said in a 40-page opinion Monday that investors had made enough allegations to sustain their securities fraud suit. He cited, for instance, a note sent to Messier by Vivendi's former chief financial officer, Guillaume Hannezo, imploring the CEO to reduce debt, even as Messier was telling investors the company was strong.

SCRUSHY INDICTMENT EXPECTED: The former chief executive of HealthSouth Corp. is being indicted on charges stemming from what federal prosecutors contend was massive fraud aimed at propping up the medical care company's stock price, the Associated Press has learned. The grand jury indictment against former CEO and chairman Richard Scrushy will be unsealed today in Birmingham, Ala., the AP said it was told by a federal official who spoke on condition of anonymity. The government contends that Scrushy and HealthSouth inflated company earnings by at least $2.5-billion to make it appear the company was meeting expectations of Wall Street analysts.

MURDOCH SON IS CEO: Defying investor opposition, British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC said Monday it had appointed James Murdoch, younger son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, as the company's new chief executive. The board of the London satellite broadcaster confirmed that Murdoch, 30, would replace Tony Ball, who announced in September he was stepping down. Murdoch will officially replace Ball today. Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. holds a 35.4 percent stake in BSkyB, and the senior Murdoch is chairman of the broadcaster.

T-BILL RATES BARELY UP: The Treasury Department sold $17-billion in three-month bills Monday at a discount rate of 0.940 percent, unchanged from last week. An additional $17-billion was sold in six-month bills at a rate of 1.025 percent, up from 1.020 percent the previous week. Separately, the Federal Reserve said Monday that the average yield for one-year constant maturity Treasury bills was 1.30 percent last week, unchanged from the week before.

Earnings

Anchor Glass

Container Corp.

The Tampa bottle-maker took a loss in the quarter ended Sept. 30 despite a 7 percent increase in sales. During the quarter, Anchor completed its initial public offering of stock and issued an additional $50-million of notes.

3rd Qtr Year Ago

Revenue $193.5-mil $180.4-mil

Net Income -$4.2-mil n/a

Per Share n/a n/a

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