11/14/96 -- 6:26 PM

Business Highlights,0997


NEW YORK (AP) - As relief agencies gear up to aid refugees in Zaire, some worry that Americans have become hardened to the years of misery in far-off lands while others worry that donors don't know enough yet of the latest strife.

U.S. corporations are about to be hit with requests for money, food, and medical supplies and equipment.

Officials of International Rescue Committee, Direct Relief International, Americares, among others, said Thursday they are able to move ahead in collecting donations as a result of pledges by the United States and other nations to provide security for relief workers.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The first increase in gasoline prices since May helped push consumer prices up 0.3 percent in October while retail sales posted a modest advance.

Financial markets moved further into record territory as investors viewed Thursday's economic reports as confirmation that the economy is slowing enough to keep inflation under control without posing any danger of a recession.

The Dow has been setting records for a week based on investor optimism that economic conditions will allow the Federal Reserve to hold off raising interest rates for some time to come.

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NEW YORK (AP) - The movie studio that bears founder Ted Turner's name will be phased out of existence and its projects will be merged with its older and larger sibling Warner Bros.

The announcement by Time Warner Inc. on Thursday left unresolved what the company plans to do with two other studios that it acquired along with Turner Broadcasting System Inc.

Turner owns Castle Rock Entertainment and New Line Cinema Corp., and has said it is exploring options including selling all or part of them or spinning them off to shareholders.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - DuPont Co. is consolidating its nylon business and will cut more than 2,800 jobs as part of a streamlining aimed at saving the chemical company $700 million annually.

The company hopes the restructuring will allow it to be more flexible in what it sees as an increasingly competitive business.

The sites that continue to produce nylon will use an improved spinning technology that is more efficient and will enable the company to significantly improve quality, DuPont spokesman Bill Brown said Thursday.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Departing Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary is rejecting critics' complaints about her travel, contending her overseas trade missions important for U.S. energy companies.

``It's easy to criticize,'' O'Leary said Thursday in her first discussions with reporters since submitting her resignation to President Clinton this week. Her last day as energy secretary will be Jan. 20, Inauguration Day.

O'Leary said she always planned to stay only four years but regrets being unable to pursue some of her policy initiatives.

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NEW YORK (AP) - Compaq Computer Corp. announced price cuts ranging from 6 percent to 21 percent on its personal computers and notebooks, intensifying a holiday-season price battle.

Compaq, the nation's largest maker of PCs, said Thursday that the cuts would reduce retail prices of its Presario personal and home-office computers, originally costing from $1,499 to $3,499, to $1,399 to $3,199.

It also was slashing prices by up to 18 percent its LTE 5000 notebooks and 21 percent on its Armada 1100 notebooks, to prices ranging from $1,499 to $4,399. And Compaq introduced a new top-end notebook, with a 150-megahertz microprocessor, at prices starting at $5,599.

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TORONTO (AP) - Trying to stamp out a high-tech ``gray market,'' the government is threatening criminal charges against the estimated 200,000 Canadians using satellite dishes to receive U.S. television programs that aren't supposed to cross the border.

In a brochure issued Wednesday, the industry ministry makes clear for the first time that purchasers as well as sellers of unauthorized satellite services could be fined or even jailed.

Despite the warning, it is unlikely viewers watching U.S. satellite TV in their homes will be raided by police. But there could be a deterrent effect on dealers, who are instructed in the pamphlet to inform customers which services are legal and which are not.

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LONDON (AP) - A British retailer and credit checker says it is buying Experian Corp., a former subsidiary of TRW and one of the biggest credit-rating business in the United States, for $1.7 billion.

The deal is part of an effort by Great Universal Stores PLC, which owns the Burberry retail chain and is Britain's largest catalog retailer, to position itself as a global supplier of credit and marketing information.

Great Universal, known more commonly as GUS, said Thursday it would pay $900 million in cash and borrow the rest of the price for Orange, Calif.-based Experian, which TRW sold in September.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Travel from airports with little competition among airlines tends to cost more than from other airports, a congressional report concluded.

The General Accounting Office study of barriers to new airlines entering markets discovered that where one or two airlines dominate, fares are much higher than the national average.

The study covered 10 airports across the country where availability of service is limited, including five - Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Minneapolis and Detroit - where one airline accounts for more than 75 percent of passengers.

--- ^By The Associated Press

Stock prices soared. The Dow industrial average rose 38.76 to 6,313.00.

The dollar gained against the German mark. But the U.S currency ended lower against the yen and the pound. Gold futures fell. Bond prices rose.

Heating oil and natural gas futures rose sharply. On other markets, copper futures fell sharply.

Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.