September auto sales up 6%Sales of domestically...


September auto sales up 6%

Sales of domestically built new cars and trucks rose 6 percent in September, but the gain might have been stronger without a car-production shortfall at General Motors Corp.

For the last 10 days of the month, sales were up 4.5 percent compared with a similar period last year and sold at an annual pace of 11.3 million, automakers said yesterday.

House backs tighter securities rules

The U.S. House of Representatives voted yesterday to step up regulation of the $4.5 trillion government-securities markets and to open up the bidding process.

The action came in response to allegations that Salomon Bros. rigged the bidding system two years ago. The firm settled the complaints with the government and paid $290 million in fines. The bill will return to the Senate, which passed similar legislation in August.

Columbia Gas given rate increase

Columbia Gas of Maryland, which provides gas to 30,000 customers in Western Maryland, has been granted a $1.1 million rate increase by the state Public Service Commission. The increase, effective Monday, boosts the typical monthly bill to $64.86, from $62.37.

Lanham firm reports satellite launch

Earth Observation Satellite Co. yesterday announced the successful launch of the Landsat 6 satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The Lanham-based company, a joint venture of Hughes Aircraft Co. and Martin Marietta Corp., will market the photo images generated by the government-owned $220 million satellite.

Biospherics to win sweetener patent

Biospherics Inc., a Beltsville biotechnology company, has been told that it will be granted a patent for the medicinal use of its low-calorie sweetener, D-tagatose. The company said that substituting D-tagatose for sugar and glucose-containing foods and beverages could help reduce the rate of aging caused by glucose. Biospherics is seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration to market the sweetener as a food additive.

Universal Security gets phone order

Universal Security Instruments Inc. in Owings Mills has said it received an order from a U.S. retailer for about 170,000 private-label telephones, which will be manufactured at its joint-venture plant in China.

The company said that in all, it expects to sell this customer, which it did not identify, between 350,000 and 450,000 phones in the first year, generating revenue of between $2 million and $2.5 million.

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