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Airlines cut fares up to 35%The nation's...


Airlines cut fares up to 35%

The nation's airlines declared another price war yesterday, slashing fares as much as 35 percent in their annual bid to stimulate traffic after the busy holiday season. News of the fare cuts triggered a sell-off in the shares of airline companies on the New York Stock Exchange.

Trans World Airlines Inc. kicked off the discounts late Thursday, and they were later matched by USAir, American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Continental Airlines and America West Airlines.

Keene Corp. files for bankruptcy

Keene Corp., the most combative company in the protracted legal wrangle over asbestos diseases, ended its battle yesterday by filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The action came two days after a federal appeals court threw out Keene's bid for a mandatory settlement of about 100,000 asbestos claims, leaving Keene no recourse but to become the 18th former asbestos products manufacturer to seek Chapter 11 protection.

U.S. auto sales up 11.8%

The U.S. auto industry had its best month in more than two years during November as light trucks powered an 11.8 percent gain in overall vehicle sales.

Total vehicle sales, including imports, rose 10.8 percent. Light truck sales were up 17.2 percent, and car sales were up 6.7 percent. Highlights included Chrysler Corp.'s strongest November in history.

Also yesterday, Ford Motor Co. said it will drop its reporting of 10-day auto sales after the mid-December period, following a similar decision by GM earlier this week. Chrysler Corp. stopped reporting 10-day sales two years ago.

U.S. counsel advises against ATX

The U.S. Department of Transportation's public counsel yesterday recommended that ATX Airlines, headed by former airline executive Frank Lorenzo, be denied authority to operate.

ATX had hoped to launch a discount airline at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. The transportation department is expected to make a decision early next year.

Defense contractor to close plant

Defense contractor McDonnell Douglas Corp. announced yesterday it will close its huge plant in Tulsa, Okla., citing declining defense and commercial aerospace markets. Nearly all the plant's 1,150 workers will lose their jobs.

The move is the latest in McDonnell's efforts to cut costs. The company has already eliminated 15,400 jobs this year.

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