Silver prices lead rallySpeculators piled into the...


Silver prices lead rally

Speculators piled into the silver market yesterday, powering the precious metal to its highest levels in four months amid signs of strong economic growth. On New York's Commodity Exchange, spot silver closed up 6.9 cents, at $4.975 an ounce, after profit-taking cut into a rally to $5.06, its highest price since early August.

The buying spilled into gold, with the spot price climbing $6.40, to end at $383.80 an ounce, on the Comex. January platinum was up $5.30, to $383.70 an ounce, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Martin unit to offer stock

Martin Marietta Corp. said yesterday that its Martin Marietta Materials Inc. unit registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission to sell its stock in an initial public offering.

Martin Marietta Materials was incorporated last month as a North Carolina corporation. The offering would consist of 7.6 million shares, representing between 17 percent and 19 percent of the company. The Bethesda-based parent company would retain the rest of the stock.

Underwriters back political ban

More than 40 municipal bond underwriting firms, including Baltimore-based Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc., have endorsed a self-imposed ban on political contributions as a way of avoiding possible conflicts of interest.

Retailer's president departs

Montgomery Ward & Co. said yesterday that its president had left the company, but the retailer gave no reason for his departure.

Harold Kahn "has left the company, that's all I can tell you," a Ward spokeswoman said. Mr. Kahn was hired by Ward in September 1992 after more than 15 years with R.H. Macy & Co.

Kodak chief delays decision

Eastman Kodak Co. chief executive George M. C. Fisher has put off a decision on whether to move the photographic company's North American marketing headquarters from Rochester, N.Y., to Washington, D.C.

Fisher, who became chief executive last week, said there was considerable wisdom in the idea of moving the marketing business to the nation's capital, but he said he first wants to put Kodak's financial house in order.

Air fare bargains extended

Several major airlines last night gave travelers until next Wednesday, an extra five days, to buy tickets in a holiday air fare sale that offers discounts of up to 30 percent. The deadline to buy tickets had been Friday.

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