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Thrift industry profits downProfits earned by the...


Thrift industry profits down

Profits earned by the nation's thrift industry declined by 40 percent from July through September because of a $500 million, one-time write-off by two unidentified Northeast institutions, the government said yesterday.

Nationwide, profits totaled $762.5 million during the third quarter, down from $1.26 billion in the second and $1.25 billion a year earlier. Maryland savings and loans earned $38.9 million in this year's third quarter compared with $32.6 million a year earlier.

Paramount plans, QVC stalks

The directors of Paramount Communications Inc. met yesterday to decide how to auction the company after a Delaware court banned them from accepting Viacom Inc.'s offer while shutting out hostile bidder QVC Network Inc.

Meanwhile, merger and acquisitions star Bruce Wasserstein moved to center stage in QVC's stalking of Paramount, advising BellSouth Corp. to boost its $1.5 billion investment in QVC and prodding QVC to use the added cash to sweeten its $10.3 billion hostile bid for Paramount, Bloomberg Business News reported, citing people close to the companies.

Gold prices hit high mark

Gold prices climbed yesterday to the highest levels since August, with experts saying a wave of buying will lift the precious metal to $400 an ounce by year's end. On New York's Commodity Exchange, spot gold raced up $3.80 to close at $387.00 an ounce, the highest since Aug. 5.

The buying spilled over to other precious metals. Spot silver gained 10.4 cents to end at $5.127 an ounce on the Comex. January platinum added $6.10 to $388.10 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Atlanta firm to buy New Street

New Street Capital Corp., the heir of fallen investment bank Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc., will be sold to a partnership based in Atlanta, Ga., officials announced yesterday.

The Atlanta firm, Green Capital Investors, L.P., will run New Street as a merchant banking affiliate. Green's founder is Holcombe Green, chairman of Westpoint Stevens Inc., a leading producer of sheets and towels.

GM to build cars in Poland

General Motors Corp. signed an agreement yesterday to assemble cars in Poland in a joint venture with the state-owned automaker FSO.

Under the accord, GM will invest $17.6 million in the FSO plant in Warsaw, and up to 10,000 Opel Astra cars a year will be assembled at the facility. The bodies will be produced in the West. GM will hold a 50 percent stake in the venture, which will employ 250 workers. The first Astras are expected within nine months.

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