Fed neutral on interest ratesFederal Reserve officials...


Fed neutral on interest rates

Federal Reserve officials voted last month to retain a neutral policy toward interest rates, but acknowledged that they may have to act early to head off any growth in inflation, according to minutes released yesterday.

The 12-member Federal Open Market Committee took the unanimous action at a closed meeting Nov. 16. The policy-making body first adopted the neutral bias -- favoring neither higher nor lower interest rates -- at its Aug. 17 meeting and retained that position on Sept. 21.

Merry-Go-Round stock upgraded

A week after it downgraded the stock of the beleaguered Merry-Go-Round Enterprises Inc. to the equivalent of a "sell" rating, the Baltimore-based Alex. Brown & Sons has returned the stock to its previous "neutral" standing.

Maria Medaris, an associate analyst at Alex. Brown, said the rating was pushed up because the brokerage firm saw some potential for a stock price increase if the company can reach agreement with creditors. Merry-Go-Round's stock increased by 25 cents yesterday, to close at $2.625 a share.

Westinghouse lands radar contract

Westinghouse Electric Corp.'s Electronic Systems Group in Baltimore has won a $32 million military contract, Rep. Helen Delich Bentley, R-Md., said yesterday. The Air Force contract is for seven APG-66 radar systems for F-16 aircraft. The systems are scheduled to be sold to Taiwan.

Oncor seeks new stock issue

Oncor Inc., a Gaithersburg-based maker of genetic test systems, said yesterday that it has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission proposing a secondary offering of 3 million shares of its common stock.

Proceeds from the offering are expected to be used for product research and development, capital expenditures, and general corporate and working capital purposes.

NYNEX aid to Viacom hits snag

NYNEX Corp.'s ability to pump more money into Viacom Inc. to help boost its bid for Paramount Communications Inc. could be hemmed in by state regulatory requirements, officials say.

The New York State Public Service Commission this week ordered NYNEX to upgrade its network in certain locations and deterred it from spending on "competitive enterprises" first.

"Yes, it would be frowned upon if they invested in Viacom before Brooklyn-Queens-Bronx," said Frank Herbert, director of finance and accounting at the commission.


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