TCDurable goods orders increaseIn the latest sign...



Durable goods orders increase

In the latest sign of robust health in the nation's manufacturing industries, orders and shipments of cars, industrial machinery and other durable goods rose in June, the Commerce Department announced yesterday.

Orders for durable manufactured goods rose 1.3 percent in June, while shipments rose 1.1 percent, the government announced. Private economists had expected orders to rise about five-tenths of a percentage point.

Drug prospects boost Biogen

Biogen Inc. stock soared yesterday on prospects that the biotechnology company's beta interferon drug appears to be a major breakthrough for multiple sclerosis patients.

Analysts said if the results conveyed by Biogen hold up to scientific and regulatory review, beta interferon will be the only drug that can slow the disability caused by the disease.

Biogen stock jumped $15.25, to $44.75, on the Nasdaq market, where it was the most active issue, with more than 14.3 million shares trading.

Westinghouse negotiations

Contract negotiations affecting about 5,400 workers at Westinghouse Electric Corp., including 2,100 in Maryland, have begun in Pittsburgh.

They involve three unions: the International Union of Electronics, Electrical, Salaried, Machine and Furniture Workers; the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; and the Federation of Independent Salaried Unions.

Current contracts with the unions expire at midnight Aug. 27.

FDA panel recommendation

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel yesterday recommended against approval of over-the-counter sales of Upjohn Co.'s hair-growth prescription drug Rogaine.

The FDA's Nonprescription Drug Advisory Committee voted 10-4 against recommendation, saying the risks posed by the topically applied solution outweighed its potential benefits as a drug for unregulated sale.

The FDA is not bound by the recommendations of the panel but usually accepts them.

FCC auction enters Day 4

Companies will enter Day 4 of a federal auction for new wireless communications licenses today, surprising and pleasing officials who thought bidders would have topped out yesterday.

By the last round yesterday, total bids for the 10 licenses increased to $513 million from the nearly $100 million on Monday, the first day of the Federal Communications Commission's auction.

Yesterday, each of the five licenses for two big slices of the airwaves fetched bids of $70 million. Under the rules, bidding continues until there are no new bids for any of the 10 licenses.

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