Fewer existing homes soldSales of previously owned...


Fewer existing homes sold

Sales of previously owned homes in February dropped to the lowest level in two years as concerns over a slower economy offset a slight decline in mortgage rates, a real estate trade group says.

The National Association of Realtors reported yesterday that sales of existing single-family homes dropped 5 percent, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.43 million.

It was the smallest number of sales since a similar 3.43 million rate in March 1993. Except for a 1.9 percent gain in December, sales have not advanced since March 1994.

Chrysler to replace door latches

Chrysler Corp. said yesterday that it would replace the rear door latches of all the minivans it built before late last summer -- up to 4.5 million vehicles in North America.

Chrysler said the move was calculated to salvage the company's image for safety-consciousness, rather than to fix an actual safety defect.

Regulators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have found 79 instances in which the tailgates of Chrysler's minivans popped open in accidents, resulting in 87 ejections, 60 injuries and 28 deaths.

The affected vehicles are 1984 through 1994 models of the Chrysler Town and Country, Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager minivans.

2 top Japanese banks to merge

Two of Japan's top-ranking commercial banks, Mitsubishi Bank and Bank of Tokyo, have agreed to merge, a senior central bank official told Reuters today in Tokyo.

Mitsubishi is Japan's third-largest commercial bank in terms of deposits and Bank of Tokyo is the 10th largest. Their merger had long been rumored.

Lost satellite leads to suit

AT&T; Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp. have traded lawsuits over a satellite that was lost after being launched in September, the companies said yesterday.

AT&T; filed in federal district court in Virginia, while Lockheed Martin filed counterclaims in Colorado and New Jersey.

AT&T; is seeking $250 million from Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin, whose predecessor, Martin Marietta Corp., designed the Telstar 402 satellite. It alleges the company failed to correct known defects in the propulsion system of the satellite.

Bank acquisition reported

FCNB Corp., parent of FCNB Bank in Frederick, said it has completed its acquisition of ENB Financial Corp., a bank holding company in Elkridge with $80 million in assets. FCNB, which now has more than $500 million in assets, paid about $10 million in stock for ENB, whose Elkridge Bank subsidiary has three branches in Elkridge, Columbia and Glen Burnie. Elkridge Bank will operate as a separate subsidiary of FCNB.

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