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Bear Stearns has good quarterBear Stearns Cos....


Bear Stearns has good quarter

Bear Stearns Cos. yesterday reported better-than-expected earnings for its third quarter, further evidence that Wall Street is on the mend even as profits are down from a year ago, analysts said.

Net income at the nation's sixth-largest securities firm was $82.7 million, or 63 cents a share, during the quarter ended March 30, down 28 percent from $115.5 million, or 88 cents, last year.

Bear Stearns' earnings surpassed analysts' forecasts of about 38 cents a share.

Steel imports decline

U.S. steel imports in February dropped 27 percent from January and 0.7 percent from last year, signaling the possible start of a decline from last year's record shipments, analysts said.

The American Iron and Steel Institute's monthly report showed that steel imports in February declined to about 2.17 million tons from 2.18 million tons a year ago and 2.96 million tons in January 1995.

Most analysts expect steel imports to fall at least 15 percent from last year's record of 30.1 million tons because the weak U.S. dollar has made imports costlier.

Natural gas fueling plans

Amoco Corp. yesterday announced plans to offer refueling for natural gas-powered vehicles at two local service stations beginning next week. The stations, the first in the Baltimore metropolitan area to offer natural gas, are at 9620 Belair Road in Perry Hall and at 8720 Baltimore National Pike in Ellicott City.

BroadBand sells warrants

BroadBand Technologies Inc. said Bell Atlantic Corp., its main customer, has agreed to pay $7 million for warrants to buy 1 million shares.

The six-year agreement allows Philadelphia-based Bell Atlantic to buy the shares at a strike price of $41.75 a share. Bell Atlantic, which is buying fiber-optic systems from BroadBand to provide video service to its customers, can't buy stock in BroadBand under rules preventing the regional Bell operating companies from owning telecommunications equipment suppliers.

Coca-Cola earnings up 20%

Coca-Cola Co.'s first-quarter earnings jumped 20 percent, the company reported yesterday, exceeding analysts' expectations by a penny a share.

The world's biggest soft-drink maker said profit from continuing operations rose to $625 million, or 49 cents a share, from net income of $521 million, or 40 cents, a year ago. In the latest quarter, a gain of $13 million, or 1 cent a share, from the sale of bottling operations in Poland, resulted in net income of $638 million, or 50 cents.

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