New-home sales fallNew-home sales took their steepest...

BUSINESS DIGEST

October 01, 1992

New-home sales fall

New-home sales took their steepest plunge in five months in August, the government said yesterday. The news surprised most analysts, who had expected the lowest mortgage rates in nearly two decades to boost the housing market. According to the Commerce Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, sales in August fell 6.1 percent, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 570,000.

At the same time, the government sharply revised upward, to 607,000, its initial estimate of July sales. It reported last month that July sales had fallen 2.6 percent to 563,000; the revised figure shows that sales increased 4.5 percent.

Pennzoil, Chevron reach deal

Pennzoil Corp. said yesterday that it agreed to swap nearly $1.1 billion, or 48 percent, of its Chevron Corp. stock for Chevron domestic properties that will double Pennzoil's current oil and gas business. Once the tax-free transaction closes, both companies will drop claims filed in a long-running legal battle over Pennzoil's acquisition of 9.7 percent of Chevron stock.

ITT to invest in subsidiary

ITT Corp. said yesterday that it will invest $680 million in its Hartford Insurance Group subsidiary as part of a reorganization prompted by losses in two lines of business. The reorganization will cause ITT to record a third-quarter charge against earnings of $582 million, the company said.

Executives' expectations lower

Business executives have lower expectations for sales and profits in the final three months of 1992 than they did in the current quarter, a survey released yesterday found. Dun & Bradstreet Corp. said the 3,000 executives questioned in its quarterly poll expressed concerns about the upcoming presidential election and lingering worldwide economic weakness.

Biotech lab gets AIDS contract

Biotech Research Laboratories of Rockville received a four-year, $451,000 contract from the University of North Carolina to screen plants that might supply useful drugs to fight AIDS. The company, which recently was acquired by Boston Biomedical Inc., will study the compounds for toxicity as well as for potency against the virus.

Boeing mulls plane sale to Iran

Boeing Co. said yesterday that it has discussed with Iran the potential sale of airplanes worth as much as $1 billion, but the State Department indicated that U.S. regulations will not be changed to permit the deal. A Boeing spokesman said the sale would be possible only if the United States reverses its current policy banning the export of civil aircraft to Iran.

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