Japanese surplus soars 38%Japan's overall trade surplus...

BUSINESS DIGEST

January 23, 1993

Japanese surplus soars 38%

Japan's overall trade surplus soared 38 percent in 1992 to a record $107.1 billion, the government said yesterday.

The announcement was almost certain to bring renewed pressure on Tokyo from the United States and Europe to increase imports by allowing easier market access and stimulating domestic demand.

Airline investment policy urged

President Clinton should halt all foreign investment in U.S. airlines until the new administration forms a policy to govern such deals, the chairman of Delta Air Lines said yesterday. Ronald W. Allen called for the moratorium one day after British Airways agreed to invest $300 million for a 20 percent stake in USAir.

United and American airlines have also come out against the new deal.

Crestar raises dividend to 25

Crestar Financial Corp., based in Richmond, Va., raised its quarterly dividend to 25 cents a share, from 20 cents. Crestar will pay the dividend on Feb. 19 to shareholders of record on Feb. 1.

The company also said it elected Eugene P. Trani, president of Virginia Commonwealth University, to its board.

IBM to quit computer project

IBM said it fulfilled its agreement to fund a daring project by designer Steve Chen to build the most powerful mainframe computer in the world and it intends to discontinue funding.

Mr. Chen, who reportedly is seeking new funding for his Eau Claire, Wis.-based Supercomputing Systems Inc., has been working for five years to develop a mainframe to compete with the most powerful Cray computers.

Blockbuster stake in Republic

Blockbuster Entertainment Corp., venturing into home-video programming just months after expanding into the music business, agreed to pay $25 million for a 35 percent stake in Republic Pictures Corp. The transaction, to be closed by June, would make Blockbuster the biggest shareholder in the Los Angeles-based movie company and distributor of home videos and television programs.

Dollar tumbles against mark

The dollar tumbled against the German mark yesterday on news that more Americans are filing for unemployment benefits and talk of another cut in U.S. interest rates. By the time the dust settled, the dollar had plunged more than 2.3 pfennigs against the mark, to 1.5910 marks.

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