Japan talks tough with U.S.Japan outlined a tough economic...

BUSINESS DIGEST

January 26, 1993

Japan talks tough with U.S.

Japan outlined a tough economic stance toward the new U.S. administration yesterday, warning of retaliation against any trade sanctions and rejecting agreements that set specific market shares. But as a senior official defended Tokyo's trade record, the American Chamber of Commerce in Tokyo said Japan's environment was "inherently unfavorable to foreign firms."

The developments illustrate the difficulties that President Clinton faces as he decides how to deal with Japan's huge trade surplus.

IBM dividend cut possible today

International Business Machines Corp.'s board of directors planned to meet today with a full agenda, but Wall Street is waiting to see how much the company cuts its once-sacrosanct dividend.

While IBM officials have not confirmed a dividend cut, most analysts said yesterday that IBM will definitely trim the $4.84-a-share annual payout by at least 50 percent, saying it is not a question of if the dividend is cut, but by how much.

Chicago board, Comex to merge

The Chicago Board of Trade will become the owner of New York's Commodity Exchange Inc. under a merger agreement announced yesterday. The cost of the deal wasn't disclosed.

The acquisition of the Commodity Exchange, which ranks fourth among U.S. futures markets in trading volume, would boost the Board of Trade's leading position among futures markets. It has been losing market share to foreign competitors and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Brinker stock continues slide

Brinker International Inc.'s common stock continued to fall yesterday, following news that Chairman Norman Brinker remained unconscious three days after being knocked from his horse in a polo accident. Brinker shares closed down 37.5 cents a share, at $46, after a delayed opening yesterday morning.

At a special board meeting late Sunday, the company named President Ronald McDougall to succeed Mr. Brinker as chairman and chief executive officer. Mr. Brinker's family supported the move, which follows a plan previously adopted by the company's board.

Sales mixed for U.S. carmakers

U.S. automakers reported mixed sales figures yesterday, with Ford Motor Co. reporting sharply higher car and truck sales while General Motors Corp. saw car sales sputter and its truck business take off. Ford said it sold 75,880 cars and trucks in the Jan. 11-20 period, up 15.5 percent from a year earlier. GM sold 100,098 cars and trucks in the nine selling days, up 6.6 percent from a year ago. Chrysler Corp. does not report 10-day sales figures.

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