Bank insurance fund recoversRecord bank profits and...

BUSINESS DIGEST

August 11, 1993

Bank insurance fund recovers

Record bank profits and plummeting failures have allowed the fund that insures deposits to build up to $6.8 billion and repay the last of the money it borrowed from taxpayers.

The fund's balance, up from $1.2 billion three months ago and a $101 million deficit six months ago, is the best in three years, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said yesterday. A year and a half ago, the fund was $7 billion in the red.

U.S. workers' productivity falls

American worker productivity tumbled at the steepest rate in more than four years from April through June, but analysts predicted modest gains during the second half of 1993 as the economy improves.

The Labor Department said yesterday that productivity -- the output per number of hours worked -- fell 2.5 percent in the second quarter. It was the biggest decline since a 3.9 percent drop in the first quarter of 1989.

Homes become more affordable

Both first-time buyers and those trading up found previously owned homes increasingly affordable in the second quarter, a real estate trade group reported.

The National Association of Realtors said that its Composite Housing Affordability Index shot up to 132.6 during the second quarter, highest since it was 137.2 during the fourth quarter of 1973.

U.S. to attack vertical price-fixing

The Justice Department will again prosecute manufacturers who force wholesalers and retailers to resell their products at a specific price. The rule to prohibit so-called vertical price-fixing was not prosecuted during the Reagan and Bush administrations.

Small cable firms get break

Cable television companies serving 1,000 subscribers or less will not have to abide by new rate regulations until further notice, the Federal Communications Commission ruled.

The FCC said it must review how burdensome the new rules will be on small operations before deciding when to apply them.

Hug surpasses Kiss in sweetness

Since when is a Hug sweeter than a Kiss?

Since Hershey's, of Hershey, Pa., affectionately introduced a new counterpart to its milk chocolate treat. The newborn Hug is in essence a Kiss with thin strips of white chocolate wrapped around it -- hugging it, so to speak. The white chocolate provides the extra sweetness.

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