The News and Observer from Raleigh, North Carolina on November 12, 1991 · 23
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The News and Observer from Raleigh, North Carolina · 23

Raleigh, North Carolina
Issue Date:
Tuesday, November 12, 1991
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7 0 '57mr'4977"' TA975n0:1VPMVOrAnKMA::grrt: Section VP ' Raleigh -' The News & Observer Tuesday November 12 1991 D a riefly Business Market watch What the indexes did n pq NASDAQ 263 closed at 55071 DOW —336 closed at 304226 NYSE 025 closed at 21707 AMEX 076 closed at 39124 S&P 500 023 closed at 39312 WILSHIRE $6959 closed at $3823218 billion Northwest says deal with Midway in trouble ST PAUL Minn — Northwest Airlines said its proposed $153 million purchase of assets of beleaguered Midway Airlines has been jeopardized by inaccurate data from Midway and environmental concerns Northwest said data provided by the Chicago carrier on its traffic and passenger revenue was inaccurate and that it had uncovered potentially serious environmental problems at Midway's base at Chicago's Midway Airport Quintiles plans to open research lab in Atlanta Quintiles Transnational Corp a Research Triangle Park drug-research firm said Monday that it plans to open its first clinical research laboratory in Atlanta but did not say how much it would invest in the project Founded in 1982 Quintiles specializes in management of new-drug trials on a contract basis for pharmaceutical companies The company employs 400 people and in 1990 it had $178 million in revenues Home Federal reports growth in earnings Home Federal Savings Bank in Greenville said its net income for the year ended Sept 30 grew 32 percent to $984465 or $203 per share compared with $745812 a year ago For the fourth quarter the savings and loan had net income of $300149 or 62 cents a share compared with $229067 a year ago Home Federal did not report earnings per share in 1990 because it had not yet converted to a publicly-held company Dillard income up 21 in 3rd quarter Dillard Department Stores Inc in Little Rock Ark reported that its net income rose 21 percent in the third quarter ended Nov 2 to $39 million or $105 per share compared with $324 million or 88 cents a share during the same period in 1990 Dillard's is a department store chain with more than 13 stores in North Carolina including four in the Triangle Citicorp dismisses credit card executives NEW YORK — The president and several senior executives of Citicorp's credit card processing division have left the company amid allegations they fraudulently overstated revenue a bank spokesman confirmed The Wall Street Journal reported that Bruce M Weber president of Citicorp Establishment Services and at least 11 other executives were dismissed for inflating unit revenue by about $23 million From staff and wire reports Correction The News & Observer on Sunday reported incorrectly the planned closing date for the Tons 0 Toys store at Holly Park shopping center in Raleigh The store is scheduled to close by Dec 24 Inside n Soviet fund 2D US to insure investments in Soviet companies III Investing 8D Low interest rates send small investors back to the market Business people NC markets Foreign exchange Stocks AD 7D 6D 5D 025 By CE YANDLE Staff writer Despite the lowest mortgage rates in more than a decade Triangle homebuyers remained uneasy about the nation's economic picture during the third quarter of this year Overall home sales fell about 6 percent in the region through the first nine months of this year compared with the same period in 1990 according to statistics compiled by Market Opportunity Research Enterprises in Rocky Mount Real estate analysts say the decline was expected given the recession that gripped the United States through the first half of the year And in the months since the recession is believed by some experts to have ended economic indicators have been mixed causing many consumers to step cautiously before making major new purchases such as a home "People are just afraid with the economy being the way it is" said By KYLE MARSHALL Staff writer By JIM BARNETT Staff writer Burroughs Wellcome Co in Research Triangle Park has scheduled a news conference today to announce availability of a new life-saving drug developed from the same family of medications as AZT the company's AIDS treatment The medication would be made available to the public under Food and Drug Administration approval as an investigational drug — the same classification given to AZT several months before it received formal approval Burroughs Wellcome officials were tight-lipped Monday about which disease the new drug might treat But Thack Brown a spokesman acknowledged that the drug was part of the company's anti-viral program Asked whether the new drug was an AIDS treatment Mr Brown said: Area residents slow to j ump 336 into new homes Clifton W Thomas a Raleigh accountant and housing consultant "They are just afraid of making a big move" The paralysis that has affected potential homebuyers afflicts the entire nation The National Association of Realtors reported that September home sales fell 129 percent from September 1990 the biggest decline in more than two years Many real estate agents and home builders find the decline particularly perplexing because interest rates are at their lowest level in 14 years Fixed-rate mortgages for 30-year loans are available for less than 9 percent On a $120000 loan for example borrowers can save nearly $90 a month compared with about a year ago when interest rates were about 1 percentage point higher - R Douglas Davis a Durham real estate appraiser and president of Doug Davis Realty said economic concerns are so en See HOME SALES page 2D It didn't take long for the new owners of WPTF-TV to decide they could make more money by shutting down the news operations of the Triangle's NBC affiliate The day FSF TV Inc bought Channel 28 its partners laid off almost the entire newsroom and bid farewell to local newscasts Instead of local news the station — now called WRDC-TV carries Cheers reruns and entertainment tabloid shows And now instead of doing just slightly better than breaking even the station is said to be solidly profitable only three and a half months after the change in ownership FSF executives while declining to disclose reve nues and net income are projecting a whopping 300 percent increase in the station's profits for the first year under their ownership "We have far exceeded our plan" said Paul Brissette the partner in FSF who has been - responsible for bringing about the transformation at WRDC Mr Brissette and his partners established FSF to buy the station on July 31 from the former Durham Life Broadcasting Inc in Raleigh That the station's finances have improved should come as no surprise Mr Brissette slashed employment to 34 people down from about 80 before station management ordered news employees to pack up their belongings: He renewed the emphasis on advertising sales And he replaced newscasts with programming that almost certainly will do better in the ratings than the old news shows which typically drew 2 percent or less of the viewing public — way behind the two leading news stations in the Triangle market "Paul is very very successful at going in and just cutting everything to the bone and taking an operation and making it more profitable" said a broadcast executive familiar with Mr Brissette "There's no doubt that the operation is much more profitable than it was before" But some broadcasters argue that running a TV station means more than making money It's supposed to be an integral part of the life of a community offering a combination of news entertainment and public-service programming broadcast executives say That's where Mr Brissette is under examination by competing stations For his part Mr Brissette maintains that the station will be able to be more closely involved in community affairs because it doesn't have to spend millions of dollars a year on news shows As examples he cited the station's recent live coverage of the State Fair in Raleigh the co-sponsorship of a tennis tournament to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the station's contract to carry live broadcasts of five NC State University See WRDC page 2D SEE CORRECTION not-1 Pag Burrough-s-Wellcorne plans announcement on new drug Owners turn WRDC into money ma "Come to the press conference tomorrow and I'll tell you all about it" AZT marketed under the brand name Retrovir probably is Burroughs Wellcome's best-known anti-viral drug But Zovirax a herpes treatment that also is an anti-viral is the British-owned company's biggest seller Analysts said that Burroughs Wellcome has several anti-viral drugs in various stages of research and development but they said it was unclear which drug would merit FDA approval as an investigational treatment In 1987 AZT became the first anti-AIDS drug approved in the United States and was the only FDA-approved treatment until Bristol-Myers Squibb ' Co got the go-ahead from the federal agency earlier this year Burroughs Wellcome the parent 'of Wellcome plc has scheduled simuftsneous news conferences today in Washington and at its RTP headquarters By KIM R KENNESON Staff writer Triangle housing sales Third quarter Number chan Wake County Condos Detached Townhouse Total Wake Durham County Condos Detached Townhouse Total Durham Orange County Condos Detached Townhouse Total Orange Triangle Condos Detached Townhouse 98 2162 283 2543 46 658 109 813 :ondos 210 )etached 3125 -ownhouse 433 Total Triangle 3768 -2847 -087 -691 -301 698 -237 093 -145 66 -2235 395 -379 41 2813 412 -507 -248 -291 Source: Market Opportunity Research Enterprises I First three quarters Number chanee 268 -3558 5767 -189 800 -1041 6835 -490 93 -412 1758 -718 258 -2062 2109 -894 105 -2657 766 -192 85 -1827 956 -700 466 -2896 8291 -306 1143 -1354 9900 -599 Staff photo by Laura Dorton Paul Brissette a partner in WRDC-TV sits in former WPTF-TV newsroom which the new owners closed because of poor ratings for the station's news shows Coca-Cola Bottling Consolidated Co the Charlotte bottler that distributes Coca-Cola products in Raleigh said Monday that it plans to buy a South Carolina bottler in a deal that would make Consolidated the nation's second-largest Coke bottler Sunbelt Bottling Co in Charleston SC distributes Coca-Cola products in several Eastern North Carolina cities including Fayetteville Wilson Lumberton and Plymouth Sunbelt also distributes Coke products 'in Asheville and other Western North Carolina cities The privately held company has annual sales of about $200 million and is ranked as the nation's eighth-largest bottler Consolidated has annual sales of about WO million and is the fourth-largest The combined company would rank behind only Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc an Atlanta bottler owned by Coca-Cola Co the Atlanta soft-drink company er Fed says no more interest rate cuts Board reportedly fears inflation By JAMES RISEN Los Angeles Times WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve Board has virtually ruled out further interest rate reductions this year despite the econo- my's persistent sluggishness ad- cording to senior Fed officials Sources at the Fed said the board now doubts the ability of lower rates to fuel the economy fears the resurgence of inflation next year and is wary of some potential long-term political ramifications of further interest rate reductions now The decision is certain to disappoint the White House which has been counting on the Fed to cut interest rates and bail the country — and President Bush — out of the lingering slump before the 199 campaign begins in earnest With tax and budget policy virtually paralyzed by the recoril federal budget deficit Congress and the Bush administration havit been unable to push throud spending programs or tax cuts that would invigorate the mono my The president has decided against campaigning for a packs age of stimulative tax cuts at least until February As a result the White House's economic policy has been reduced to little more than publicly urging the Fed to cut interest rates Treasury Secretary Nicholas Ft Brady and Mr Bush's chief economic adviser Michael A Boskin have both pushed hard for further reductions in recent weeks '' - Senior administration economic policymakers would not comment Monday on the Fed's decision At an internal policy meeting last week highlighted by a lengthy and intense closed-doot debate over the direction of the economy Fed officials effectively agreed that "even if we see a bad : month or two we will ride it out" without further cuts one source said The Fed will move again "only if things get bad for several months and really go into 'n free-fall" Last week the Fed lowered its benchmark discount rate by 05 percentage point to 45 percent its lowest level in 18 years and slashed its federal funds rate 025 percentage point to 475 percent But Fed officials decided that "wd have gone down just about as far as we can go" said one Fed source Sources said that the decision not to cuts rates further stems in part from a 'growing fear within the Federal Reserve about political pressures it will face from thd White House during the upcoming presidential election At last week's policy session of the Fed's Open Market Commit'l tee some officials warned that if t they lowered rates more now:' they might be forced to raise rates next year to hold down inflation -7! if the long-awaited economic recovery gains momentum But raising rates in the middle' of a presidential election would'be extremely difficult It would be much easier Fed officials argued to forgo another rate cut now in hopes of delaying rate increases as long as possible during the expected recovery next year ' Coca-Cola bottler's deal would make it 2nd largest: Lauren C Steele a Consolidated spokesman said Consolidated does not expect to' make many changes in the company's' distribution center in Raleigh and Sunbelt's centers in Eastern North Carolina But he-7 declined to comment on whether the buyout would result in any layoffs -- - Consolidated expects to complete thó- - purchase by the end of the year pending regulatory approval Terms of the deaf - were not disclosed "This is a perfect fit for Coke Consolidared" said Mr Steele "We distribute everywhere in North Carolina from Tarboro to Shelby except Durham and Sunbelt is in Eastern and Western North Carolina" f Mr Steele declined to say whether Consolidated ever would serve the Durham area by buying Durham Coca-Cola Bottling Co a privately held firm )' The purchase of Sunbelt is part of Consolidated's ongoing strategy to grow by buying bottlers whose distribution territories border its own Since 1988 Consolidated has bought several bottlers in West Virginia Kentucky and other Southern states rt a A i ! 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