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THIRD-QUARTER GROWTH AGAIN REVISED UPWARD

The U.S. economy saw growth sprint ahead to an annual rate of 5.7 percent in the fall, even faster than the government previously estimated.

The Commerce Department reported today that the increase in the gross domestic product -- the total output of goods and services -- in the July-September quarter followed an anemic 1.9 percent rate of growth in the April-June quarter.

A number of factors contributed to the third-quarter growth, including robust consumer spending, a strong buildup in inventories held by businesses and an increase in exports.

The revised third-quarter estimate shows the economy is growing at a more robust pace than the 5.5 percent rate the government reported one month ago and the 4.8 percent rate originally estimated. Many analysts expected third-quarter growth to stay at the previously estimated 5.5 percent rate.

For the fourth quarter, many economists are pegging economic growth in the 5 percent range.

Fed leaves rates unchanged

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged Tuesday even as it voiced concerns about inflation.

The Federal Open Market Committee, composed of Fed board members and regional bank presidents, concluded its closed-door deliberations with a brief announcement saying that "in light of market uncertainties associated with the century date change" it was important to focus policy on "ensuring a smooth transition into the Year 2000."

The Fed said it was keeping its policy directive, intended to signal future rate moves, at neutral. But economists said the wording of the statement left little doubt that the central bank was declaring only a temporary cease-fire in its campaign to battle inflationary pressures with higher interest rates.

"The tone in the Fed announcement was more hawkish than usual and strongly implies that we can expect further rate hikes," said David Jones, economist at Aubrey G. Lanston & Co.

Honeywell hikes number of layoffs

MORRIS TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) -- Honeywell International Inc. expects to lay off about 8,000 employees worldwide next year, 3,500 more than it announced shortly after the Honeywell-AlliedSignal Inc. merger.

"As with any merger, the more time you spend looking at the synergies across the company, the more opportunities you find," Honeywell spokesman Tom Crane said Tuesday.

Baptist Foundation to sue ex-officials

PHOENIX (AP) -- A panel in charge of liquidating the failed Baptist Foundation of Arizona said Tuesday it will sell the organization's holdings and sue former officials to recover as much of investors' money as possible.

The announcement came during the first meeting of creditors in the foundation's bankruptcy case. About 13,000 investors stand to lose as much as $400 million.

The foundation was created to manage money for Southern Baptist charities. Investors -- particularly church members -- were lured by promises of high interest rates accompanied by assurances that investment money would benefit churches ministries, state regulators have said.

New Kodak CFO is from Unisys

ROCHESTER (Bloomberg) -- Eastman Kodak Co., the world's biggest photography company, today named Unisys Corp.'s Robert Brust as chief financial officer, ending a search that began with the unexpected death of Harry Kavetas in May.

Brust, 56, takes over the job on Jan. 3, succeeding Jesse Greene, who became Kodak's acting chief financial officer after Kavetas died. Brust will report to Kodak President Daniel Carp, who is scheduled to become chief executive on Jan. 1.

In other business news

General Motors Corp. said Tuesday it had finalized a deal to buy the rights to market and distribute the Hummer, the civilian version of the military's tank-like "Humvee" all-terrain vehicle. Terms of the deal between GM and AM General Corp., the current owner of the Hummer name, were not disclosed. GM said it would release more details in the first quarter of next year.

DaimlerChrysler Financial Services plans to build an $80 million headquarters to house employees who handle financing for retail customers and dealers for Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz in North America. The project -- planned for a 24-acre parcel of land near the automaker's Auburn Hills, Mich., headquarters -- could bring 1,300 jobs to the Detroit area.