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Moody's Investors Service lowered its debt ratings for General Motors Corp. Tuesday, citing the company's eroding competitive position in North America. Moody's lowered its long-term debt rating for GM from A2 to A3.

Phelps Dodge Corp. plans to scale back copper production, resulting in 1,440 layoffs, and eliminate its stock dividend after reporting a $100.4 million loss in the latest quarter.

Federal regulators moved to block the sale of Seagram's spirits and wine brands to a pair of European companies Tuesday, saying the sale could reduce competition and result in higher prices for rum. The Federal Trade Commission voted 5-0 to ask a federal judge to grant a preliminary injunction that would prevent the $8.15 billion purchase of Seagram Co.'s alcohol business by France's Pernod Ricard SA and Britain's Diageo PLC.

General Electric Capital Corp. received approval from European antitrust regulators to buy Heller Financial, the commercial finance company. GE Capital announced in August it would purchase Heller for $5.3 billion in cash.

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