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BUSINESS BRIEFLY

ASTRONICS WINS CONTRACT FROM CESSNA AIRCRAFT CO.

Astronics Corp. has won a contract that could be worth up to $1 million a year to make external and cockpit lighting systems for an upgrade of Cessna Aircraft Co.'s single-engine aircraft, the East Aurora lighting systems maker said Monday.

The contract, which Astronics estimates could be worth $700,000 to $1 million a year beginning late this year, calls for the company to supply landing and taxi lights for Cessna's Skyhawk 172, Skylane 182 and Stationair 206 aircraft.

The external lights will use high intensity discharge lighting technology, rather than the standard incandescent lamps currently used on several of the lights.

Astronics also will make illuminated cockpit panels for the planes, using light emitting diode technology. The company already makes illuminated cockpit panels for Cessna's Citation aircraft.

Peter Gundermann, Astronics' president and chief executive officer, said the contract expands the scope of products that the company supplies Cessna and is an example of the company's efforts to supply lighting for a wider range of aircraft systems.

GREENSPAN SANGUINE ON DEBT

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The record level of debt being carried by American households and soaring home prices do not appear to represent serious threats to the U.S. economy, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said today.

Greenspan said that high levels of personal bankruptcies were a concern because they indicated "pockets of distress" among American households. But he said the vast majority "appear able to calibrate their borrowing and spending to minimize financial difficulties."

"Short of a significant fall in overall household income or in home prices, debt servicing is unlikely to become destabilizing," he told America's Community Bankers, the organization that represents smaller banks in the country.

STOCK ANALYST ARRESTED

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A stock analyst was arrested Monday for allegedly trying to extort thousands of dollars from the parent company of St. Louis-based Hardee's Food Systems.

In the midst of the extortion plot, analyst C. Clive Munro issued a negative report that caused CKE Restaurants's stock to lose $160 million in value, U.S. Attorney James Martin said. Munro, 54, was arrested Monday by the FBI at his home in Cheyenne, Wyo. He faces federal charges of extortion, wire fraud and securities fraud.

YIELDS RISE ON TREASURY BILLS

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills rose in Monday's auction to the highest levels in 30 months.

The Treasury Department auctioned three-month bills at a discount rate of 1.770 percent.

Six-month bills were auctioned at a discount rate of 1.990 percent.

The new discount rates understate the actual return to investors -- 1.803 percent for three-month bills with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,955.26, and 2.038 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,899.40.

The Federal Reserve said Monday that the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for making changes in adjustable rate mortgages, fell to 2.18 percent last week from 2.24 percent the previous week.

IN OTHER BUSINESS NEWS

* Delphi Corp. is among six big companies being examined by the Securities and Exchange Commission to determine whether they manipulated earnings by using inaccurate estimates to calculate pension costs. Delphi disclosed Monday in a regulatory filing that SEC staff had requested documents from the company on its accounting related to pensions and retiree health benefits. The companies were not named by the SEC.

* Coca-Cola Co. is hoping to get a lift from a new energy drink, Full Throttle, that it plans to launch in January. The 16-ounce lightly carbonated drink is citrus flavored and contains ginseng extract, guarana extract, caffeine and B-vitamins, the company said in a memo Monday. It will cost roughly $1.90 to $2.

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