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BIZWATCH : MARKETS.

MARKET LOGIC: The Dow Jones industrial average rose Tuesday to its first close above 6,600. Broader measures also turned positive, with the Nasdaq market closing at a record high for the second straight day, erased a 55-point deficit.

MEMO

IMAGE IMPROVES: Stock of Image Entertainment Inc., the nation's largest licensee and distributor of laserdisc programming, rose 15 percent after its board approved a million-share increase to its existing stock repurchase plan of 1.5 million shares. The issue was up 56 cents to $4.31. Chatsworth-based Image also announced it had reached a five-year licensing and distribution deal with PolyGram Video.

DISNEY SHIFT: Kenneth P. Wong will take over the helm of Walt Disney Imagineering from Peter S. Rummell, who has resigned to become chairman and CEO of St. Joe Corp., a Florida real estate concern.Wong, 40, will continue to hold his title of president of WDI, and be responsible for overall management of the organization including the creation and development of Disney's entertainment venues - theme parks, retail stores, regional entertainment facilities - as well as the master planning, development and asset management of Disney's real estate. Wong joined Disney in 1991 as senior vice president of Disney Development Co.

BOEING BOOMING: Boeing Co. had a record year in 1996, falling just shy of its goal of controlling two-thirds of the world's commercial airline market, the company said Tuesday. Boeing ended 1996 with announced orders for 717 aircraft worth $53 billion. With cancellations and substitutions of previous orders, the company had a net new business gain of 559 planes worth $42.8 billion. That's the figure it used to calculate market share, which equaled 64 percent of the worldwide market for jets with more than 100 seats, said Ron Woodard, president of Boeing Commercial Airplane Group.

DELTA REROUTES: Delta Air Lines Inc. said it will take a $60 million charge in its March quarter as it realigns trans-Atlantic routes, adding service between New York City and Europe and cutting some European routes. Delta said it will increase service from New York's Kennedy International Airport and six European cities and between JFK and four U.S. cities. At the same time, Delta will cut service between its hub in Frankfurt, Germany, and six cities.

NISSAN BUYOUT: Nissan Motor Corp. USA said Tuesday that it will reduce its North American marketing, sales and distribution work force through early retirements, buyouts and layoffs.

Bob Thomas, president and chief executive, said early retirements and buyouts have been offered to about 2,000 workers, but that a maximum of 450 will be allowed to accept the offers. The deadline is in 45 days.

NEW STATE FARM PROGRAM: State Farm said Tuesday that it plans to shift some 1.5 million homeowners to a new program that will cover only California customers, a move the company said will enable it to better comply with a voter-approved ballot initiative. State Farm, the state's largest property and auto insurer, said the revised homeowners carrier, State Farm General Insurance Co., will begin expanded operations in March. Spokesman Bill Sirola said the shift will simplify policyholders' coverage choices and make it easier for State Farm to meet the demands of Proposition 103, the 1988 ballot initiative that among other things requires insurers to publicly justify their requests for rate increases. But Consumers Union, a critic of the insurance industry, said the change will permit State Farm to limit its risk and ultimately obtain higher rate increases.

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 8, 1997
Words:599
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