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BRIEFCASE EDISON CUTS RATES AT LEAST 8 PERCENT.

Byline: - Staff and Wire Services

ROSEMEAD - Electricity rates for Southern California Edison customers were dropped by 8 percent to 19 percent Friday, as part of a settlement approved by the state Public Utilities Commission.

``This $1.25 billion customer rate reduction is a major landmark in the economic recovery from the devastating impacts of the power crisis for the 12 million people and 500,000 businesses we serve,'' SCE Chairman John Bryson said.

Rates will drop by 8 percent for residences, 18 percent for small businesses, 13 percent for medium-sized businesses and 19 percent for large firms, according to the company.

Big 3 automakers report declines

DETROIT - Detroit's Big Three automakers each reported July sales declined from a year ago, but last month's industrywide results were the best so far this year and automakers appear optimistic about prospects for the rest of 2003.

General Motors Corp., the world's largest automaker, said Friday that sales of its brands, excluding Saab, were off 5.7 percent in July. Car sales were down 11.6 percent. Truck volume fell 1.5 percent. Ford Motor Co.'s total sales fell 11.5 percent while DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group saw its sales drop 7.5 percent in July.

Manufacturing business growing

NEW YORK - Business activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in July for the first time in five months, a private research group reported Friday, the latest sign that the economy may be recovering.

The Institute for Supply Management reported that its manufacturing index stood at 51.8 in July, up from 49.8 in June. A reading below 50 indicates that manufacturing activity is slowing, and a reading above 50 indicates expansion. The index is based on a survey of managers who buy raw materials in 20 industries. Economists had been forecasting a reading of 52.0 in the index.

The last time the ISM's overall index of manufacturing activity showed growth was in February, when it registered 50.5.

Coke, Burger King settle dispute

ATLANTA - Coca-Cola Co. and one of its largest customers, Burger King, have resolved a dispute over Frozen Coke, ensuring the fast-food chain will continue to sell the slush drinks at its restaurants. Just three weeks ago, Burger King said it was discontinuing the sale of Frozen Coke at its restaurants and would stop using Coke's frozen carbonated-beverage machines because the drink was no longer ``strategically relevant'' to Burger King's long-term plans.

Schafer and Burger King spokesman Rob Doughty declined to give details of what led to Burger King's change of heart.

Market tumbles on poor job news

August has a bad reputation on Wall Street to begin with, and investors did nothing to dispel it Friday, sending stock indexes lower on disappointing job news.

Coming a day after a surprisingly strong upward revision in second- quarter economic growth, the government's report that the economy lost jobs for the sixth consecutive month in July was especially disturbing.

The resulting sell-off ended the Dow Jones industrial average's four-week winning streak, as major stock indexes posted daily and weekly losses.

The blue chip stock indexes have been stalled in a narrow trading range since mid-June.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 2, 2003
Words:523
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