ECONOMIC BRIEFS

Japanese Snap Up Import Cars

SALES of imported autos in Japan soared 29 percent in 1995, setting a record for the second year in a row, an industry group reported yesterday.

The increase to 388,162 vehicles was the third straight year-on-year rise, the Japan Automobile Importers' Association said.

The share of imported passenger cars in the Japanese auto market rose to 10.2 percent, a dramatic increase from 5.7 percent in 1993 and 8.1 percent in 1994.

The association attributed the increase to the strong value of the yen, which allowed foreign automakers to lower sticker prices, and to more aggressive sales efforts. The association predicted that the rate of growth of imports would cool in '96 to 15.4 percent, with sales of about 450,000 vehicles.

Fidelity muzzles fund managers

FIDELITY Investments, the biggest mutual-fund company in the US, has barred its portfolio managers from publicly discussing individual securities after the head of its largest fund was sued for talking favorably about stocks he was allegedly selling.

Fidelity said this week that it told its 70 fund managers last month to curb such comments to news reporters. The company also began including a statement in reports to shareholders that any discussion about securities pertains to performance earlier in the period and is not an opinion of future events.

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