News In Brief

By , Judy Nichols, and Stephanie Cook

As contract negotiations broke down over better wages and benefits, about 2,300 unionized machinists at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co.'s plant at Forth Worth, Texas, voted to strike. Many members of the International Association of Machinists were angry that the terms of their contract, which expired midnight Sunday, had fallen behind those for rival Boeing Co. machinists, whose own recent strike resulted in pay increases and guaranteed bonuses.

Boeing wouldn't comment on reported $46 billion merger negotiations with BAe Systems, the world's second-largest defense contractor. The companies already cooperate in building the Harrier "jump jet" and training planes for the US Marines. BAe, based in Farnborough, England, holds a 20 percent stake in Airbus Industrie, the European consortium that is Boeing's No. 1 commercial aviation rival.

A takeover in the range of $8 billion that will give Chase Manhattan Bank a stronger foothold in the European and Asian makets may be announced as soon as today, reports said. But sources familiar with the deal said the merger with Flemings, one of Britain's few remaining independent investment banking groups, still will leave Chase well behind such rivals as Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in terms of equity. Flemings manages about $111.2 billion in investments; Chase $226 billion.

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(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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