Business & Finance

For the seventh day in a row, the euro hit a record high against the US dollar, $1.2191, on European exchanges. Analysts attributed the development to ongoing worry about the US economy, and one, Kornelius Purps of Germany's HypoVereinsbank, suggested that at the current pace the euro could top $1.30 within two months, a level at which intervention by the Federal Reserve or the European Central Bank would be expected. The dollar also fell to an 11-year low of $1.73 against the British pound, and a three-year low of 107.51 against the Japanese yen.

Troubled Freddie Mac, the nation's No. 2 buyer of home mortgages, chose former American Stock Exchange chief Richard Syron as its new chairman Sunday. He will be the publicly traded company's fourth leader in less than a year. Shaun O'Malley, who currently holds the post, will become senior director on the executive board. O'Malley, in turn, replaced Gregory Parseghian, who was ousted in August, and, before him, Leland Brendsel, who was one of three senior executives fired in June. Freddie Mac is under a criminal investigation by the Justice Department and is the focus of a civil inquiry by the Securities and Exchange Commission for accounting irregularities. It acknowledged last month that it had overstated income for 2001 by almost $1 billion.

The General Electric-Pratt & Whitney Engine Alliance won a $1.5 billion contract to build more than 100 power plants for the new Airbus planes ordered by Emirates, the airline of Dubai. GE and Pratt & Whitney, the latter a division of defense contracting giant United Technologies, formed the alliance in 1996 to improve their bidding prospects against such competitors as Britain's Rolls Royce.

The world's largest producer of paper, Stora Enso of Finland, announced it is combining some assets with a smaller forest-products group from Sweden, Korsnäs Ltd., in a deal valued at $1.5 billion. The two will form a new company, Bergvik Skog AB, that will supply wood for their specialized products. Stora Enso, based in Helsinki, is a supplier of newsprint, magazine stock, wallpaper base, and other papers, in addition to lumber. Korsnäs specializes in coated-paper containers for milk and other liquids, kraft paper for supermarket bags, and absorption filler for sanitary products such as diapers.

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