News In Brief

Lucent Technologies Inc., the world's largest telecommunications equipment maker, will pay $3 billion in stock to acquire Ortel Corp., a leading developer of optical components used to upgrade cable TV networks for Internet and telephone service. Analysts said the deal could help Murray Hill, N.J.-based Lucent fatten up its microelectronics unit for a possible sell-off. Ortel is based in Alhambra, Calif.

Stronger than expected gains in productivity by American workers for the final quarter of last year were reported by the Labor Department. Thanks largely to computers and other technological advances, it said the output per hour outside the farm sector rose at an annual rate of 5.0 percent, matching the gain for the third quarter. The measure was the strongest since a 7.4 percent rise in the fourth quarter of 1992. Economists had projected an increase of 4.2 percent. At the same time, unit labor costs - pressure for higher wages - declined 1.0 percent, the department said.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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