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News In Brief

The Conference Board said its index of leading US economic indicators rose 0.2 percent in February, signaling an expansion that should continue through at least late 1999. Four of 10 indicators were higher, including consumer expectations. The board said its "coincident" indicators, which measure current activity, rose 0.3 percent - and its "lagging" index, measuring past performance, were 0.2 percent higher. February was the fifth straight monthly rise in the leading economic indicators.

A deal that will give media magnate Rupert Murdoch an even greater presence in the US cable-TV industry was announced in Sydney, Australia. Murdoch's News Corp. said it plans to buy "substantially all" of Liberty Media's interest in the Fox/Liberty Networks partnership for $1.43 billion in stock. Fox/Liberty's assets include the FX entertainment channel; the regional Fox Sports Net channel, which reaches 62 million households; the Golf Channel, and related businesses. Liberty Media, which has a 50-percent stake in the partnership, is based in Englewood, Colo.

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Compiled by Robert Kilborn and Lance Carden

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