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Dow chemical and union Carbide said they would merge in a stock swap worth $11.6 billion to create the world's second-largest chemical company. Under terms of the merger, Union Carbide shareholders will get 0.537 share of Dow for each Union Carbide share, leaving them with a 25 percent stake in Dow. The deal must be cleared by regulators and shareholders, and it includes Dow's assumption of $2.3 billion of Union Carbide net debt. Dow said the deal values Union Carbide at $66.96 per share, based on Dow's closing stock price Tuesday of $124.69. Union Carbide closed Tuesday at $48.81. The merged company will be based in Midland, Mich.

US factory orders posted a bigger-than-expected increase in June, led by higher demand for autos and electronic equipment. The Commerce Department said orders for manufactured goods rose 0.7 percent, following a 1 percent increase in May - a little less than the government previously estimated. Many analysts were expecting a 0.4 percent rise in June factory orders. The increase was the 10th in the last 13 months.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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