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Higher oil costs lifted US consumer prices in August, but underlying inflation remained subdued, the Labor Department said. The consumer price index rose 0.3 percent in August, just as it did in July. But the closely watched core index, which strips out volatile food and energy costs, increased only 0.1 percent, following a 0.2 percent rise in July. The report was expected to allay some of the concern about the need for higher interest rates.

Motorola said it had agreed to buy General Instrument Corp., a major supplier of cable-TV set-top boxes, in a stock deal valued at about $11 billion. Under the deal, each General Instrument share would be exchanged for 0.575 shares of Motorola.

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Dime Bancorp and Hudson United Bancorp agreed to merge in a $3.6 billion deal that would create the mid-Atlantic region's largest independent bank. The combined company, Dime United Bancorp, would have assets of more than $32 billion, officials said. Its principal subsidiary will be a commercial bank known as DimeBank. Executive offices of Dime United will be in Manhattan; DimeBank's headquarters in Mahwah, NJ.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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