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Technology stocks soared after the Federal Reserve made no change in US interest rates or its own policy direction. The Fed explained that - in the short term - its major concern is to get through the Y2K rollover without any economic shocks. It maintained a neutral policy stance, although many analysts had expected a shift in the direction of future higher rates.

The US economy grew even more in the third quarter than previously reported, the Commerce Department said. Gross domestic product increased at a revised 5.7 percent annual rate in the July-to-September period, three times the second quarter's 1.9 percent surge. Growth for the third quarter had originally been reported at 5.5 percent.

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National Bank of Alaska has agreed to a buyout by Wells Fargo & Co. for $907 million, officials said. Alaska's largest financial institution has assets of nearly $3 billion, a fraction of the $207 billion controlled by San Francisco-based Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo became the US's seventh-largest bank when it merged with Minneapolis-based Norwest Corp. in November 1998.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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