Business Highlights/US consumer confidence on the rebound
Consumer confidence in the United States economy rebounded in June, the Conference Board reported Thursday. The research concern said its consumer confidence index rose to 91.5 in June from 87.2 in May; the index is based on a 1969 level of 100.
The report said consumer confidence snapped back last month after falling in May. A companion buying-plans index, covering major anticipated outlays, rose in June to 107.9, from 88.8 in May.
The monthly reports are conducted by NFO Research Inc. and questions 5,000 American households.
A new government analysis has concluded that the breakup of AT&T, combined with federal policies, is causing difficulties for some telephone customers and contributing to the foreign-trade deficit. The report, issued this week by the United States Commerce Department, asks the Federal Communications Commission to crack down on service and installation problems.
The study also said FCC policies and the breakup of the Bell System have contributed to the trade deficit in communications, since foreign manufacturers can easily sell equipment in the US while other nations maintain barriers to keep out American equipment.
Meanwhile, AT&T reported an 1.3 percent increase in earnings for the second quarter. MCI Communications reported that its profit fell 42 percent in the same period.
An increasing number of states are tackling infrastructure projects -- roads, bridges, public buildings, and water systems -- that have backlogged over the years. So concludes the Associated General Contractors, an industry group for 32,000 construction firms, in a recent report on infrastructure projects in the United States.
Even with the upswing in activity, the group reports, the US continues to lose billions of dollars a year in business time because of dilapidated roads, bridges, and other public works.
The AGC advocates streamlined regulatory procedures on infrastructure projects, user fees where possible, and new means of public-works financing. But further cuts in funding for federal public-works projects, the report notes, ``would devastate'' the capital programs of most states.
Olympia & York Resources of Toronto has pulled out of a deal to buy 60 percent of Gulf Canada Ltd. from Chevron Corporation for $2.2 billion. The sale of Gulf Canada was announced May 23, and Chevron gave the Toronto company, which is owned by the powerful Reichmann real estate family, three deadline extensions on the deal while Olympia & York studied tax and legal considerations.
Chevron purchased Gulf Corporation in March 1984 after a takeover battle pitting Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens against Gulf.