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The US gross domestic product rose at a 5.5 percent annual rate in the July-to-September period, the Commerce Department reported - far above its 4.8 percent estimate of a month ago. Officials said the revision had primarily been caused by larger-than-estimated increases in corporate inventories as firms stocked up to meet brisk consumer demand. The report showed inventories rising $33.9 billion in the third quarter, more than the originally reported $28.1 billion. Consumer spending, which accounts for some two-thirds of the US economy, rose 4.6 percent in the quarter.

Two days after filing for bankruptcy protection, the No. 2 construction company in Germany, Philipp Holzmann AG, withdrew its application. But a $2.3 billion restructuring plan negotiated with creditors through the mediation of Chancellor Gerhard Schrder, will cost 3,000 workers their jobs, a company executive said. Under the plan, Holzmann will sell off five divisions and the German government will provide a bond of $52.4 million and a loan of $78.5 million. The company blames its financial woes on mismanagement by former executives who quit in 1997.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society