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A surge in government subsidies paid to farmers helped push US incomes and spending up at the fastest rate in almost a year last month, the Commerce Department said in a report showing plenty of spending punch remaining in a slowing economy. Incomes climbed by 1.1 percent while spending, propelled by heavy demand for durable goods such as autos, was up 0.8 percent. Excluding farm subsidies, last month's incomes rose by only 0.4 percent.

Nissan Motor Co., on the brink of financial collapse a year ago, announced a profit for the first half of 2000. In Tokyo, president Carlos Ghosn said the restructuring plan he implemented last October has allowed the company to cut supply costs by 10 percent - 2 percent more than had been targeted. Thanks largely to strong sales in the US and Europe, Nissan netted $1.6 billion between January and June, as compared to an overall loss of almost $3 billion for the same period in 1999. Ghosn also said "significant developments" in its North American operations would be announced within weeks. Aides, however, refused to comment on speculation that he meant the building of a third US assembly plant, most likely in Mississippi.

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(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society