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CALIFORNIA | BRIEFLY

The Economy

April 06, 1999

Profits after taxes at major U.S. manufacturers fell during the fourth quarter of 1998 to the lowest level in three years, the Commerce Department said. After-tax profits at major manufacturers averaged 5.1 cents per dollar of sales in the quarter, from 6.2 cents in the previous quarter and 6.0 cents in the year-earlier period. After-tax profits at major retailers with assets of $50 million or more averaged 3 cents per dollar of sales during the fourth quarter, Commerce also said. That's up from the third quarter's 1.9 cents and matched a 3 cents average during the fourth quarter of 1997.

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