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Also. . .

March 13, 2000

* Italian auto maker Fiat reportedly is on the verge of striking a partnership with General Motors. The Financial Times of London, citing people familiar with the talks, reported today that GM was expected to announce this week that it would acquire a 20% stake in Fiat worth about $2.4 billion. In return, Fiat was to take a 5% interest in GM, also worth about $2.4 billion, making it one of the U.S. auto maker's largest shareholders. No money was to change hands, the Times reported.

* European Union finance ministers were expected today to back Germany's second choice to head the International Monetary Fund after the previous EU-backed candidate failed to overcome U.S. objections. Horst Koehler, who heads the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development, was proposed by Germany last week following Washington's effective veto of Caio Koch-Weser.

* On the earnings front, software companies Oracle Corp. and Adobe Systems Inc. are among the technology players due to report. Also expected are footwear giant Nike Inc. and retailer Albertson's Inc.

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