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"The Federal Open Market Committee meeting ended at 1:40 p.m. There is no announcement."

--Federal Reserve public statement indicating it would not hike interest ratesEDITED BY LARRY LIGHTReturn to top


STRIKE UP THE band for Pearl Jam, recovered from its runin with Ticketmaster. Now embarked on a sold-out 10-city tour, the rock group with three platinum albums has secured arenas not locked up by Ticketmaster, which controls two-thirds of the concert market.

Miffed at what it saw as unduly high service charges (an average of 12% per ticket, going as high as 55% for choice events), Pearl Jam swore off Ticketmaster in 1994. Band members testified before Congress that teen fans can't afford "$50 or more" for a ticket. In 1995, the rockers tried performing in open-air spots such as parks and even an airport, since Ticketmaster has exclusive rights to many of the best venues. Due to bad weather and on-site logistics, plus lead singer Eddie Vedder's poor health, they ditched the tour.

This year, Vedder & Co., who could not be reached, were savvier about scheduling. The band has scored several Ticketmaster-controlled facilities by finding loopholes in venue contracts. For example, Pearl Jam played Seattle's Key Arena Sept. 16, because part of the proceeds went to charity. Tickets cost about $20, including a $2.50 service charge. Ticketmaster charged $3.25 when it handled Pearl Jam. Says Alan Citron, a Ticketmaster senior veep: "We have no quarrel with the band."EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT By Seanna BrowderReturn to top


A HEFTY PAY HIKE FOR THE man who oversees America's supply of nuclear-power-plant fuel has some lawmakers glowing with rage. William Timbers, head of the U.S. Enrichment Corp., is hauling down $350,000 this year, internal documents say. CEO Timbers' annual pay was $103,800 when the Energy Dept. spun off the outfit two years ago. The feds still own all its stock, pending an expected merger or public offering.

House Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley Jr. (R-Va.) and other critics say the almost 150% boost for ex-Wall Streeter Timbers, 46, makes no sense since USEC hasn't achieved its main goal, privatization. And with U.S. nuclear power on the downswing, they note, the USEC hasn't grabbed much overseas business. USEC won't elaborate on Timbers' pay, and he won't comment. But it says his pay is lower than most top private-sector execs'.EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT By Wilson Dizard IIIReturn to top


FOR RACERS, THE MEMORIAL Day weekend demolition derby may be over. Last spring, both the Indianapolis 500 and its rival, Championship Auto Racing Teams, ran on the holiday-weekend Sunday. But after team sponsors and advertisers complained about the head-to-head contests, CART appears ready to shift its 500-mile race to Saturday or Monday, or even to another weekend, say people close to the group.

CART, made up of such name drivers as Al Unser Jr. and Michael Andretti, set up a competing race after quarreling with Indy 500 management. The face-off, however, wasn't a winner for anyone. The Indy 500's audience on ABC sank 20% from 1995. Seen only on cable, CART's race in Brooklyn, Mich., attracted a viewership just one-third of the Indy 500's. So advertisers got less for their money. Typical was Valvoline, which kept its spots with the legendary Indy 500 and didn't have the budget for CART's race. CART chief Andrew Craig will only say that it doesn't wish to fight the Indianapolis Motor Speedway anymore.EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT By Bill KoenigReturn to top

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