For years, WMX Technologies Inc. cleaned up by cleaning up. But on Oct. 19, the trash king announced a stock-bashing $127.2 million third-quarter loss, on a 3% sales gain. Most of the hit came from a $363 million aftertax writedown of its hazardous-waste businesses. Now, CEO Dean Buntrock has dispatched WMX President Phillip Rooney to trim costs at the company's core Waste Management Inc. unit. Will it work? Management blames a glut of dump and incinerator capacity for much of its strife, but Standard & Poor's Corp. argues that competition and the growth of WMX's own low-margin recycling business are the real long-term concerns.

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