The number of construction permits fell 7.1 percent in North Carolina during the first nine months of 1990 compared with the same period in 1989, State Labor Commissioner John L. Brooks said.

Total permits issued totaled 28,130, down from 29,999 the year before.The value of the projects fell 6.2 percent, from $1.84 billion to $1.71 billion this year.

Single-family home permits in the state fell 3.2 percent to 1,640 units. Total value fell 1.6 percent to $521.1 million.

The average construction cost of a single-family home in North Carolina was $78,485 during the first nine months of 1990, up 1.6 percent compared to 1989.

Total non-residential construction permits rose 0.07 percent, from 10,440 projects in 1989 to 10,512 in 1990. But total value fell 6.1 percent to $1.03 billion.

Wall Street

Stock prices declined slightly Friday, turning downward near the close of the quietest session in nearly four years.

The paucity of business, which was typical of a post-Thanksgiving session on Wall Street, also stemmed from an unspecified power problem at the New York Stock Exchange that prompted a trading halt of more than an hour and a half.

The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials dropped 12.13 to 2,527.23, finishing the week with a net loss of 23.02 points.

Declining issues outnumbered advances by a narrow margin in nationwide trading of New York Stock Exchange-listed stocks, with 650 up, 680 down and 559 unchanged.

Volume on the floor of the Big Board came to 63.35 million shares, down from 140.66 million Wednesday and the lightest total since a 48.86 million-share day Dec. 26, 1986.

Triad

Stord Inc. of Greensboro has been awarded two contracts worth more than $3.6 million to supply waste water treatment equipment to two major U.S. cities.

Stord will furnish equipment that thermally removes water from sludge to prepare the sludge for incineration. The contracts are with the waste water treatment departments in Buffalo, N.Y., and Los Angeles. The Buffalo contract is valued at about $100,000, and the Los Angeles contract is worth $3.5 million.

Blue Ridge Enterprises of Mount Airy has been awarded a $1.5 million contract for The Oaks, a residential assisted-care facility for older adults in Burlington. The project is being developed by Snyder Hunt Corp., a real estate development and management company in Blacksburg, Va.

State

The state attorney general's office has sued an Arizona long-distance company for violating North Carolina's law against pyramid schemes.

In a suit filed last week, the consumer protection division of the attorney general's office said NCN Communications of Gilbert, Ariz., owes $200,000 in refunds to North Carolina residents it employed.

NCN had enlisted more than 1,000 North Carolinians to market its long-distance phone service, according to David Kirkman, assistant attorney general.

The suit says the company broke its contract with its marketers and engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices.

The union representing Carolina Telephone employees has started running advertisements criticizing the company's use of outside contractors.

The radio and newspaper ads by the Communications Workers of America say Carolina Telephone, based in Tarboro, should provide jobs for its own workers instead of outside contractors.

The ads appear as Carolina Telephone and the union try to work out details of a new contract affecting 1,492 workers. The current contract expires Thursday.

Nation

Philips Display Components Co. has postponed plans for a $116 million picture tube plant in Saline, Mich., blaming a sluggish U.S. economy.

A statement Wednesday from the Dutch company's North American operations office in Ann Arbor said the plant ``has been put on hold' because of deteriorating economic conditions in the United States.

Philips recently announced from Eindhoven, the Netherlands, that it had lost $1.3 billion in the third quarter and would lay off up to 45,000 of its 285,700 employees worldwide.

The company had planned to build the picture tube plant on 117 acres and employ up to 400 people.

Earnings

Research Triangle Institute had record revenues of $100.2 million in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, officials said Tuesday.

The amount represented a 13.5 percent increase over the previous fiscal year, according to RTI, a non-profit contract research organization with headquarters in Research Triangle Park.

People

Theodora K. Watts is the new assistant district director of the Internal Revenue Service for North Carolina. Watts will be responsible for federal tax matters in the state. Before moving to North Carolina, Watts was executive assistant to the district director in Boston.

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