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Posted: Thursday, January 04, 2001

Permanent Fund grows despite yo-yo market cycle

ANCHORAGE -- The Alaska Permanent Fund grew by $750 million in December, despite wide swings in the stock market.

The state's oil wealth savings account ended the year with a market value of $26.8 billion.

Its U.S. stock holdings totaled $8.9 billion, or up $93 million for the month. Its foreign stocks performed the best, reaching $4.3 billion. That's up $323 million.

The fund's bond holdings totaled $10.8 billion, or up $258 million. Real estate, at $2.7 billion, was up $68 million for the month.

The Dow Jones Industrial average was up 4 percent, while the broader Standard & Poors 500 index was flat in the U.S. stock market last month.

Clinton signs bill for U.S.-Canada rail commission

ANCHORAGE -- President Clinton has signed legislation crating a bilateral commission to study the feasibility of building a rail link between Canada and Alaska.

The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska.

It creates a 24-member commission, with half the members from the U.S. and the rest from Canada. The commissioners are to study the economic and technological feasibility of such a rail link.

Negotiations would have to be opened with Canada to encourage that nation to accept the measure and appoint its 12 members.

It appears likely Clinton will leave the matter to President-elect George W. Bush to implement later this winter, Murkowski said.

''It is wonderful that America has taken the step of creating and funding a commission to thoroughly study whether it makes economic and environmental sense to improve transportation through Northwest Canada to Alaska,'' Murkowski said in a prepared statement.

''A railroad extension may be the best way to solve the region's long-standing transportation needs in a way that makes good environmental sense.''

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