BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) _ House Republicans leading the impeachment inquiry of President Clinton should move quickly and attempt to finish the investigation by year's end, retired Gen. Colin Powell said Friday.

Powell, speaking to a gathering of brokerage industry executives, endorsed the relatively speedy approach taken by Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

Hyde said Thursday that Clinton could speed the inquiry by answering 81 written questions, including whether he made ``false and misleading'' statements under oath. The questions submitted to the White House are Hyde's price for avoiding drawn-out impeachment hearings by the Judiciary Committee.

``Let's get this national nightmare over with,'' the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in response to a question following his speech at the Securities Industry Association's annual meeting. Powell said he hoped the House panel can ``finish it off'' by the end of the year.

As he's done numerous times before, Powell said he didn't plan to run for the White House in the year 2000.

He got a standing ovation from the Wall Street executives after speaking to them about leadership and recounting some of his Cold War and Desert Storm experiences.

Powell, born in Harlem and raised in the South Bronx in New York, is chairman of America's Promise, an organization for disadvantaged youth around the country.