Best practice for OTC derivatives

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A study on the growing OTC derivatives market has set out a code of best practice for users and dealers and urged regulators to remove barriers to business.

Senior management at firms that sell or use futures, options and swaps must understand, approve and regularly review activities and risk controls, according to the report, published by the Group of 30, a Washington think-tank. Hanson strike costs

Hanson said the cost of the strike at its Peabody coal mines in the US would be pounds 29m for the three months to 30 June and warned of permanent closure of some mines.

French sell-offs

Chemicals firm Rhone-Poulenc, oil company Elf Aquitaine, Banque Nationale de Paris and Banque Hervet are to be the first state-controlled firms to be privatised.

Daimler job cuts

Daimler-Benz is to cut 100 to 200 more jobs through natural wastage or early retirement schemes over the next two years.

Tiphook up and down

Shares of the freight-container leasing group Tiphook rose and fell again in very active American depositary trading amid renewed rumours of a possible takeover bid by Transamerica Corporation.

Microsoft delay

The US Federal Trade Commission adjourned a meeting without announcing a decision on allegations that Microsoft, the computer software company, had engaged in anti- competitive practices. Microsoft said later that the FTC had voted against filing charges that it had violated US anti-trust laws.

Royal Bank signs

Royal Bank of Scotland signed the formal contract for the sale of its 90.1 per cent stake in its merchant banking subsidiary Charterhouse to Credit Commercial de France and Berliner Handels und Frankfurter Bank.

FKI payoff

Alan Baxter, a former divisional managing director of FKI, the process control and engineering group, received pounds 300,000 compensation for loss of office. Saudi expansion

Saudi Arabia has announced a dollars 28bn expansion of its oil production and refining capacity.

Sealed lips at P&O

The transport to construction conglomerate P&O would not comment on speculation that it was about to do a deal with Nedlloyd, the Dutch shipping company.

Scrip take-up

North West Water announced a 90 per cent take-up for its enhanced scrip dividend. A quarter of those shareholders are selling the shares on to Swiss Bank Corporation.

Business angels

NatWest is looking into establishing a national database of 'business angels', private investors who might back small businesses.

Bond seeks deal

(First Edition)

Alan Bond, the fallen Australian tycoon, is trying to piece together a deal with creditors to pull himself out of bankruptcy. A spokeswoman for Mr Bond confirmed that he was offering creditors a fraction of their debts in return for releasing him from bankruptcy.

Bags of safety

(First Edition)

Ford is to fit airbags as standard on the driver's side in all its cars and light vans from September. Front passenger seat airbags will be available as an option.

World Markets

New York: The Dow Jones Industrial average closed up 10.62 at a new high of 3,555.40 after a late flurry, as US firms released a series of upbeat quarterly reports.

Tokyo: Futures-linked technical dealing in light trade lifted the Nikkei average 42.91 to 20,080.91.

Hong Kong: Concern about China's overheated economy wiped out early gains and left the Hang Seng 6.83 points easier at 6,839.98.

Sydney: Renewed buying by local and overseas investors carried the All Ordinaries index up 12.4 points to 1,818.5, near the day's high.

Johannesburg: Shares came off lows after the gold price showed signs of improvement. The overall index lost 26 points to 4,029.

Paris: With the franc under fresh selling pressure, the CAC-40 index dipped 20.91 points to 1,947.53.

Frankfurt: Thin trade, driven by futures-related selling, lowered the DAX index 15.18 points to 1,823.81.

Zurich: Prices fell in volatile trading, with the SPI closing 4.38 points lighter at 1,466.33.

Milan: The MIB lost seven points to 1,231 on interest rate worries.

London: Report, page 28.