ALLIED PROVINCIAL has launched a new guaranteed Capital Growth Bond. Investors are guaranteed their money back after three years if the FT-SE 100 index falls, and gains of up to 60 per cent if the index rises by 50 per cent. There is no management charge and no liability to CGT or income tax.

ACTIVITY in the house-building market was down 17 per cent in the first quarter, compared with the first quarter of last year, according to the National House-Building Council. The number of applications to start new homes totalled 40,600, including 7,000 for housing associations. But completions were 13 per cent higher than a year ago at 40,800.

COVENTRY Building Society is offering fixed-rate mortgages at 5.35 per cent for two years, with a £250 flat fee, on loans up to 95 per cent of the property value.