Business & City in Brief

Fewer complaints against banks

The number of complaints against banks handled by the Banking Ombudsman has fallen in the past six months, despite a 350 per cent annual increase in mortgage-related cases being investigated.

Out of 1,111 cases accepted for investigation last year, 123 are linked to grievances over mortgages, the ombudsman's annual report disclosed. There were 36 similar complaints in the previous 12 months, out of 956.

Complaints related to 'phantom' withdrawals from cash machines fell from 36 per cent in 1992 to 20 per cent.

Virgin may be split

Richard Branson may split his Virgin Atlantic airline into three 'mini-Virgins' each with its own aircraft, headquarters, directors and staff. Mr Branson said in Hong Kong that he was worried about Virgin getting too big.

Uneven recovery

Recovery in the UK housing market remains uneven, with a significant upward trend unlikely to emerge before next year, according to Abbey National's autumn business report. Mortgage accounts more than six months in arrears fell to 21,100 from 22,800 between June and September and were 18 per cent lower than at the start of the year.

Elf warning

Elf Aquitaine warned that net profits this year were likely to slump, and said that financial assets worth Fr15bn (pounds 1.72bn) would be sold to reduce debt before the company is privatised. The Elf oil group is the biggest French company quoted on the stock market. Analysts said that the warning that profits would 'scarcely exceed Fr1bn' was likely to depress the share price and increase interest in the launch issue. Last year Elf made a net profit of Fr6.2bn.

Nelson to float

Nelson Hurst, the London insurance broker, is raising pounds 31m in a stock market float. It forecasts pounds 7.2m operating profit in the year to 31 December against pounds 3.8m in 1992.

Insolvencies jump

Western German insolvencies jumped 25.3 per cent to 1,453 in August compared with August last year, the Federal Statistics Office said.

RBS pounds 100m fund

Royal Bank of Scotland has launched a pounds 100m development capital fund to invest in growing Scottish businesses.

Offer job

The Government has appointed Graeme Sims as the new deputy director-general of the Office of Electricity Regulation (Offer) in Scotland. He replaces Peter Carter, who has become deputy director-general at Offer's headquarters in Birmingham.

World Markets

New York: Stocks took heart from a rebound in bond prices and recovered some of the ground lost on Monday. The Dow Jones Average closed 3.92 points higher at 3,674.17.

Brussels: On the first day of a new account, the BEL 20 index was up 10.50 points to 1,387.26.

Frankfurt: Shares eased in moderate but volatile trade on the UK rate, with sentiment depressed by the weakness of the bond market. The DAX index fell 2.59 points to 2,027.41.

Madrid: The general index declined 2.44 points to 297.36.

Milan: The Mibtel index ended 33 points lower at 9,044, off a low of 8,829.

Paris: On the last day of the November account, the CAC-40 index fell 11.14 points to 2,071.47.

Zurich: The UK rate cut and the dollar's firmer undertone helped the Swiss Market Index rise 5.6 points to 2,702.1.

Hong Kong: Prices were sharply lower in line with other world markets. The Hang Seng index fell 134.62 points to 9,036.02.

Tokyo: Local holiday.

Sydney: The All Ordinaries index fell 39.7 points to 2,009.6.

London: Report, page 32.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Guru Careers: Management Accountant

£27 - 35k + Bonus + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Management Accountant is needed ...

Guru Careers: Project Manager / Business Analyst

£40-50k + Benefits.: Guru Careers: A Project Manager / Business Analyst is nee...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'