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G7 to look at sharp rate rise

Finance ministers of the Group of Seven industrial countries are to debate the recent sharp rise in long-term interest rates.

A US Treasury official said US plans to limit bank risks in derivatives trading would come up at the G7 talks on Sunday in Washington, and at a wider meeting of Western finance ministers and central bankers on Monday.

More Boss jobs lost

The receivers of Lancer Boss, Grant Thornton, announced a further 50 redundancies at the forklift truck company's Leighton Buzzard plant, on top of the 19 already announced. They said they were talking to several potential buyers. The front-runner is believed to be Jungheinrich, which bought Lancer Boss's German factory last week.

Texas sheds 400

Texas Instruments is making 400 workers redundant at its Bedford factory under a plan to restructure its European operations.

Shute shell folds

Scottish Heritable Trust, a property shell chaired by Roger Shute, former chairman of the troubled engineer BM Group, has collapsed, with Bank of Scotland calling in Ernst & Young as receivers. The shares were suspended at 5p in November.

VAT refunded

Customs and Excise will pay back several million pounds in overpaid VAT to motor dealers, the Retail Motor Industry Federation said. Customs agreed they had been charging VAT wrongly when dealers bought cars with road tax still left. Claims can go back to 1973, and will be paid with interest. The agreement follows another in which the Government could pay back up to pounds 15bn of tax wrongly paid on company cars.

Power cuts

Electricity generating capacity in England and Wales will outstrip demand by 43 per cent by the end of the decade under current projections, according to the National Grid Company. The NGC expects that market forces will result in some plans for new power stations being abandoned and more existing power stations being closed.

Money for molecules

Oxford Molecular, a computer software and services company specialising in the computer- aided design of molecules for customers in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, is raising pounds 10m through a placing of its shares.

French rates cut

The Bank of France cut its key intervention rate to 5.80 per cent from 5.90 per cent. The five-to- ten-day emergency funding rate was cut to 6.75 per cent from 7 per cent.


New York: A sharp rise in bonds and blue-chip quarterly results from IBM spurred the Dow Jones 53.83 points higher at 3,652.54 in hectic trading.

Tokyo: Nervous trade, due to both the country's political uncertainty and the strength of the yen, lowered the Nikkei average 82.82 points to 19,799.36.

Hong Kong: Falling property prices triggered a 3 per cent decline, with the Hang Seng index off 286.42 points at 8,934.59.

Sydney: In light trade the All Ordinaries index retreated 17 points to close at 2,029.6.

Bombay: The trading account ended with a 48.68-point fall by the index to 3,781.61.

Johannesburg: With gold shares lower and industrials only marginally higher, the overall index eased nine points to 5,037.

Frankfurt: A recovery in the financial sector helped the DAX to add 14.33 points to 2,196.97.

Paris: Continued weakness saw the CAC-40 index give up another 10.76 points to 2,091.95.

Zurich: Higher money market rates sent shares sharply lower, with the Swiss Performance Index 20.09 lighter at 1,795.49.

London: Report, page 32