Business and City in Brief

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Select buys US agencies

Select Appointments, the recruitment agency, has made its sixth acquisition in 12 months, paying dollars 32m ( pounds 20.8m) for New Boston, a group of five recruitment agencies in the US. It is making an open offer on a 1.64-for-one-share basis at 12.5p to raise pounds 44m. The shares closed at 13p.

Scholes shares up

Shares in Scholes, the electrical components group and takeover target, rose 6p to 254p, 4p above the bid price offered by Hanson. Bill Riches, Scholes chairman, said he would entertain other approaches for the company, although the Hanson bid is recommended.

Insurer sale

Confederation Life, the Canada- based insurer, is in advanced negotiations to sell its UK subsidiary to a large financial services company. Legal & General and Scottish Widows are believed to be possible purchasers.

Elswick agrees bid

Elswick, the label printer, is recommending an offer from Ferguson International worth 18.25p a share. Elswick shares rose 5p to 17p, putting a pounds 37.7m value on the company.

Draw of Telford

Carl Leipold, a German electrical precision parts manufacturer, is to set up a new factory in Telford and initially employ 25, assisted with a grant from the Department of Trade and Industry. This brings the number of German firms in the town to 26.

Cook expands Thomas Cook, the travel group, has bought Barclays Bank's traveller's cheques subsidiary, Interpayment Services, for an undisclosed sum.

Satellite switch

Matra Marconi Space, the satellite joint venture of GEC-Marconi and Matra, has bought Ferranti's satellite communications business from the receivers. The Poynton-based company employs 100 people.

Auction boom

Sotheby's Holdings, the auctioneers, reported a 22 per cent rise in net income to dollars 14m in the first half of the year. Auction sales were 9 per cent higher at dollars 692.1m.

TSB service

TSB has launched a 24-hour phone banking service, has doubled its available cash machines to 11,000 by joining the Link network, and has started to revamp its branch network. PhoneBank will provide access to standard banking services and to TSB's range of credit card and insurance facilities through a service fully integrated with the branch network.

World Markets

New York: Prices failed to hold early gains as inflation fears were rekindled. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 15.86 points lower at 3,750.90.

Tokyo: Supported by buying interest from foreign investors, the Nikkei average moved ahead 51.11 points to 20,821.36.

Hong Kong: Early gains were eroded, leaving the Hang Seng 93.54 points adrift at 9,524.54.

Sydney: A sell-off in bonds sent the All Ordinaries index falling 13.7 points to 2,062.8.

Johannesburg: In a correction from recent highs the index, which had risen 4 per cent in a week, shed 35 points to 5,883.

Paris: Gloom over the interest rate outlook drove the CAC-40 index down 25.24 to 2,038.93.

Frankfurt: In a lacklustre session the DAX index eased 5.09 points to close at 2,155.28.

Zurich: Losing early gains as bond market weakness set in, the Swiss Performance Index closed 1.21 points off at 1,720.02.

Milan: Doubts about political stability sent shares lower.

London: Report, page 24.