Business and City in Brief

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The Independent Online

Enterprise Oil, the UK explorer, is boosting its presence in the huge Norwegian sector of the North Sea, acquiring a 50 per cent stake in three blocks from Esso in return for funding an estimated pounds 40m exploration programme over three years.

The deal will boost Enterprise's acreage in the area by about 25 per cent to almost 300 square kilometres.


The US Securities and Exchange Commission has voted to revive a proposal that would require investors to report big stock trades to the agency. The new proposal will be subject to a 60-day public comment period.


German luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz, part of Daimler-Benz, said it was introducing short-time working at its Stuttgart headquarters as a way of combating 'a staff overhang'.


The TSB, the only lender so far to have responded to Tuesday's 0.25 per cent base rate cut, has reduced its mortgage rate by 0.19 percentage points to 7.45 per cent. The cost of a pounds 50,000 endowment loan falls by pounds 6.72 a month to pounds 263.86.


A group of banks led by Standard Chartered last night withdrew a legal action in New York that would have blocked the rescue of the German engineering and metals conglomerate Metallgesellschaft. The rescue now formally takes effect.

View from City Road, page 40


London and Manchester, the life insurer, has raised pounds 50m through an issue of bonds redeemable in 2004. The loan notes will pay a coupon of 8.125 per cent per annum, set to give investors a yield 1.5 per cent better than the gross redemption yield on 63 4 per cent Treasury stock maturing in 2004. Dealings are expected to begin next Thursday.


Air Canada has placed firm orders for six Airbus Industrie A340-300 jets, with options on another three. Deliveries are set to begin in late 1996.


Renault VI, the bus and truck arm of Regie Nationale des Usines Renault and Volvo, said its worldwide sales of vehicles of more than five tonnes had slipped by 1.3 per cent in 1993 to 46,700 trucks in a market that fell 2 per cent.


Jacques Attali, the French former president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, has been awarded libel damages of Fr1 against the weekly Le Point, its director, Bernard Wouts, and journalist Michel Colombes.


NEW YORK: Investors returned to the market with greater confidence and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 25.89 points to close at 3,931.92.

TOKYO: Widespread unloading of stocks due to a variety of factors sent the Nikkei average diving 409.85 points to 19,841.38.

HONG KONG: The Hang Seng index ended a shortened session ahead of the Chinese new year holiday 49.87 ahead at 11,504.03.

SYDNEY: A sell-off in the futures market sent shares lower. The All Ordinaries index plunged 34.5 points to 2,270.9.

BOMBAY: Profit-taking after recent gains took the index down 143.38 (3.44 per cent) to 4,018.7.

PARIS: Prices edged out of negative territory in late trading. The CAC-40 index ended 2.21 points to the good at 2,302.06.

FRANKFURT: The DAX index lost 21.92 to 2,085.28 in light trade.

ZURICH: In the uncertain climate following the US interest rate rise the SPI fell 26.03 to 1,937.57.

MILAN: Options-linked selling took the market broadly lower.

LONDON: Report, page 40.