Business and City in Brief

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The Independent Online
WORLD MARKETS

NEW YORK: The Dow Jones Industrial Average stormed to another record close, up 44.74 points at 3,865.51, led by program buying of cyclical stocks.

TOKYO: Gains in late trading lifted the Nikkei average 319.43 points to close at 18,443.44.

HONG KONG: Bargain-hunters helped to recover much of the ground lost at the end of last week. The Hang Seng finished 365.46 points ahead at 11,366.94.

SYDNEY: Strong performances by BHP and National Australia Bank led the All Ordinaries index 10.3 points higher to 2,196.3.

BOMBAY: Prices leapt 4.3 per cent, with the index putting on 159.36 points to 3,821.56.

JOHANNESBURG: The weekend slump in the gold price rattled investors and took the overall index down 38 points to 5,044.

PARIS: Shares continued their prolonged advance on hopes of economic recovery. The CAC-40 added 9.7 points to 2,317.25.

FRANKFURT: In moderate trade the DAX index rose 22.15 to 2,233.71.

ZURICH: Profit-taking in blue chips after last week's gains left the Swiss Performance Index 12.27 points weaker at 1,913.87.

LONDON: Report, page 26.

REALIGNMENT COSTS GILLETTE dollars 164m

Gillette said it would take an after-tax charge of dollars 164m, or 74 cents a share, in the fourth quarter, as it realigns operations.

The company said the realignment would involve job additions and reductions, affecting 2,000 jobs, or 6 per cent of the total, over the next two years, largely outside the United States.

MG INVESTIGATION

The former management board chairman and the former finance director of troubled Metallgesellschaft, the metals, mining and engineering conglomerate, are under investigation on suspicion of fraud, the Frankfurt prosecutor's office said. Heinz Schimmelbusch and Meinhard Forster were sacked last month over risky US oil deals.

FORECAST PLAN DROPPED

The Treasury has abandoned the idea of contracting out to the private sector the development of the computer model it uses to forecast the economy, arguing that performance would be difficult to assess and that cost savings might not be achievable.

GAS PRICE RISE

British Gas is increasing prices for the 1,000 companies on one to two-year interruptible contracts by an average of 6 per cent from next month. Smaller customers will see no increase but larger users will see increases of 9 per cent.

BOOST FOR ELLIS

Ellis & Everard, the chemicals distributor, has been appointed sole supplier for the detergent maker Albright & Wilson. Together with two smaller deals revealed yesterday, annual group turnover will increase by pounds 20m.

Bottom Line page 28

FRENCH PRICES FALL

French consumer prices fell a provisional 0.1 per cent in December after a rise of 0.1 per cent in November, the statistics office said. Year-on-year inflation was 2.1 per cent against 2.2 per cent in November.

TIETMEYER ELECTED

The Bank for International Settlements said the governors of the G10 central banks had elected the Bundesbank president, Hans Tietmeyer, as their new chairman. He succeeds John Crow, governor of the Bank of Canada, at the end of the month.

MORE BARCLAYS CUTS

Staff morale at Barclays will fall even further on reports that the bank is raising its job loss target by 3,000, the Banking Insurance and Finance Union said. Barclays wants to increase its job- cutting programme from 18,000 over five years to 21,000 - a cut of almost a quarter of its UK workforce. As 16,000 jobs have already gone in three years, this means a further 5,000 will go over the next two years.

AIR TRAFFIC SLOWDOWN

(First Edition)

The International Air Transport Association reported a slowdown in passenger traffic growth last November, despite steady expansion in freight. November passenger traffic and seat supply both grew by 4 per cent, well down on the 6 per cent in each of the previous three months.

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