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SIB puts off pensions report

The Securities and Investments Board, the lead City regulator, has delayed publication of its report on compensation for pensions transfers until October.

The report will give the principles for compensating consumers who have been misadvised to opt out of occupational schemes into personal pensions. Compensation is expected to cost the financial services industry millions of pounds.

Go-ahead for BT

The European Commission has approved British Telecom's link-up with MCI. It said some aspects of the deal restricted competition, but attached few strings. BT is to take a 20 per cent stake in MCI for dollars 4.3bn, becoming the largest shareholder in the US telecommunications operator, and a joint venture called Concert has been established to offer global services to multinationals.

Irish jobs axe

Ireland's state telephone monopoly, Telecom Eireann, is to shed more than 2,000 jobs in a further rationalisation to meet increasing competition. The group reported 1993 profits of Ir pounds 81m, a rise of 62 per cent on 1992 earnings. A dividend of Ir pounds 28m was paid to the state.

Hundred up

Michael Heseltine, President of the Board of Trade, announced that the Department of Trade and Industry had seconded its 100th export promoter from the private sector, 18 months after the launch of the scheme to help British industry identify overseas sales opportunities.

PEPs top pounds 10bn

The value of funds in unit trust personal equity plans rose above pounds 10bn for the first time in June, according to figures from the Association of Unit Trust and Investment Funds. Net unit trust PEP sales in the second quarter totalled pounds 1.11bn.

Magnum for USM

Magnum Power is joining the Unlisted Securities Market by way of a placing that values it at pounds 14.6m. The company has designed a power supply unit for electronic equipment.

Admiral sails ahead

Improved economic conditions in Britain and increased sales by the consultancy and training divisions helped Admiral, the computer services group, to raise pre-tax profits to pounds 3.2m in the six months to 30 June from pounds 2.2m a year earlier.

Portfolio sale

Leeds and Holbeck, the 17th- largest British building society, is buying the residential mortgage portfolio of Refuge Assurance, consisting of 5,000 mortgages worth pounds 110m.

World Markets

New York: Shares came off early lows on firmer bonds and dollar strength. By the close the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 9.71 better at 3,730.18.

Tokyo: Bargain-hunting wiped out early losses, taking the Nikkei average ahead 110.62 points to a closing 20,247.85.

Hong Kong: Volatile trade ended with the Hang Seng index little changed, up 0.48 at 9,402.66.

Sydney: Uneasiness ahead of today's balance of payments data left the All Ordinaries index just 0.4 to the good at 2,042.1.

Bombay: In a dull session the index eased 7.29 points to 4,093.98.

Johannesburg: With mining-related shares still strong but industrials softer, the overall index added 13 points to 5,672.

Frankfurt: A weaker financial sector helped to send the DAX index down 17.63 to 2,122.81.

Paris: A small Bank of France rate cut took prices off their lows. The CAC-40 lost 2.26 to 2,053.43.

Zurich: Wall Street's early gains halted a decline. The SPI ended 7.27 points off at 1,698.13.

London: Report, page 32.