Business and City in Brief

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The Independent Online
Records tumble at the Exchange

The London Stock Exchange's trading markets surpassed the records set in 1987, said Michael Lawrence, chief executive.

The annual report and accounts show total domestic equity turnover up 29 per cent at pounds 612bn, while turnover in foreign equities set another record by rising 83 per cent to pounds 671bn.

Fifth channel delay

A long-awaited decision on the future of a proposed fifth terrestrial television channel in Britain may not come this week as expected, a spokesman for the Department of National Heritage said. That is likely to set an already drawn-out process back another month. The Independent Television Commission, which will choose a Channel 5 licence-holder if the Government gives the go-ahead, holds a board meeting on Thursday. It does not meet again until July.

Guardian seeks review

The Guardian Media Group is seeking leave to apply for judicial review of the Radio Authority's decision to grant outline approval to Emap for a special scheme under which radio licences held through a specially created 'off-balance sheet' subsidiary would not count for the purposes of rules limiting the maximum number of licences that may be held by any one group.

Broker backs Lasmo

One of the few UK stockbrokers not linked to either Enterprise Oil or Lasmo has come out against the former's bid for the later. Kleinwort Benson says stay with the Lasmo for its recovery potential.

Bury this offer

Great Southern, the funeral company, said the offer document from Service Corporation International of the US contained no information and continued to urge shareholders not to accept the pounds 87m takeover bid.

Pleading guilty

Due to technical problems the London Stock Exchange was unable to produce closing British fund prices. Gilt prices on the shares page are for Monday.

VAT waste

Large UK companies are wasting money by paying VAT unnecessarily or at the wrong rate, according to Ernst & Young, the accountants. The firm said that, since planning could at least help cash flow, 'companies' lack of impetus to minimise VAT bills is extremely worrying'.

East Midlands

East Midlands Electricity's pre- tax profits fell from pounds 155m to pounds 51.2m last year, not as stated in yesterday's edition.

World Markets

New York: Weak bonds again hit shares and circuit-breakers were called into play. By the close the Dow Jones average was 33.93 points off at 3,707.97.

Tokyo: Exporters led the market lower amid growing concern over the strong yen. The Nikkei average lost 338.87 to 20,813.16.

Hong Kong: The continued weakness on Wall Street helped to send the Hang Seng index 140.4 points lower to 8,857.78.

Sydney: Declines in the bond market drove the All Ordinaries down 30.8 points to 1,993.6.

Bombay: Closed (holiday).

Johannesburg: Gold shares posted gains on bullion's strength but industrials eased. The overall index added nine points to 5,721.

Paris: After recording a small advance in early trade the CAC-40 index fell back to close 12.26 points weaker at 1,890.78.

Frankfurt: The DAX moved up 14.45 to 1,983.27 in nervous trade.

Zurich: Wall Street's early losses put the brakes on a rally and left the Swiss Performance Index just 0.43 of a point easier at 1,690.06.

London: Report, page 22.