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The Independent Online
Contractors' tender prices going up

Tender prices in the British construction industry will rise 2.8 per cent in 1994 as input cost pressures force contractors to mark them up, says the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

They were flat last year but material input prices rose 5.1 per cent, squeezing contractors' margins. The RICS said a lack of faith in the strength and duration of the economic recovery was holding back confidence.

Loans for Mexico

International banks will lend money to Mexico for the first time in 12 years, providing the state oil company Pemex with dollars 1.1bn. The loans, underwritten by JP Morgan, Bank of America and the Industrial Bank of Japan, mark the first lending by large banks to Mexico since 1982, when the country defaulted on dollars 80bn worth of sovereign debt.

Cortecs placing

Cortecs International, a firm that develops drug delivery systems, is seeking to raise about pounds 15m through a placing on the British stock market. Cortecs, based at Isleworth, west London, is valued at about pounds 40m through its existing listings in Australia and the US.

Tax protest

Clause 241 of the Finance Bill gives the Inland Revenue almost unlimited access to every client file held by a tax adviser and MPs should vote to reject it, the Institute of Taxation says.

Capital price

Capital Shopping Centres confirmed that the placing and open offer of its shares will be priced at 230p. Of 91 million shares being issued, 31.9 million are being offered to the public with the rest placed with institutions.

Tarmac shake-up

Tarmac is to reorganise its US operations into three product- based divisions rather than the present regional structure. Overheads should fall by 20 per cent and a dollars 100m capital expenditure programme is planned.

Fledgeling flies

Fleming European Fledgeling Investment Trust is seeking to raise up to an additional pounds 50m through an issue of shares. The pounds 40m fund, which has already placed a further pounds 10.5m of stock with institutions, invests in smaller European companies. Fefit believes economic conditions in Europe make possible a large recovery in corporate profits and stock market values.

Power freeze

Eastern Electricity is freezing prices for domestic customers from 1 April, following the trend in the electricity sector as a whole. The company said that since privatisation in 1990 average domestic bills had fallen by 9.3 per cent in real terms.

WORLD MARKETS

New York: A bout of last-minute selling wiped out earlier gains, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing 1.44 points down at 3,848.15.

Tokyo: Support from foreign investors helped the Nikkei average to add 168.92 to 20,677.77.

Hong Kong: Mild profit-taking lowered the Hang Seng index 142.95 points to 9,720.61.

Sydney: A strong rebound in the bond market failed to carry over into share prices. The All Ordinaries rose one point to 2,173.5.

Bombay: With trade still minimal, the index gained 37.36 points to close at 3,795.64.

Johannesburg: Gold shares were buoyed by the bullion price, but other sectors eased. The overall index fell 53 points to 5,202.

Paris: Profit-taking after recent sharp gains left the CAC-40 index 15.81 weaker at 2,242.71.

Frankfurt: A rally sparked by the repo rate cut ran out of steam, leaving the DAX index 7.14 points higher at 2,172.73.

Zurich: Slow trade ahead of today's Bundesbank meeting lowered the SPI 11.82 to 1,849.31.

Milan: The account ended with prices easier in cautious trade.

London: Report, page 40.

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