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House prices edge up again

House prices rose by just 0.1 per cent in September but are still 0.7 per cent lower than a year ago, according to Halifax Building Society. The monthly rise is after taking seasonal factors into account. During the month house prices actually fell by 0.3 per cent.

Prices have remained virtually unchanged since June and are back to their August 1993 level after peaking briefly in February and March.

Gas link-up

Gazprom, Russia's gas company, is to join British Gas and Agip of Italy in developing the huge Karachaganak gas field in Kazakhstan, according to a Kazakh official. British Gas said negotiations were continuing and reports of any outcome were speculative.

Mining deal

Hanson's US mining subsidiary, Peabody, has bought two Wyoming coal mines together with related assets from Exxon for pounds 230m.

C&W chosen

A consortium that includes Cable & Wireless has been chosen to operate France's third mobile telephone network. The Bouygues-led consortium has been granted a 15-year licence.

Reserves up

Britain's official reserves rose by an underlying dollars 16m in September to stand at dollars 43.476bn.

Cuts planned

American Express may cut 4,800 jobs and dollars 500m in operating costs in its card and travel business. It said the company would make the changes over the next two years in response to heated competition in the credit card industry.

TSB mergers

TSB plans to merge 200 of its 1,200 branches in 1995, with the possible loss of 30 junior managers. The bank merged 100 branches last year with no redundancies and says there will be no sackings for permanent clerical staff next year.

Lucas order

Lucas Industries has won a big order from Peugeot Citroen for its advanced electronic diesel fuelling system, Epic, which cuts down on emissions. Analysts estimated the contract to be worth tens of millions of pounds over the next three to four years.

Modest Soros profit

George Soros, the fund manager, said his flagship Quantum Fund, which achieved 63 per cent growth in 1993, had made only a modest profit so far this year. The fund, which lost dollars 600m in February after making a wrong bet on Japanese financial markets, has been long on the Japanese yen for some time, he said. It currently has more than dollars 10bn under management.

WORLD MARKETS

New York: Prices tumbled in the final hour of trading on renewed fears the Federal Reserve will be forced to raise interest rates for a sixth time this year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 45.76 points down at 3,801.13.

Tokyo: Weakening futures prices triggered sporadic selling, taking the Nikkei average down 81.42 points to 19,568.61.

Hong Kong: A featureless session left the Hang Seng index 11.63 to the good at 9,504.12.

Sydney: Amid mounting concern over rising interest rates the All Ordinaries closed at a 21 2 - month low of 1,998, a loss of 32.9.

Johannesburg: The drift in the gold price and a firm financial rand sent shares lower, with the overall index 18 off at 5,654.

Paris: In a technical rebound after Monday's losses the CAC-40 index gained 23.29 to 1,876.12.

Frankfurt: Bond market weakness brought a 16.8-point decline in the DAX index to 1,994.95.

Zurich: Attention focused on UBS and Swiss Re as the SPI improved 11.05 points to 1,675.01.

Milan: Shares ended weaker but came off earlier lows prompted by concern over the budget.

London: Report, page 26.

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