Business and City in Brief

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M&S to accept debit cards

Marks & Spencer is to accept debit cards. Switch and Visa Delta cards will be taken by all stores from next October although M&S will continue to refuse credit cards.

Keith Oates, managing director of M&S, said: 'There have always been concerns over the cost of bank charges. However, we have now sucessfully concluded lengthy negotiations with the banks.'

South West appeal

South West Water has formally lodged an appeal to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission over Ofwat's price review in July. South West had protested that its price cap was too harsh and would stop it meeting its investment obligations.

Mortgage rates up

Cheltenham & Gloucester Building Society has increased its mortgage rate to 8.1 per cent from 1 October. Bristol & West moves to 8.14 per cent from 10 October.

US deficit

The United States had a budget deficit of dollars 24.17bn last month, compared with a deficit in July of dollars 33.2bn and dollars 23.08bn a year earlier, the Treasury Department said.

LVMH bubbles

LVMH, the French luxury goods group which has a 24 per cent stake in Guinness, lifted net profits 36 per cent to Fr1.27bn ( pounds 152m) in the six months to June. Much of the growth was attributable to a recovery in champagne and wines sales through its Moet Hennessy subsidiary, which is 34 per cent owned by Guinness.

Guinness results, page 33

Cadbury director

David Kappler is to take over as finance director of Cadbury Schweppes in March when David Jinks retires after 32 years with the company.

Telecom communique

A meeting of 49 world telecommunications ministers in Kyoto, Japan, was dominated by Third World complaints of being left behind on the information superhighway. The meeting issued a communique saying nations were committed to global telecommunications but leaving unresolved how to cope with competition and how to bridge the gap between developed and Third World countries.

NBC deal close

The Walt Disney Company is reportedly nearing an agreement to buy NBC, one of America's four broadcast TV networks, from General Electric. Reports said that the final price - between dollars 4bn and dollars 5bn - was the only remaining obstacle to a sale.

Sale date

The Government will announce the date of the sale of its remaining 40 per cent stakes in National Power and PowerGen next Thursday.

World Markets

New York: In active trading shares lost opening gains and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 14.47 points in arrears at 3,837.13.

Tokyo: Corporate selling ahead of half year book closing took the Nikkei down 51.71 to 19,833.67.

Hong Kong: Fears of a US interest rate rise had the Hang Seng tumbling 156.61 to 9,668.14.

Sydney: Stronger futures helped the All Ordinaries index to edge up 1.6 points to 2,028.2.

Bombay: Lack of buying support saw the index surrender 55.33 points to 4,451.78.

Johannesburg: Disappointment at gold's failure to follow through lowered the overall index 28 points to 5,754.

Paris: Continuing uncertainty about the interest rate outlook restricted the gain by the CAC-40 index to 2.19 points at 1,899.37.

Frankfurt: Mild selling by foreign investors took 6.47 off the DAX index, closing at 2,073.03.

Zurich: Gains in selected blue chips lifted the Swiss Performance Index 6.11 to 1,725.02.

London: Report, page 34.