Business and City in Brief

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Japanese brokers to cut dividends

Nomura and Yamaichi, two of Japan's big four stockbrokers, said they would cut their dividends for the financial year that ended last month.

Nomura, which expects to break even in the year after a Y44.1bn (pounds 26m) profit in the previous year, will cut its dividend from Y15 to Y10. Yamaichi, which has forecast a loss of Y39bn, will reduce the payout from Y10 to Y5.

More start-ups

Small business start-ups have increased for the first time since September 1991, according to National Westminster Bank. A 6 per cent rise was spread across England and Wales, with 95,000 new businesses beginning to trade in the three months to 31 March 1993.

Naval contract

Serco Group, the international management contractor, said a consortium in which it has a stake had won a dollars 160m management, operations and support contract for a US naval facility on the island of Diego Garcia.

Compensation offered

Former clients of the independent adviser Waverley Fund Management can now apply for compensation under the Financial Services Act. Waverley, which had offices in Edinburgh and London, was suspended by the regulator Fimbra in April 1992. Investors seeking to share in the payout should contact the Investors Compensation Scheme, Gavrelle House, 2-14 Bunhill Row, London EC1Y 8RA.

BT share managers

Nomura Securities, Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan, Salomon Brothers and Swiss Bank Corporation are among the 20 firms selected as regional managers for the sale of the third tranche of British Telecommunications shares by the Government. Goldman Sachs, which was a surprise omission from the list of global managers, has also failed to make it on to the regional list.

Plea to Guinness

Trade unions representing British, Irish and Spanish employees of Guinness called on the drinks group to set up a European works council, providing a forum for pan- European union co-operation. The council would not negotiate wages but could raise issues with management.

Pirelli axes jobs

Pirelli, the Italian tyre manufacturer, is to cut about 700 jobs at its head office in Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, over the next six months.

Spanish pay rise

Average total pay rose 7.5 per cent in Spain last year after a 7.6 per cent rise the year before, the economy ministry said.

Costain sale

Costain has completed the sale of its Australian coal business to Hanson, which was delayed by legal action in the US courts. The consideration is dollars 200m (pounds 134m) in cash and a net asset adjustment of dollars 34m. Hanson will also assume Adollars 83.4m (pounds 40.7m) of debt.

Senior's German deal

Senior Engineering is buying Polenz, a Hamburg air conditioning group, for an initial DM10.6m (pounds 4.26m)

World markets

New York: Prices came off early lows in active trade on short-covering spurred by program buying in the futures market. By the close the Dow Jones was down 15.40 points at 3,413.77.

Tokyo: Futures-driven technical trading took the Nikkei average up 112.84 points to 19,704.15.

Hong Kong: Cautious trade, as investors awaited the outcome of the Sino-British talks on the colony's future, saw the Hang Seng index ease 8.3 points to 6,750.94.

Sydney: Light profit-taking outweighed gains by gold shares and the All Ordinaries index slipped 2.8 points to 1,702.6.

Paris: A session interrupted by technical problems ended with the still-sliding CAC-40 index 27.88 points weaker at 1,916.58.

Frankfurt: In thin trade the DAX index fell 9.64 points to 1,657.1.

Zurich: Prices fell in featureless trade, with the Swiss Performance Index down 7.68 points at 1,337.86.

Milan: Discount rate cuts and hopes of a new Italian government this weekend helped the MIB to 1,175, a gain of 0.69 per cent.