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XEROX WIELDS AXE ON FURTHER 10,000

Xerox Corporation is to make 10,000 employees - about 10 per cent of its worldwide workforce - redundant, half of them in the coming year. The move accelerates a general cost-cutting under way at the otherwise profitable firm. It has shed about 4,300 jobs since the beginning of 1992.

Xerox will take a charge of dollars 700m in the final quarter to cover the cost of the lay-offs in its core document-processing division, almost matching the dollars 778m charge in the last quarter of 1992.

PEABODY PEACE PACT

Hanson, owner of Peabody, the largest coal producer in the US, said a tentative agreement had been reached between US miners and mine operators. The deal must be voted on by union members. If approved, miners could be back at work early next year. The strike cost Hanson pounds 125m in the year to September.

US PRODUCTIVITY UP

Non-farm business productivity in the US increased 4.3 per cent year-on-year in the third quarter, slightly higher than initial estimates of 3.9 per cent, the Labor Department said. Productivity fell 0.4 per cent in the second quarter and 1.8 per cent in the first.

ALLIED-LYONS SWAP

Allied-Lyons has become only the second international drinks group to own an Irish whiskey brand. It has swapped its Royal Canadian whisky for Tullamore Dew, owned by Irish Distillers, which is part of Pernod Ricard of France.

OPEC LIFTS OUTPUT

Opec crude oil output rose to 24.77 million barrels per day in November from 24.65 million in October, the International Energy Agency said.

BARCLAYS MORTGAGE CUT

Barclays cut its standard mortgage rate for new and existing borrowers by 0.25 per cent to 7.74 per cent. The new rate will be effective for new borrowers immediately and from 1 January for existing borrowers.

18m POUNDS S&N SALE

Smith & Nephew said it agreed to sell its UK ophthalmic solutions business, including Minims delivery systems, to Laboratoire Chauvin for pounds 18m.

FRENCH FRANC LEAPS

The French franc jumped to a high of 3.4232 against the mark after breaking the psychological barrier of 3.43. Dealers said the rise followed signs of progress in world trade talks.

AIRTOURS ACQUISITION

Airtours has acquired Tradewinds, the Chester-based long-haul operator based in Chester, from International Travel Connections for pounds 250,000 cash.

WORLD MARKETS

NEW YORK: Late buying of blue chips propelled the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a record high - the 28th this year - of 3,734.43, up 15.65.

TOKYO: Prices closed sharply lower on index-linked selling. The Nikkei 225 index shed 395.54 at 16,507.95.

HONG KONG: The Hang Seng index reached another record finish despite strong profit-taking, ending 13.66 better at 9,750.23.

SYDNEY: Prices closed broadly higher but off the day's highs after a late decline in futures. The All Ordinaries index was up 22.1 points at 2,096.0.

JOHANNESBURG: A surge in the bullion price coupled with a stock shortage drove the gold index 88 higher at 1,990.

FRANKFURT: Prices rose sharply in active trade. The DAX index closed 32.67 points firmer at an all-time high of 2,148.13 after peaking at 2,150.29.

ZURICH: Demand for blue chips lifted the SMI index 9 points to 2,843.8.

PARIS: Optimism over a Gatt settlement propelled the CAC-40 index 29.19 ahead at 2,205.31.

LONDON: Report, page 36.

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