Business and City in Brief

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The Independent Online
LARGEST INVESTMENT TRUST LAUNCHED

Julian Baring, the City mining guru, has engineered the largest UK investment trust launch. The Mercury World Mining Trust has raised more than pounds 425m.

A total of 380 million shares with warrants attached were placed with institutional and other investors. The applications for 45.8 million shares with warrants applied for under the offer for subscription have been satisfied in full.

View from City Road, page 30

US CORE RATES JUMP

US producer prices were unchanged in November but the core rate, excluding volatile food and energy prices, jumped 0.4 per cent because of higher prices for passenger cars.

150,000 POUNDS PAY LAGGARDS

Chief executives in the UK received an average of pounds 150,000 in salary and bonuses last year, making them 17th out of 19 in a worldwide survey by Towers Perrin. Chief executives in the US received most, with an average total cash payment of pounds 283,000.

MORE BAA PASSENGERS

BAA's seven airports handled 5.6 million passengers in November, up 4.2 per cent on the same month last year.

HISCOX RAISES POUNDS 11m

Hiscox Dedicated Insurance Fund, a Lloyd's investment company that will underwrite only on the four syndicates managed by the Hiscox Group, has raised pounds 11.2m.

GERMAN PRICES RISE

West German consumer prices rose 0.2 per cent in November from October and were up 3.6 per cent year-on-year.

DTI AUDIT REVIEW

The Department of Trade and Industry has launched a review of the supervisory bodies for company auditors. The review was specified in the Companies Act 1989, which recognised five accountancy bodies as supervisors.

SOMERS BAKER INQUIRY

The executive counsel of the chartered accountants' joint disciplinary scheme is to investigate the 'professional and business conduct, efficiency and competence' of Somers Baker, the firm that audited War on Want, the charity that collapsed in 1990. Earlier this year, the charity, which has since been turned round, received pounds 300,000 in an out-of-court settlement with the firm.

WORLD MARKETS

NEW YORK: Profit-taking in blue chips ended the market's record- breaking run, leaving the Dow Jones Average off 4.75 points at 3,729.78 by the close.

TOKYO: Bargain-hunting on hopes of tax measures to boost the economy lifted the Nikkei 225 index 553.96 to 17,061.91.

HONG KONG: Foreign buying sent the Hang Seng index streaking to a record 9,990.26, up 240.03.

SYDNEY: The All Ordinaries index eased 0.3 to 2,095.7 on weakness in News Corp.

JOHANNESBURG: Shrugging off profit-taking, the gold index leapt 75 to 2,064 while the overall index gained 101 to a new closing high of 4,491.

ZURICH: The strong Swiss franc helped the SMI index advance 14.6 to a record 2,858.

FRANKFURT: Late selling eroded strong earlier gains, leaving the DAX index 27.67 better at 2,175.80.

MILAN: Renewed confidence in the political situation boosted the Mibtel index 208 to 10,286.

PARIS: Hopes of further rate cuts lifted the CAC-40 index 6.6 at 2,211.37.

LONDON: Report, page 30.

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