Business and City in Brief

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ONE-DAY STRIKE PLANNED AT TSB

A one-day national strike at TSB is scheduled for Friday, according to Bifu, the banking union. But it said progress in talks tomorrow at Acas, the conciliation service, could head off the action.

Bifu said TSB was threatening to cut 1,000 jobs over four weeks, making compulsory redundancies 'almost inevitable'. The bank has shed 5,000 jobs in the past three years.

COOK STAKE LIFTED

Westdeutsche Landesbank, the German bank, has paid pounds 152m to lift its stake in Thomas Cook Travel from 10 to 86 per cent. WestLB bought the stake from LTU, the German travel company, which offered the bank the option when it paid Midland Bank pounds 200m for Thomas Cook last July.

CITICORP SETTLES

Quotron, the financial information subsidiary of Citicorp, has sold its European equities data distribution network to the rival Automatic Data Processing as part of a settlement of a copyright infringement suit.

SELLING HITS GOLD

Heavy selling by producers and Middle East speculators pushed gold to a seven-year low of dollars 328.50 in London.

OIL PRICE SLIPS

The price of oil fell sharply yesterday as mild weather in the US and reports that Opec quota productions were being exceeded triggered a wave of selling in futures markets. In London, North Sea Brent shed 50c a barrel to dollars 17.79, down from almost dollars 21 in mid-October.

FOCUS ON JOBS

Focus, the Crewe-based home improvement stores chain, plans to create 500 jobs this year by opening 12 new outlets.

SHARES SUSPENDED

The shares of the troubled Swiss Volksbank were suspended on the Zurich exchange ahead of a 'positive' announcement tomorrow.

BARCLAYS SALE

Barclays has sold its shareholding in Barclays Discount Bank, its Israeli associate, to CP Holdings, a private company controlled by the UK- based businessman Bernard Schreier. The bank's net asset value is pounds 67m.

BOWATER DEAL

Rexham, a US subsidiary of Bowater, has exercised an option to buy the remaining 44 per cent shareholding in MiTek, manufacturer of builders' hardware, for dollars 55m ( pounds 36m) cash.

MMB, RIP

The Milk Marketing Board is to change its name to Milk Marque when it converts from a statutory monopoly to a voluntary co-operative.

ALLIED-LYONS BUY

(First Edition)

Baskin-Robbins International, a US division of Allied-Lyons, bought nearly 200 Baskin-Robbins Canadian stores from Silcorp for an undisclosed sum.

SENIOR SELLS

(First Edition)

Senior Engineering has sold Senior Davis Derby, its mining equipment company, to Communication and Control Engineering.

WORLD MARKETS

NEW YORK: Weak second-line shares hindered progress, but by the close the Dow Jones Average had gained 8.11 points to 3,309.22.

TOKYO: Late index-linked buying enabled the Nikkei average to close 69.13 up at 16,994.08.

HONG KONG: Fresh Sino-British tension over the colony's future pulled the Hang Seng index down 74.59 points to 5,437.8.

SYDNEY: The market surged higher on the back of strong gains by BHP. The All Ordinaries was 10.6 firmer at 1,560.5.

BOMBAY: Operators greeted the first trading session for 10 days with heavy selling, leaving the index 75.7 off at 2,539.67.

JOHANNESBURG: Gold shares fell in otherwise featureless trade. The overall index ended the day seven points down at 3,252.

FRANKFURT: Consolidating recent gains, the DAX index slipped 13.72 points to 1,531.33.

MILAN: Banks due for privatisation recorded strong gains. The MIB, due to be reset at 1,000 today, climbed 11 points to 895.

LONDON: Report, page 21.

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