Business and City in Brief

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The Independent Online
GATT AGREEMENT 'STILL POSSIBLE'

Sir Leon Brittan, EC external relations commissioner, said that although the Gatt negotiations were 'into injury time' an agreement within the current timetable was still possible.

He spoke as the Trade Negotiations Committee, Gatt's top policy group, met in Geneva to review issues holding up signature of the Uruguay round.

TRUCK DOWNTURN

European truck sales will continue to decline for the next two years, falling by 15-20 per cent this year and 5-10 per cent next, a report by Euromotor and Ludvigsen Associates says.

OUT OF FOCUS

Eastman Kodak is to cut 2,000 jobs as part of a restructuring. Most of the job losses will be in Rochester, New York.

POWER POSER

London Electricity has asked Professor Stephen Littlechild, Director-General of Electricity Supply, to rule on new transmission charges introduced by the National Grid from 1 April.

SHELL PROJECT

Royal Dutch-Shell is to invest more than dollars 2bn upgrading its 375,000 barrels-a-day crude throughput refinery at Pernis in the Netherlands.

BONUS CHANGES

Royal Life Insurance has declared bonuses for 1993 for with-profits policies, which mean that returns on 10-year endowment policies are down by 8.9 per cent compared with last year. However, 25-year policy payouts rise by 1 per cent. The return on a 10-year personal pension comes down by 10.8 per cent.

ROUBLE TROUBLE

Russian banks dumped billions of roubles at the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange yesterday, plunging the currency to a new low of 474.5 to the dollar.

SETTLEMENT NEAR

Eagle Star confirmed it is near settlement of its dispute with Banque Bruxelles Lambert over its insurance of nearly pounds 300m of property loans. After reinsurance recoveries the settlement is expected to cost Eagle Star not more than pounds 50m, covered by existing provisions.

LILLEY SALES

Receivers to Lilley, the failed construction group, have sold Lilley Construction (Scotland) to Sunley Turriff, a Lonrho subsidiary, and Henry Jones Construction and Eden Construction to Kier Group.

DILLER DECIDES

Barry Diller, ending months of speculation after leaving Rupert Murdoch's Fox television channel, has become chairman of the cable shopping channel QVC Network.

WORLD MARKETS

New York: The market gyrated in tandem with the shares of IBM. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 18.92 points down at 3,255.99.

Tokyo: Rises in moderate trade gave the Nikkei index - up 181.4 at 16,798.64 - its first two consecutive gains this year.

Hong Kong: Continued buying by foreign institutions helped the Hang Seng index to close at 5,897.9, a 15.88-point gain.

Sydney: Bargain-hunters clawed back some early losses to leave the All Ordinaries index 9.7 points lower at 1,519.1.

Bombay: Profit-taking ahead of Friday's settlement lowered the index 40.93 to 2,545.12.

Johannesburg: A correction after recent strength clipped 33 points off the index to 3,382.

Frankfurt: The DAX index firmed 5.7 points to 1,578.83.

Paris: Prices recovered from early profit-taking to close little changed. The CAC-40 edged up 0.2 of a point to 1,837.74.

Milan: The MIB added six points to 1,078 in active trade.

London: Report, page 27.

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