Business and City In Brief

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Liffe ends talks on Chicago link

The London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade suspended discussions on a possible clearing and trading link.

Liffe said the talks were halted because of failure to agree terms that would mutually benefit members of both exchanges, and on the products to be included, style of clearing and trading hours.

Bowater buy cleared

The Department of Trade and Industry cleared the dollars 434m takeover by Bowater, the packaging group, of Speciality Coatings of the US.

Balladur bond a hit

Investors queued outside French banks and post offices for the government's new Balladur bond on the first day of official sales. The issue, which offers attractive tax breaks, is expected to raise Fr40bn (pounds 4.74bn) to fund new jobs.

India sacks bank chief

The head of State Bank of India, the largest commercial bank, was sacked for his alleged role in a dollars 1.28bn securities scandal. The Finance Ministry said V Mahadevan had been dismissed with immediate effect, but gave no reasons.

Philips German losses

Philips Kommunikations, the German unit of Philips Electronics, expects to report a loss on lower sales this year. Sales fell 20 per cent in the first half, while orders plunged 36 per cent in the first quarter.

EC extends air pact

The EC extended for five more years an agreement enabling airlines to co-operate in schedules, fares and airport space. The move will also make it easier for carriers to share the risks of operating routes used by fewer than 30,000 passengers a year.

Arnault buys Kenzo

Bernard Arnault, head of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, acquired control of Kenzo, the Japanese fashion house based in Paris, by buying out Kenzo Takada, its founder. Mr Arnault acquired a 25 per cent stake a month ago and has now bought the remaining 75 per cent for an undisclosed sum.

US home sales rise

Sales of existing single family homes in the US rose 4.6 per cent in May, after a revised 2.4 per cent increase in April. Sales of previously-owned single family homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.61 million units in May, up from 3.45 million in April.

Rentokil extends offer

Rentokil Group extended its pounds 59m offer for Securiguard to next Friday after failing to raise acceptances above the initial 1.35 per cent of the company on the third closing date on Thursday. Rentokil is offering Securiguard shareholders 270p a share in cash.

Aegon green light

The European Commission approved the acquisition of Scottish Equitable by Dutch Aegon and Scottish Equitable Policy Holders Trust 'in view of the small degree of overlap and limited conglomerative effect'.

World Markets

New York: In moderate trading shares turned in a mixed performance. By the close the Dow Jones Average had edged forward 0.28 points to 3,490.89.

Tokyo: With most investors sidelined before tomorrow's municipal elections in the capital, the Nikkei average eased 25.5 to 19,659.57.

Hong Kong: Heavy early losses were trimmed as China and Britain agreed to hold another round of talks. The Hang Seng index ended 48.56 points lighter at 7,014.08.

Sydney: Strength in BHP offset weakness in some other blue chips to leave the All Ordinaries index just 0.7 firmer at 1,700.4.

Johannesburg: With gold shares at a month's high, the overall index climbed 28 points to 4,055.

Frankfurt: Quiet trade ahead of the weekend Bundesbank council meeting took the DAX index up 8.95 points to 1,695.24.

Paris: In a directionless market the CAC-40 index fell 2.64 to 1,960.84.

Milan: Olivetti continued its strong performance, accounting for a large proportion of business. The MIB ended unchanged at 1,179.

London: Report, page 19.