Business and City in Brief

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DOW JONES SOARS

to a record New York's Dow Jones industrial average soared by 64.84 points yesterday to a record close of 3,469.42. The surge was driven by low interest rates, higher prices on international stock markets and Friday's positive jobs report for February, which indicated a strong recovery.

Cyclical stocks such as paper, chemicals, forest products, car and mineral companies, whose fortunes are tied closely to the economy, performed particularly well. Analysts said confidence was growing and shares were looking cheap.

RICH STEPS DOWN

Marc Rich, the fugitive American multi-millionaire, is stepping down as head of the US commodity company that bears his name and selling his majority share, the company said. Mr Rich, 58, fled the US for Switzerland after he was indicted by a federal grand jury in New York in 1983 on charges of tax evasion, racketeering and participating in illegal oil deals with Iran.

OIL GLUT THEORY

A surge of Russian exports to the West was an important factor in the decline in crude oil prices between November and early January, the International Energy Agency said.

AGENCY FOR SALE

Bristol & West, the tenth-largest building society, is to sell 40 per cent of its estate agency chain. It will retain 34 of the 104 Hamptons branches and 27 of 50 mass-market estate agency branches. It hopes to sell the rest in one deal.

PIA OPPOSED

One in two MPs want statutory regulation of the financial services industry instead of the continuation of self-regulation under the proposed Personal Investment Authority, according to a survey conducted for IFA Promotion, a body that backs independent financial advisers.

HIGH SOCIETY

Alliance & Leicester, the fourth-largest building society, saw pre-tax profits rise 23 per cent to pounds 122.5m last year. Provisions fell slightly to pounds 203.6m.

MOTORING AHEAD

Motor Panels, a unit of Mayflower Corporation, said it won a dollars 300m contract from Ford Motor for a new development and component manufacturing programme.

M&G TEAMS UP

M&G Group and Dreyfus Corporation of America are to offer international equity and fixed-income management to US clients. Dreyfus will launch two international mutual funds to be managed by M&G.

INTRUM PAY-OFF

Intrum Justitia, the listed debt- collector, paid about pounds 350,000 in compensation to Gert van Laar, chief executive until a dispute last November.

TURNER EXPANDS

(First Edition)

Turner Broadcasting System will launch a 24-hour entertainment service broadcasting cartoons and films to Europe from September 1993.

BANKS CLEARED

(First Edition)

Germany's cartel office said it had ended an investigation of leading banks that focused on alleged abuse of dominant market positions to keep interest rates on ordinary savings accounts low.

14% LESS STEEL

(First Edition)

German crude steel production was 2.95 million tonnes in February, down 14.3 per cent from the same month a year earlier. Steel output in February was 6.4 per cent up on January.

WORLD MARKETS

TOKYO: Japanese shares surged on technical factors. The Nikkei average climbed 868.77 points to 17,686.47.

SYDNEY: Shares recovered from earlier declines, with sentiment mixed ahead of next Saturday's general election. The All Ordinaries index closed 3.5 points higher at 1,612.1.

HONG KONG: The Hang Seng index fell 20.65 points on profit- taking, closing at 6,482.16.

MILAN: Share prices fell on political worries. The MIB index closed 1.44 per cent lower at 1,165.

FRANKFURT: Shares closed firmer in thin trading. The DAX index gained 12 points to 1,694.82.

PARIS: French shares rose amid intense speculation that the Bundesbank will cut interest rates at next week's council meeting. The CAC-40 index closed 9.14 points higher at 2,004.26.

LONDON: Report, page 25.

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