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Fisons said it believed allegations that it had breached the industry code of practice on promoting drugs to general practitioners were limited to a small number of sales staff. The group, whose shares closed 6p down at 147p in a weaker market, has launched an internal investigation that it said was focused on seven staff and a manager in the West Midlands.

An investigation was also opened by the watchdog Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority. David Massam, director, said the code stated that only moderate hospitality could be offered to doctors.


New car registrations in the European Union and the European free trade countries fell by 13.9 per cent in October to 915,510 from 1.06 million a year earlier, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association said.


World airline passenger traffic rose 6 per cent in the nine months to September from a year earlier, the International Air Transport Association said. Freight traffic was up 9 per cent year on year.


Carnaud Metalbox said sales fell to Fr18.62m ( pounds 2.13m) in the first nine months of the year from Fr19.45m a year earlier. The company said that, excluding the impact of exchange rate changes, sales rose 1.5 per cent, helped by a 3.5 per cent contribution from recent acquisitions.


Lufthansa, the German airline, reported third-quarter pre-tax profits of DM145m ( pounds 58m) against DM24m in the second quarter. The operating loss in the first nine months was more than halved compared with 1992, mainly due to rationalisation.


The French government is appointing new chairmen to prepare Credit Lyonnais, the banking group, and the insurer Union des Assurances de Paris for privatisation. A Credit Lyonnais spokesman said the board met yesterday to propose Jean Peyrelevade, UAP chairman, as its new head. The decision will be approved at a cabinet meeting tomorrow.


Ferruzzi Finanziaria said it was seeking shareholder approval for a legal action against the accountants Price Waterhouse over allegations that they failed to spot hidden losses in the troubled Italian group's balance sheet. PW strongly rejected any liability. 'Auditors cannot be made responsible for acts of bad management perpetrated by directors with fraud and malice aimed at deliberately evading checks,' a PW spokesman said.


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Hans-Jurgen Krupp, an economics professor and Social Democrat politician, has been nominated by the German parliament as president of the regional central bank for the states of Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. The appointment, which has to be confirmed by the German president, would give Mr Krupp a seat on the Bundesbank's policymaking council.


NEW YORK: Treasury comments that there was no need for any 'major' interest rate rise lifted the Dow Jones 4.47 points to 3,647.90 by the close.

TOKYO: Shares recovered from early lows to end with the Nikkei average 34.7 firmer at 18,625.16.

HONG KONG: Turning upwards after three sessions of heavy losses, the Hang Seng pulled back 181.02 points to 9,177.95.

SYDNEY: Continued profit-taking dragged the All Ordinaries index down 25.7 points to 2,054.2.

BOMBAY: Heavy buying by foreign investors took the index 54.2 points higher to 2,718.92.

JOHANNESBURG: Gold stocks closed unchanged, but strength in industrials helped the overall index to 4,020, a 16-point rise.

PARIS: The market stablilised after last week's losses, with the CAC-40 up 3.78 at 2,084.79.

FRANKFURT: After late profit-taking the DAX index closed 1.75 points easier at 2,010.81.

ZURICH: Shares closed firmer but off their highs, with the SPI 11.89 points to the good at 1,692.81.

MILAN: Prices ended slightly higher, but activity was concentrated in a few issues.

LONDON: Report, page 34.