Business and City in Brief

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LAWRENCE TO HEAD STOCK EXCHANGE

The London Stock will today announce the appointment of Michael Lawrence, finance director of Prudential Corporation, as its new chief executive. The exchange has been trying to fill the post since Peter Rawlins resigned in March, following the collapse of the Taurus share settlement project.

It had been thought the position might go to Jane Barker, the exchange's finance director, but she declined to be a candidate.

MPs' AEROSPACE ANGER

MPs on the cross-party Trade and Industry Select Committee reacted angrily yesterday to the Government's refusal to help to fund a pounds 1bn increase in aerospace research over the next decade. They said the Department of Trade and Industry's response to the proposal, in a report by the MPs last July, had been 'deficient and disappointing'.

US PRICES SUBDUED

Further evidence of subdued US inflation emerged yesterday when much of a 0.4 per cent rise in October consumer prices was put down to a rise in petrol taxes. Analysts doubted that the US Federal Reserve was about to raise interest rates.

LITHO RAISES POUNDS 14m

Litho Supplies, Britain's largest independent distribution and service group for printing and graphic arts, is raising about pounds 14.2m by way of a placing. Some pounds 7.3m will be used to redeem preference shares and pounds 4m will be used to repay mezzanine debt. The balance will be used to repay other group debt.

NEWS SERVICE

ICV, which bought the Market- Eye real-time information service for private investors from the Stock Exchange in August, is launching a news and company announcements service on Market-Eye on 10 January 1994.

COMPANY SALES UP

Divestments by UK companies during the first nine months of 1993 reached their highest levels for three years, according to Acquisitions Monthly. During that period 388 businesses were sold for a total of pounds 6.6bn.

OPEC WORRIES

Opec member countries are concerned by the collapse in oil prices to their lowest levels since June 1990, and are considering measures to stem the decline, Jean Ping, the organisation's president, said. London December futures for the world benchmark Brent blend of crude oil fell to dollars 15.40 per barrel. Mr Ping, Gabon's oil minister, said Opec members were sticking to new production quotas set from 1 October but non-Opec countries such as Britain and Norway were continuing to over-produce.

Clouds over Riyadh, page 41

APPLE POWERS AHEAD

Apple said sales of its PowerBook notebook computers had topped the million mark.

WORLD MARKETS

NEW YORK: A rally in high-technology stocks and renewed buying in economically sensitive cyclical shares lifted the Dow Jones Average by 23.48 to 3,663.55.

TOKYO: Prices ended a volatile session flat, with the Nikkei average four points easier at 18,121.71.

HONG KONG: Strong buying on reports that China is willing to give ground over the colony's future carried the Hang Seng index up 236.97 points to 9,325.44.

SYDNEY: In a continuing correction after recent gains the All Ordinaries lost 7.9 to 2,042.9.

BOMBAY: Speculative buying lifted the index 25.63 to 2,784.07.

JOHANNESBURG: Wiping out early declines, gold and industrials both made headway. The overall index rose 25 points to 4,022.

PARIS: A 25.56-point fall took the CAC-40 index down to 2,087.33.

FRANKFURT: The DAX index edged up 1.01 points to 2,023.84.

ZURICH: Prices closed firmer, with the SPI up 6.37 at 1,726.25.

ISTANBUL: Shares regained nearly half of Tuesday's heavy loss. The index added 156.9 to 14,871.5.

LONDON: Report, page 40.

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