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BZW Futures has been fined pounds 67,500 and four of its employees have been disciplined and fined by the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange for breaching the exchange's rules.

The four employees were found by a Liffe investigation to have either recorded trades executed for clients at less advantageous prices than clients were due, or to have recorded profits from trades in BZW's error account to clients' disadvantage. Less than pounds 5,000 was involved and no motive was established, BZW Futures said.


The Queens Moat Houses shareholders' action group is to be joined by a powerful voice - Sir Anthony Beaumont-Dark, the former Conservative MP and past master at getting publicity. Sir Anthony, a millionaire who owns 10,000 QMH preference shares, is to be an adviser and spokesman for the group. He is calling for a small shareholders' representative to join the QMH board.


Zeneca, the pharmacueticals group, is to sell Thoro System Products, a building products company, for dollars 65m as part of a strategy to exit from non-core markets.


Guinness will launch a pounds 1bn Euro-commercial paper programme next month. The funds will be used to refinance existing short-term borrowings.


A 0.3 per cent fall in French industrial production in September has raised questions over the health of the economy. A fall in the trade surplus to Fr2.93bn ( pounds 335m) in August from an upwardly revised surplus in July of Fr11.89bn was in line with expectations.


Bull, the troubled French computer maker, has asked Japan's NEC to increase its stake in the company from 4.4 per cent.


India is allowing foreign financial institutions to own shares in new private banks in order to inject greater efficiency into its state- dominated banking sector. They will be able to hold up to 20 per cent while expatriate Indians will be allowed up to 40 per cent.


British Aerospace yesterday disclosed that 23.97 per cent of its equity was held by overseas investors, against a limit of 29.5 per cent.


Romania's State Ownership Fund, which manages the bulk of some 6,000 state enterprises up for gradual privatisation, plans to sell its stake in 2,368 enterprises next year.


NEW YORK: Shares slipped early on but closed in the black on a wave of last minute computerised trades. The Dow Jones index closed at 3,694.01 up 8.67 points

TOKYO: Futures-linked selling dragged the Nikkei average down 225.13 points to 17,941.19.

HONG KONG: Sharply reduced turnover saw the Hang Seng index continue to decline, losing 71.49 points to 9,263.94.

SYDNEY: Widespread selling left the All Ordinaries index at 2,083.2, down 24.8 points and near its low for the day.

JOHANNESBURG: Both industrials and gold stocks held up ahead of the weekend. The overall index advanced 33 points to 4,239.

FRANKFURT: Thin trade dominated by technical factors lowered the DAX index 7.97 to 2,077.37.

PARIS: Shares lost a little ground, with the CAC-40 index closing 4.44 points lower at 2,145.2.

ZURICH: Underpinned by the stronger dollar in a market otherwise lacking direction, the Swiss Performance Index moved ahead 4.61 points to 1,732.56.

LONDON: Report, page 22.