Business and City in Brief

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The Independent Online
Banks accused of collusion

High street banks were yesterday accused of colluding over introducing charges for customers in credit. The claim was made after reports that free banking may be phased out.

Nigel Griffiths, Labour spokesman on consumer affairs, called on the Office of Fair Trading to investigate, saying: 'The banks already earn interest on customers' money on current account which they do not pass on and, therefore, these charges are hard to justify. It appears as though there has been collusion to fix these charges.'

Boeing president

Boeing, the American aircraft manufacturer, has named Philip Condit as its president. Mr Condit is general manager of the company's 777 jet transport development project.

Baltica losses

Baltica, the Danish insurance and financial services group, plunged to a net loss of Dkr991m ( pounds 93m) for the six months to 30 June, after making provisions of Dkr650m for property and other losses. This compares with a profit of Dkr762m in the same period last year.

Chinese investors arrested for riot

(First Edition)

Twelve people have been arrested in China for rioting and inciting crowds to violence during stock market disturbances this month in Shenzhen, a southern boom town and model of economic reform.

Crowds of furious would-be investors rampaged through Shenzhen on August 10, overturning vehicles and confronting tear-gas firing police in a dispute over share allocations.

The riot was embarrassment for the Shenzhen stock exchange, one of only two bourses in a country just beginning an experiment with securities. China, while admitting deficiencies in organising share applications, has blamed the rioting on a few instigators.

TODAY

London sterling certificates of deposit. Monetary statistics (including bank and building society balance sheets). Bill turnover statistics. Sterling commercial paper. Money market statistics (July).

Interims: Astec, Dewhirst, Torday & Carlisle.

Finals: Flogas, Haynes Publishing.

TOMORROW

Overseas travel and tourism. UK official reserves. Advance energy statistics.

Interims: American Trust, Bowater, Braime, Cakebread Robey & Co, CRH, Cussins Property, EFM Income Trust, Grafton, Invergordon Distillers, Page Group, Psion, Senior Eng, Serco, Sun Alliance.

Finals: Consolidated Plantations, Industrial Control Services, Isotron, Provident Financial, SelecTV.

THURSDAY

UK cyclical indicators. Details of employment, unemployment, earnings, prices and other indicators.

Interims: Barr & Wallace Arnold, Burmah Castrol, Cookson, Courtaulds Textiles, Edmond Holdings, Iceland Frozen Foods, Thomas Jourdan, Ladbroke, Pearson, Pentos, Reckitt & Colman, Rolls-Royce, Shires Inv, Singer & Friedlander, T&N, Trans World Communications, Vinten Group, Waterford Wedgwood, Williams Holdings.

FRIDAY

Interims: Gibbs & Dandy.

Finals: Hong Kong Inv Tst.

World markets

New York: Caution ahead of economic data due later this week halted an early rally and sent blue chips into reverse. By the close the Dow Jones Industrial average was 10.26 points weaker at 3,257.35.

Tokyo: Modest gains in a see- saw session took the Nikkei average up 90.33 to 18,061.12.

Hong Kong: Closed (holiday).

Sydney: A higher-than-expected current account deficit dragged the market down. The All Ordinaries index lost 6.7 points to close at 1,547.2.

Johannesburg: De Beers and its associate Anglos were strong features in a quiet but firm market. The overall index advanced 15 points to 3,152.

Frankfurt: The five-day recovery gathered pace as the DAX spurted 24.78 points to 1,541.25, ending near the day's high.

Paris: Share prices hardly moved all day, robbed of direction by the absence of London trade. The CAC-40 index eased 2.65 points to 1,684.88.

Milan: Worries about settlement of the August account and a weak lira drove the MIB down 0.65 per cent to 772.

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