Business and City in Brief

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Strike grounds

USAir flights USAir, the Washington-based carrier that is to be British Airways' new American partner, has been virtually grounded by industrial action.

The airline, which is seeking dollars 400m ( pounds 234m) in temporary contract concessions from its employees, managed to keep about half of its flights operating when a strike by 8,300 ground workers started early yesterday. But USAir's 9,000 flight attendants, who are among those still negotiating with the airline, began honouring the machinists' pickets in the afternoon.

The two airlines yesterday extended the deadline for BA's proposed investment in USAir until 9 November.

Citicorp exit The president of Citicorp, America's largest bank, resigned unexpectedly yesterday, saying only that he had realised his contribution to the bank's turnaround.

Richard Braddock, 50, who won a hard-fought battle for the job of president only two years ago, was probably dismissed, analysts said. But the details of his resignation were difficult to discern because the bank is in the midst of a securities registration and is barred from releasing material information.

Mr Braddock also resigned his seat on the Citicorp board.

Mercedes jobs

Mercedes-Benz said it will have cut 10,500 jobs by the end of December as part of a programme announced earlier this year to eliminate 20,000 jobs.

Mosaic head

Hugh Sykes, who built up Thermal Scientific, has become chairman at Mosaic Investments, the mini-conglomerate temporarily headed by Greg Hutchings. Mosaic's shares remain suspended while it negotiates fresh banking facilities.

PEP moves

CC&P Trustees is giving up its corporate personal equity plan business, which is being transferred to Henderson Financial Management. CC&P, part of Bacon & Woodrow, had 35,000 plans and will be writing to investors this week.

Marriot split

Marriott Corporation of the US plans to divide its hotels and property sides into two separate companies.

IBM price cut

IBM Personal Computer Company said it was lowering prices on several portable personal computers by up to 44 per cent.

Gas off

A proposed gas-fired electricity plant will have to be abandoned because of increases in the cost of gas, according to Timothy Eggar, the Minister for Energy at the Department of Trade and Industry.

World Markets

Tokyo: Posting its seventh consecutive fall, the Nikkei average dropped 222.57 to 17,101.5.

Hong Kong: Closed (holiday).

Sydney: With blue chips bearing the brunt of weaker overseas markets, the All Ordinaries index slid 15.8 points to another 18-month low, 1,467.1.

Johannesburg: Gold stocks and those of overseas-listed companies ended firmer but other prices plunged across the board, driving the overall index down 66 points to 3,114.

Frankfurt: By the close the DAX index had crashed 53.64 points (3.6 per cent) to a 20- month low of 1,460.63, and in after-hours trading a further 2.1 per cent was wiped off shares.

Paris: Heavy futures-led trading started the bourse tumbling to a 6 per cent decline, with the CAC-40 index finishing 101.11 points down at 1,582.23.

Zurich: Prices closed at the day's lows in reaction to Wall Street's plunge, with the all- share index 40.6 points (3.64 per cent) off at 1,098.

London: Report, page 25.