Business and City in Brief

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Maxwell recovery limited to pounds 8.7m Peter Phillips, the court-appointed receiver to Robert Maxwell's private estate, told a parliamentary committee yesterday that he had found assets worth pounds 1.48m and the most he could possibly recover would be pounds 8.74m.

He added that fluctuations in European currencies had enriched the estate. One disputed bank account, held in marks in France, gained pounds 500,000 in value because of the fall of the pound against the mark in recent months.

Polly award A group of US shareholders in Polly Peck International will try to collect dollars 10m ( pounds 6.2m) from both the bankrupt food company and Asil Nadir, its former chief executive. The shareholders were awarded the amount yesterday by a New York court, but it is unclear whether the US claims will be met by the UK administrators overseeing their finances.

Aer Lingus defers Aer Lingus has deferred until next month a decision on large- scale cuts in its 14,000 workforce and reduction in its European services.

Sequal launched The Stock Exchange's Sequal Electronic Trade Confirmation service, which will enable institutional investors and brokers to affirm trades electronically in real time and will remove the need for trade affirmation by telex and fax, will go live next Monday.

DAF passes

DAF, the loss-making Dutch truck group, passed its interim dividend payable to holders of convertible cumulative preference shares, citing present trading conditions.

Ford cuts

Ford is cutting car production further by moving from a three- day to a two-and-a-half-day week next month at its Dagenham plant in Essex.

Shoe polish deal UK authorities have accepted undertakings from Sara Lee that will remedy potential anti- competitive effects in the shoe polish market. Sara Lee, which already owned the Kiwi brand, was ordered in August by the Monopolies Commission to sell the Cherry Blossom brand it bought from Reckitt and Colman.

ATT profits leap American Telephone & Telegraph's profits rose to a record dollars 963m in the third quarter.

World Markets

New York: Firmer bond prices dragged shares above the key 3,200 resistance level in moderate trading. The Dow Jones average ended 13.78 points higher at 3,200.88.

Tokyo: Trading was thin as the Nikkei average fell 128.48 points to close at 17,013.04.

Hong Kong: Continued foreign buying helped the Hang Seng index to another record close, gaining 128.27 to 6,329.12.

Sydney: Maintaining its technical rebound, the All Ordinaries index rose 4.3 to 1,448.2.

Johannesburg: Shares bounced off their midday lows to leave the overall index only two points adrift at 3,031.

Paris: Hopes that lower interest rates are on the way stimulated interest as the CAC-40 added 8.5 points to 1,730.74.

Frankfurt: Futures-related buying took the DAX index 6.21 points higher to 1,510.11.

Milan: Sentiment was boosted by the fall in Bank of Italy repurchase tender rates. The MIB gained eight points to 813.

London: Report, page 25.