Business and City in Brief

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US deficit narrows

The US current account deficit narrowed to dollars 14.2bn in the third quarter from dollars 17.8bn in the second quarter, the Commerce Department said.

It also said that US business inventories fell 0.3 per cent in October from September.

HDTV block

Britain yesterday blocked a European Community proposal to provide ecu500m ( pounds 405m) over five years for development of the MAC high definition television system. At a meeting in Brussels of industry ministers, the other 11 EC members rejected a UK compromise that would have provided ecu80m for a year, and called on Britain to change its stand by Thursday, when the European Parliament votes on the 1993 budget.

Hungarian stake

Alitalia has signed a L100bn ( pounds 50m) agreement to buy a 35 per cent stake in the Hungarian national airline Malev. Three of the nine board members will come from Alitalia.

Suez investment

Cie de Suez said it is to recapitalise Banque Indosuez and Credisuez before the end of the year. The company plans to inject Fr800m ( pounds 98.8m) into Banque Indosuez and Fr1.56bn ( pounds 192.6m) into Credisuez.

Rolls option

Rolls-Royce said United Parcel Service would buy 13 Rolls- Royce Tay 651 engines on which it had taken options.

KLM on video

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and the consumer electronics division of Philips Electronics have signed a 75m guilder ( pounds 27.8m) contract for Philips to install personal video players on KLM's intercontinental fleet.

Softer on cover

The Association of British Insurers said the Government's position on terrorism cover appeared to have softened in the past week, and it would not be surprised if it was about to offer some form of help.

ICI sale ICI is selling its European coil coatings arm to PPG Industries for an undisclosed sum.

Portuguese move

The Bank of Portugal brought forward freeing of capital movements by two weeks to try to stop speculative pressure on the escudo and lessen the impact. All remaining controls on capital movements will be freed from today instead of from 1 January as planned.

Going Dutch

Deutsche Bank in London is to make markets in Dutch equities on Seaq International as agent of the bank's wholly owned Dutch affiliate, H Albert de Bary & Co.

World Markets

New York: IBM unsettled the market and by the close the Dow Jones Average was down 7.84 points at 3,284.36.

Hong Kong: Share prices ended firmer but off their highs with the Hang Seng index finishing up 48.08 points at 5,315.81.

Singapore: In a cautious market the 30-share Straits Times Industrial Index fell 12 points to 1,442.10.

Sydney: Profit-taking left the All Ordinaries index 2.9 points lower at 1509.6.

Tokyo: Stocks staged a late rebound. The Nikkei closed up 190.77 points at 17,480.74.

Frankfurt: German shares staged a modest recovery after five days of losses, the 30-share DAX index ended up 11.49 points at 1,481.24.

Paris: Computer-program buying pushed the CAC-40 index up by 6.53 points to 1,744.79.

Brussels: A sharp drop in Petrofina shares left the BEL 20 index 11.52 points lower at 1,101.13.

London: Report, page 23.