Business and City in Brief

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The Independent Online
Small firms

lift output Small manufacturers are reporting output rising for the first time since April 1990, according to a survey from the Confederation of British Industry.

Their business optimism last month rose by the largest margin for six years, it found.

IBM finance chief IBM yesterday hired Chrysler's finance director, Jerome York. The unexpected announcement was the first big appointment by IBM's new chief executive, Louis Gerstner.

dollars 3bn joint venture

China has agreed to participate in a dollars 3bn ( pounds 1.9bn) joint venture with three Indonesian companies to build an oil refinery and fertiliser plant in Indonesia.

TODAY

Interim: Ingham.

Finals: BMSS, Silentnight Hldgs.

TOMORROW

Overseas travel and tourism (Feb), UK official reserves (April), advance energy statistics (March).

Interims: BAT Industries (Q1), FR Group, Philips Electronics (Q1), Royal Bank of Scotland, Tate & Lyle, Titon Holdings.

Finals: N Brown Group, J Beattie.

THURSDAY

Cyclical indicators for the UK economy (April - first estimate), mortgage lending (Q1), big British banking groups' quarterly lending analysis (Q1), London sterling certificates of deposit (March), monetary statistics, including bank and building society balance sheets and sterling lending, and M4 sectoral analysis (March), bill turnover (March), money market statistics (March), sterling commercial paper (March).

Interims: BP (Q1), Bellway, MMT Computing.

Finals: Bank of Scotland, Copymore, James Smith Industries, Jefferson Smurfit.

FRIDAY

Bankruptcy statistics (Q1).

Interims: Ossory Estates.

Finals: BDA Holdings, Cooper Clarke Group, Radiotrust, Select Appointments.

World Markets

New York: Blue chips rose after a drop in bond yields diverted attention from bad economic news. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 18.91 points at 3,446.46.

Brussels: The BEL 20 closed down 8.00 at 1,189.52.

Madrid: Prices closed little changed with the general index up 0.05 points at 244.42 and the Ibex- 35 off 0.85 to 2,685.15.

Milan: In thin trading, the MIB index rose 2.3 per cent to 1,190.

Frankfurt: Stocks closed mixed in lacklustre trading. The DAX index edged up 1.97 points to 1,629.16.

Paris: The CAC-40 index closed 2.06 points lower at 1,936.97.

Zurich: The Swiss Market Index closed 23.1 points up at 2,152.8 and the Swiss Performance Index rose 11.93 points to 1,335.64.

Hong Kong: Prices fell in continued profit-taking. The Hang Seng index lost 40.40 points to 6,790.11.

Tokyo: Closed.

Sydney: Prices slipped in light volume. The All Ordinaries index lost 17 points to close at 1,664.5.

London: Closed.

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