Business and City in Brief

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German rates 'not at bottom'

Horst Sievert, a Bundesbank council member, said German interest rates had not necessarily reached their trough. His comments followed the publication of figures showing industrial orders had fallen 2.2 per cent in August, the second successive decline.

TetraPak fine stands

A pounds 30m fine imposed on TetraPak by the European Commission was endorsed by the European Court of Justice, when it rejected the company's appeal. Owned by the Swedish brothers Gad and Hans Rausing, TetraPak was found guilty after an eight-year investigation of breaking competition rules by 'bullying' rivals and slashing prices to control the market for milk and fruit juice cartons for a decade.

Indian sector

In response to surging activity in Indian stocks, the London Stock Exchange has introduced an Indian sub-sector in the developing markets sector of Seaq International. Turnover in the 10 stocks was pounds 147.5m in September.

Swan talks on

Swan Hunter's receiver and the advisers to OMS, which wants to buy the shipyard, issued a joint statement denying radio reports that a deal had been rejected. The receiver said it was still negotiating with OMS, which had still not made a firm financial offer for the assets.

Popular schemes

The Government received 17 submissions involving more than 70 firms for the first group of DBFO (design, build, finance and operate) privately financed road schemes.

Jobless fall

European Union seasonally adjusted unemployment in August was 10.7 per cent, slightly down on July's 10.8 per cent.

Yen for cars

Sales of imported vehicles in Japan soared 52.3 per cent in September from a year ago to nearly 30,000, the Japan Automobile Importers Association said.

Divided no more

The recession has ended the North-South divide, as the South-east has lost one in 10 jobs in business and financial services, according to a report by Seeds, an association of local authorities in the South-east.

World Markets

New York: Shares eased in nervous trade ahead of today's employment data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 11.78 points lower at 3,775.56.

Tokyo: Falling back after Wednesday's rally, the Nikkei average closed near the day's low at 19,655.23, down 96.32 points.

Hong Kong: Directionless trade ended with the Hang Seng index 22.11 points weaker at 9,276.25.

Sydney: Holding its own despite losses on other markets, the All Ordinaries eased 3.5 to 1,976.3.

Bombay: Buying on hopes of a favourable credit policy lifted the index 31.57 points to 4,381.62.

Johannesburg: Bullion weakness depressed gold shares and, with industrials marking time, the index fell 20 points to 5,596.

Paris: In a mild rebound from the previous day's sell-off the CAC-40 added 9.66 to 1,843.38.

Frankfurt: Moderate trade saw the DAX index surrender 7.69 points to close at 1,961.03.

Zurich: A recovery from early losses left the SPI sporting a 3.38- point advance at 1,654.03.

London: Report, page 34.