Business and City in Brief

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SFA suspends Clifton trading

Trading at Clifton, the Torquay-based stockbroker with offices in Bristol and London and 200 private clients, has been suspended by the Securities and Futures Authority.

The SFA said it had reason to believe that Clifton was no longer fit and proper to conduct investment business and believed the company might have committed serious acts of misconduct.

'It has failed to maintain adequate financial resources to trade and it has failed to control and organise its internal affairs in a responsible manner,' an SFA spokesman said.

London buy-back

London Electricity yesterday became the eighth of the 12 regional electricity companies to use up a growing cash pile by buying back its own shares from institutions as a way of boosting earnings per share.

London spent just over pounds 100m to buy 15.4 million shares at 672p, representing 7 per cent of the equity. It had received shareholder approval to buy back up to 10 per cent of its shares in August.

Accountant jailed

An accountant at Priory property group in London who stole nearly pounds 300,000 from his employer in a four-year-long 'breach of trust' was jailed for two years yesterday. In a 'calculated and systematic' fraud, Mark Grobler paid himself two salaries and forged numerous company cheques to clear four-figure credit card bills, Southwark Crown Court was told.

Sheffield cash

The European Investment Bank is lending pounds 100m towards construction of the Supertram Light Rail Transit System in Sheffield. Work on the pounds 260m project is expected to be completed in early 1996.

Rockleigh vetted

The European Commission is vetting plans by Rockleigh, controlled by the French insurance group UAP, to acquire the whole of the British non-life insurance firm Provincial Group.

Fall of Man

ED&F Man, the commodity broker, saw its share price fall 8p to 172p on the first day of trading following flotation, which had valued the company at pounds 463m. The price fall adds to the recent turmoil hitting the new issues market. Harvey McGrath, the managing director, said: 'This was a function of the market. If we had opened on another day we would have traded at a premium.'

World Markets

New York: A rebound in treasuries after the employment report helped shares higher. By the close the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 19.51 points in front at 3,795.08.

Tokyo: Signs that the yen's climb against the dollar is over helped the Nikkei average to close 89.52 better at 19,744.75.

Hong Kong: Steep morning losses were reversed as the Hang Seng index ended 8.63 points firmer at 9,284.88.

Sydney: Subdued trading ahead of the US jobs data left the All Ordinaries index 8.8 points down at 1,967.5.

Bombay: Speculative buying at the start of a new account drove the index up 70.21 to 4,449.7.

Johannesburg: Ending a four- day losing streak, the index edged up three points to 5,597.

Frankfurt: Shares ended flat, with the DAX index just 0.44 of a point off at 1,960.59.

Paris: Moving up in the afternoon following the US data, the CAC-40 index finished 13 points ahead at 1,856.38.

Zurich: Short-covering pushed prices higher, with the SPI adding 6.67 points to 1,660.7.