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The Independent Online
US indicators underline recovery

The US index of leading economic indicators rose 0.5 per cent last month after a similar increase in October - further evidence of recovery. On a year-on- year basis, the index appreciated 1.4 per cent.

Housing sales were up 2.9 per cent following a revised 3.8 per cent rise in October. Existing homes sold in November were put at a record 4.2 million, seasonally adjusted.

Flotations worth pounds 5bn

The number of companies seeking flotation on the Stock Exchange reached a five-year peak and more are queueing to join in 1994, KPMG Corporate Finance said. A total of 165 companies were floated in 1993 compared with 70 last year, raising pounds 5.1bn - the largest amount of new capital, excluding government privatisations, since KMPG's records began in 1984.

Sugaring the pill

Stephen Brown, former chief executive at Tate & Lyle, received pounds 1,082,000 compensation when he left last March, according to the annual report. He joined the group in April 1991 after Neil Shaw, the chairman, split the dual roles of chairman and chief executive, and had a three-year rolling contract at pounds 300,000 a year.

German sales rise

German wholesale sales totalled DM85bn in November, up a real 4 per cent and a nominal 2 per cent from a year earlier. In the 11 months to November wholesale sales were about DM895bn, down a real 2 per cent and a nominal 4 per cent on a year earlier.

LWT offer extended

Granada extended its takeover offer for LWT until 12 January after receiving valid acceptances for 2,391,321 shares (2.31 per cent) by 3pm yesterday. With its existing 17.51 per cent holding, the company says it now holds, or has received, valid acceptances for 20.5 million shares (19.82 per cent of the total). Granada is offering six shares for every five LWT with a cash alternative of 528p.

Optimism at Lloyd's

Premium rates and income in the Lloyd's of London insurance market are seen rising further in the next three months, extending recent gains, the latest Lloyd's quarterly survey of underwriting trends showed.

QVC shares rebound

Shares of QVC Network rebounded on Wall Street on reports that its rival Viacom was talking to its partners Blockbuster Entertainment and Nynex Corporation about a new bid for Paramount Communications. An analyst said a 'modest bump' over QVC's present bid was possible if Viacom and the others worked out an agreement.

World Markets

New York: The Dow Jones Industrial Average see-sawed 0.56 points higher to a record 3,794.33 close in thin trading ahead of the holidays.

Tokyo: Late index-linked buying carried the Nikkei average 140.82 points higher to 17,272.03.

Hong Kong: Profit-taking after three consecutive record closes left the Hang Seng index 120.45 points lower at 11,449.77.

Sydney: Thin year-end trading pushed the All Ordinaries index up 37.7 points to 2,126.9.

Johannesburg: Gold shares cooled off for the second day running but industrials continued their surge. The overall index edged up two points to 4,799.

Frankfurt: Consolidating after its recent strong gains, the DAX index finished near the day's low, 28.12 points down at 2,214.7.

Paris: The CAC-40 index gained 17.25 points to 2,281.89.

Zurich: End of year bargain- hunting helped to overcome an early technical correction, leaving the Swiss Performance Index 2.56 points better at 1,857.07.

Milan: Prices eased in light trading as investors wound down positions before the year-end.

London: Report, page 27.