Business and City in Brief

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Spending cuts on the way

The Government plans to cut capital spending in real terms in 1993/4 following a rise last year, according to the statistical supplement to the Autumn Statement.

Public sector investment is expected to drop by pounds 674m this year to pounds 28.4bn, in 1991/2 prices. But the Treasury said falling contract prices meant better value for money, while local councils could spend an extra pounds 1bn of their capital receipts.

Xerox in red

Xerox Corporation reported a fourth-quarter net loss of dollars 736m, including an after-tax charge of dollars 778m from restructuring and an equity loss of dollars 830m from its insurance and financial services business.

Granada's pounds 19m

Granada Group is seeking repayment of pounds 19m, plus interest and costs, from the Government after a court decided in the group's favour in a case concerning VAT on insurance for rental products.

Sanyo plunges

Sanyo Electric reported a 72 per cent plunge in unconsolidated net income to dollars 46.2m in the year ended 30 November because of weak sales at home and abroad. Operating losses were dollars 133.6m for the same period.

Laporte go-ahead

The pounds 135.5m bid by Laporte, the speciality chemicals group, for Evode Group has been cleared by the Department of Trade and Industry.

French jobless

The number of jobless in France rose to a record 2,978,400 in December.

Air traffic up

World passenger air traffic rose 13 per cent and cargo traffic by 6 per cent in 1992.

JRA takes pounds 100m

J Rothschild Assurance, the life insurance company, took just over pounds 100m of business in its first year of operation. Its sales staff of 400 sold pounds 18.3m of regular premium business and pounds 82.7m of single premiums (or lump sums). St James's Place, the group's unit trust arm, attracted a further pounds 12.1m.

Land converts

British land is exchanging pounds 115m of convertible capital bonds for preference shares because of a proposed accounting standard that would require it to treat the bonds as a debt, rather than equity.

World Markets

New York: In moderate trading shares moved narrowly and by the close the Dow Jones Average was up 3.78 points at 3,310.03.

Tokyo: Shares ended narrowly mixed, with the Nikkei average 39.63 points easier at 17,023.78.

Hong Kong: Continued political concern sent the Hang Seng index 53.1 lower to 5,751.4.

Sydney: The All Ordinaries index added 1.5 points to 1,528.2.

Johannesburg: Gold shares again stole the show despite disappointment with President de Klerk's opening of parliament speech. The overall index advanced 18 points to 3,433.

Paris: Rumours that the Bank of France might raise short- term interest rates contributed to a downturn. The CAC-40 index lost 8.43 points to 1,772.21.

Frankfurt: In a day of very thin trade the DAX index edged up 4.01 points to 1,571.85.

Milan: Slightly better results than expected from Fiat helped the MIB to a 1.9 per cent gain, finishing the session at 1,075.