Business and City in Brief

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The Independent Online
Press release angers ombudsmen

The two ombudsmen investigated by the National Consumer Council have condemned it for publishing a distorted critical version of the full report in a press release.

The Insurance Ombudsman, Julian Farrand, who was investigated alongside Stephen Edell, the Building Society Ombudsman, said the release was 'sensationally negative'.

View from City Road, page 30

Standard recruit

Shares in Standard Chartered, the London-based international bank, rose 3p to 750p after it announced that John McFarlane, head of Citibank in the UK, will join the bank as executive director in charge of global trading operations, group credit approval and strategic planning.

Routes in the air

American airlines will be granted two new routes into the UK - on condition that the US authorities allow Virgin Atlantic to serve Boston from Heathrow, the Transport Secretary, John MacGregor, said last night.

Money struggle

The three-year-old Money Advice Trust, set up to raise donations from lenders to finance debt-counselling services, is still struggling for support. Last year it received donations in cash and in kind worth pounds 353,000, against its original target of pounds 3m a year.

Unit trust merger

HSBC is to merge its James Capel and Midland Unit Trust businesses in order to economise on information technology systems. It said the new unit, named HSBC Asset Management, would have assets of pounds 1.7bn.

Barker quits Hartstone

Stephen Barker, until recently chairman of the leather and hosiery group Hartstone, has resigned from the company's board.

Hoare Govett offer

Hoare Govett is sponsoring an offer of up to 40 million shares at 100p each in the Second HGSC Index Investment Trust, a fund that will invest in more than 200 smaller companies.

Lasmo reduction

Lasmo, the oil and exploration group, is set to reduce its debt-to- equity ratio to around 60 per cent for the coming year from 111 per cent in 1992 as a result of its dollars 250m preference share issue in the US.

US investment up

Investment by US companies is expected to rise 9.1 per cent in 1993 to dollars 581bn, the Commerce Department said.

Salomon settles

Salomon, the US investment house, has agreed to pay dollars 54.5m to settle class action law suits stemming from its involvement in treasury auction practices in 1991. The company denied any wrongdoing.

Coal strike widens

American coal miners have extended their strike to include 16 additional selected mines of Peabody Holding Company, part of the Hanson group.

Pascall moves to MAI

(First Edition)

MAI, the international finance, media and information services group, has appointed David Pascall, formerly at BP, as finance director of its money and securities broking division.

World Markets

New York: Prices were weighed down by further losses in the technology sector and airline stock declines. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 20.21 to 3,491.72.

Tokyo: Prices closed lower ahead of today's expiry of futures and options contracts. The Nikkei average fell 81.92 points to 20,493.32.

Hong Kong: In a weak market lacking fresh incentives the Hang Seng index lost 78.5 to 7,260.58.

Sydney: Shares ended their losing streak on late bargain-hunting which sent the All Ordinaries index 3.4 points higher to 1,712.5.

Johannesburg: Gold shares bounced 2.5 per cent following recovery in the bullion price. With industrials also firm the overall index moved ahead 29 points to 3,920.

Paris: The CAC-40 index closed lower for the first time this week, easing 4.01 points to 1,911.22 after profit-taking eroded early gains.

Milan: Technical buying and a rally in telecoms stocks took the MIB up 1.38 per cent to 1,177.

Istanbul: Optimism on the political front sent the index leaping 149.37 (1.75 per cent) to 8,687.16.

London: Report, page 30.

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