US consumer prices rose just 0.3 per cent last month after a jump of 0.5 per cent in January. The government also announced a healthy 0.4 per cent increase in industrial output in February, the fifth monthly advance in a row.
The continuing growth in factory output will strengthen confidence that the recovery is maintaining its momentum and that it may soon begin to translate into increased employment.
SPRING RAM DOUBTS
Shares in Spring Ram, the Leeds maker and distributor of kitchens and bathrooms, were suspended at 129p yesterday pending an announcement 'regarding the the preliminary results for the year to 3 January'. The company promised a fuller statement but observers were left speculating about what lay behind the suspension.
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Thomson Corporation, the diversified Canadian group with extensive British interests, said operating profits fell to USdollars 427m ( pounds 296m) from dollars 580m last year. Operating profits were higher in publishing and information and travel, but lower in newspapers.
SOCIETY CHIEF QUITS
Joe Tracey, head of First National, Ireland's second-largest building society, has taken early retirement after a formal complaint of sexual harassment. Mr Tracey has been managing director for 16 years.
American Airlines has decided to ground 25 McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10 jets. There had been fears that the airline would reduce its fleet by returning Airbus jets leased from the European consortium.
Peter van Cuylenburg is to resign as head of the NeXT computer group, which recently announced plans to cease hardware production. He was previously chief executive of Mercury Communications.
BACKING FOR DAF
Plans for a management buyout of Leyland DAF's van plant in Birmingham will be supported by 3i. The venture capital company said that it would commit itself to a substantial package alongside other institutions.
Auditing should be a profession separate from the rest of accountancy and be independently regulated, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants said in response an Auditing Practices Board discussion paper.
A joint venture including Severn Trent has won a dollars 350m contract to supply water and sewerage services in Mexico City.
Amstrad has appointed the former Consolidated Gold Fields managing director Michael Beckett as a non-executive director. He was selected from a short list sent to the company by the lobby group ProNed. Ex-GEC executive Jeoff Samson joined the board in the same role two weeks ago. Amstrad said it was considering appointing a third independent director.
Coca-Cola said it plans to invest more than dollars 50m over the next three years to build a Russian soft drink production plant in St Petersburg.
NEW YORK: A higher-than-expected consumer price index pushed the Dow Jones index down 16.21 points to close at 3,426.74.
TOKYO: A late rebound in NTT helped the Nikkei average back above 18,000, ending 205.07 points to the good at 18,173.37.
HONG KONG: Late buying reversed earlier heavy falls and left the Hang Seng 21.71 lower at 5,958.33.
SYDNEY: Hopes of an imminent cut in interest rates sent the All Ordinaries index 16.3 higher to 1,675.6.
JOHANNESBURG: Industrials were boosted by a cut in the company tax rate, but with gold shares weak the index eased two points to 3,451.
FRANKFURT: Technical factors dominated thin trading as the DAX index slipped 12.75 points to 1,685.06.
PARIS: Shares ended lower ahead of today's Bundesbank meeting. The CAC-40 fell 7.97 points to 1,967.28.
ZURICH: The weak tone on other bourses dampened sentiment. The SPI retreated 2.1 points to 1,309.7.
MILAN: Foreign profit-taking on blue chips brought losses across the board as the market continued to reel from Olivetti's rights issue.
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