Business and City in Brief

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Bundesbank cut lifts pound

The Bundesbank yesterday trimmed its leading market interest rate in line with a general easing in money market conditions, helping to lift the pound to DM2.5284, its strongest level in 11 weeks.

The securities repurchase rate was shaved by 9 basis points to 6.29 per cent in line with a drop in call money to around 6.25 per cent. Economists were reluctant to interpret the move as signalling a further cut in key German rates.

Rolls orders

British Midland is to lease 17 jets worth pounds 275m in a four-year programme announced yesterday. Fokker will provide nine aircraft, in the Dutch company's biggest deal this year. Tay engines worth pounds 70m will be provided by Rolls-Royce. Rolls- Royce also said it had won a power station contract in India worth pounds 385m.

Nixdorf axe

Siemens' troubled computer division, Siemens-Nixdorf, yesterday announced a further 5,100 job losses, bringing the workforce to just over 38,000 by late 1994. The group last week reported losses of DM419m for 1992-93, against a DM513m loss in the previous period.

Healthy QVC

QVC Network, the television shopping company battling to gain control of Paramount Communications, yesterday reported third-quarter earnings of dollars 21.5m (dollars 16.4m). But Wall Street has begun to bet against QVC's chances of succeeding with its hostile takeover bid for Paramount.

Farmers inquiry

The California Insurance Commission is to investigate Farmers Insurance, part of BAT Industries, the UK tobacco and financial services group. The inquiry came after criticism was mounted by a judge who had ordered Farmers to pay out dollars 58m in damages to a policyholder.

Merger fall

The number and value of mergers and acquisitions by industrial and commercial companies in Britain fell in the third quarter of the year, according to figures from the Central Statistical Office. The number of companies acquired dropped from 139 in the second quarter to 115 in the third, with initial payments dropping from pounds 1.4bn to pounds 1.2bn.

Westside wind-up

The Securities and Investments Board has sent in the Official Receiver to wind up Westside Securities, a Fimbra-authorised financial adviser based in Salisbury, Wiltshire, following the disappearance of pounds 2.1m of shares. Westside also had an office in London, and the Metropolitan Police Company Fraud Squad has launched an investigation.

World Markets

New York: A late surge of confidence that President Clinton would win the Nafta vote in Congress pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 33.25 points to a record close of 3,710.77.

Tokyo: Corporate buyers reversed an early downward trend, taking the Nikkei average up 171.51 points to 18,246.12.

Hong Kong: Attention switched from blue chips to second tier issues. The Hang Seng index fell 49.69 points to 9,683.65.

Sydney: In light trade the All Ordinaries index edged up 0.9 of a point to close at 2,083.8.

Bombay: Profit-taking gave way to buying by foreign institutions. The index rose 61.91 to 2,848.19.

Johannesburg: Industrial stocks staged a late rally to give the index a 23-point gain to 4,126.

Frankfurt: Sentiment was boosted by a cut in the Bundesbank's marginal repo rate. The DAX index added 22.61 to 2,071.72.

Paris: In a session again beset by technical problems the CAC-40 index gave up early gains to close 2.05 points lower at 2,115.85.

Zurich: Lacklustre trade saw the Swiss Performance Index ease one point to 1,718.21.