Business and City Summary

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France proposes new EBRD chief

France has nominated its central bank governor, Jacques de Larosiere, as the replacement for Jacques Attali as head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

France apparently hoped that the choice of De Larosiere, well respected abroad for his work at the IMF and the Bank of France, would swing its partners in favour of a French candidate. Denmark has proposed the Danish EC commissioner, Henning Christophersen.

Housing confidence up

Confidence in the housing market rose last month as optimism about the general economy tumbled, according to a Gallup survey. Gallup said there had been a significant recovery in confidence, but from a very low level.

Pilkington cleared

Pilkington's acquisition of Heywood Williams will not be referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, the Department of Trade and Industry said.

Mercury discounts

Mercury Communications will soon offer duration discounts to residential customers, under which charges will be reduced after a call has lasted a specified time.

Grundig losses up Grundig, the German consumer electronics group, made a net loss of DM296.3m ( pounds 116m) in the year to March compared with a loss of DM18.6m the previous year. Recovery plans include shedding 2,000 jobs.

EC approves Cook deal The EC Commission approved the acquisition of sole control of Thomas Cook by Westdeutsche Landesbank.

ICI nylons sale

ICI, the chemicals group, will incur a pounds 70m exceptional pre-tax loss on the sale of its nylons business to Du Pont, its US counterpart. The sale is part of an asset swap, announced last year, between the two. ICI will also receive a pounds 235m cash payment.

Adviser expelled Fimbra, the financial regulator, has terminated the membership of GA Demetriou & Associates of Friern Barnet, London, after the firm failed to pay its compensation scheme levy. Fimbra has also suspended Fennells Financial Services of Farnborough in Hampshire because of inadequate financial resources and the firm's failure to co-operate.

Small firms aid

National Westminster Bank has improved its small firms loan guarantee scheme to provide fixed-rate loans of up to pounds 250,000 at 10.5 per cent, or at 10.75 per cent for loans of less than pounds 15,000.

World Markets

New York: Today's expected jobs figures for June caused the market to hesitate, and by the close the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 5.54 points at 3,510.54.

Tokyo: Buying by foreign investors helped the Nikkei average to put on 334.61 points to 19,924.61.

Hong Kong: Turnover remained thin awaiting the London talks on the colony, but the Hang Seng index climbed 106.1 to 7,205.38.

Sydney: Beginning the new fiscal year as it ended the old one, the All Ordinaries index added 17.2 points to 1,755.3 in active trade.

Johannesburg: Gold shares continued to improve, helped by a weaker rand. Industrials eased, but the overall index closed 14 points higher at 4,092.

Frankfurt: Although the cut in interest rates brought gains, shares closed off their highs with the DAX nine points up at 1,706.63.

Paris: The weakness of the franc undermined hopes of a French interest rate cut. The CAC-40 index dipped 11.72 points to 1,960.15.

Zurich: The Swiss Performance Index firmed 1.51 points to 1,495.11.

Milan: Prices recovered most of their early losses to end with the MIB 0.25 per cent easier at 1,180.

London: Report, page 30.