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Haywards Heath society to merge

The Haywards Heath Building Society has become the latest loss-making small society to seek refuge in the arms of a larger competitor. It plans to merge with the Yorkshire Building Society at the end of the year. Haywards Heath made a small profit last year, but is on course for a loss this year after bad-debt provisions.

Canary refusal

The Government will not accept the offer by Ernst & Young, administrators of Canary Wharf, of a free building for forgoing contributions to extending the Jubilee Line. The Government is likely to rent space in the project.

BCCI defence

Clark Clifford, 85, and Robert Altman, 45, the Washington lawyers accused of acting as frontmen for the Bank of Credit & Commerce International, offered a detailed defence of their roles as executives of a BCCI-controlled US bank, promising to fight the charges as long as Mr Clifford's heart disease permits.

Jordan case

The professional disciplinary case against the Polly Peck administrators Michael Jordan and Richard Stone is expected to be adjourned today until September. They have denied that they breached ethics rules.

Nadir failure

Asil Nadir's bid to block an appeal by the Serious Fraud Office to reinstate 46 criminal charges against him failed when a High Court judge ruled the court could hear the case. But a decision on the hearing was adjourned.

Firms suspended

Fimbra, the financial adviser regulator, has suspended the investment business of Gittins, Ashby & Cohen of Staines, Middlesex, and of Bathstrete Investments of Bristol because of their failure to maintain professional indemnity insurance.

Oil output falls

Summer maintenance on offshore platforms forced North Sea oil output down to a 13- month low of 1.59 million barrels per day in June, the Royal Bank of Scotland said.

World Markets

New York: Blue chips opened slightly easier, but by late afternoon the Dow Jones average had added 12.7 to 3,391.89.

Tokyo: In a technical response to recent losses, the Nikkei average climbed 459.65 - more than 3 per cent - to 15,555.6.

Hong Kong: Early gains were lost on continuing worry about the airport project. The Hang Seng fell 27.46 to 5,829.83.

Sydney: Stocks closed firmer but off highs. The All Ordinaries was 8.7 better at 1,621.

Paris: A renewed bout of jitters about France's stance towards the Maastricht treaty ended the five-day rally. The CAC-40 index dropped 19.06 to 1,782.57.

Frankfurt: Plunging Allianz shares continued to outweigh strength in other blue chips. The DAX lost 4.16 to 1,623.99.

Milan: The combined impact of the foreign minister's resignation and the insolvency of a Turin broker drove shares - already trading at seven-year lows - down even further. The MIB shed 0.89 per cent to 779.

London: Report, page 21.

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