Business and City summary

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Primark buys Datastream

Dun & Bradstreet is to sell its Datastream International subsidiary to Primark, an information services group based in Virginia. Datastream provides financial information and is regarded as the main database tool by the securities and financial community worldwide.

Primark will pay an initial dollars 145m in cash and up to dollars 46m in convertible notes.

Saving cuts

Abbey National, Britain's second-largest mortgage lender, has no plans to cut its savings rates or raise its mortgage charges. But National & Provincial and Britannia building societies have followed rivals and cut savings rates by an average of 0.4 percentage points.

Choice postponed Unions at New York's Daily News failed to unite behind a buyer for the bankrupt tabloid and asked its creditors yesterday to postpone the choice of a new owner until Monday.

Man questioned

Steel and engineering group Mannesmann AG confirmed that an employee from the company's headquarters was questioned by the police in Stavanger, Norway, following the detention of another employee. The head of the Stavanger branch of trading firm Mannesmann Handel AG was detained on 6 August and the second employee was questioned on Wednesday.

Portuguese move

Foreigners will be free to buy Portuguese index-linked bonds and external borrowing will no longer have to be accompanied by deposits following the liberalisation of capital movements announced by the Bank of Portugal.

Dumping duty

The European Commission is to re-examine its anti-dumping duties on imports of Japanese ordinary paper photocopiers to include those that can produce more than 75 copies a minute. These were not imported when the duties were announced five years ago.

BP sells

British Petroleum is to sell its low-density polythene business, part of BP Chemicals, to Neste Chemicals, part of the Finnish group Neste Oy.


Unigate is selling Giltspur, its exhibition services company, to P&O Exhibition Services. Giltspur had sales of pounds 13m in the year to March.

World Markets

New York: A bond market rally encouraged shares to edge forward. By the close the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 15.67 points at 3,328.94.

Tokyo: A technical rebound took the Nikkei average up 52.08 points to 14,820.25.

Hong Kong: Weakness in Hang Seng Bank after disappointing results dragged the market down. The Hang Seng index lost 34.52 points to 5,822.59.

Sydney: Pre-budget jitters triggered a 19.4-point fall to 1,549 in the All Ordinaries index.

Bombay: The new account, aided by good monsoon rains, lifted the index 116.35 to 2,795.18.

Paris: Eurotunnel continued its strong run as the CAC-40 index rebounded 31.1 points from its year's low to 1,753.46.

Frankfurt: A fragile rally after a week and a half of steep losses left the DAX index 6.82 points better at 1,547.8.

Milan: Moody's downgrading of Italy's foreign currency debt rating helped to send the MIB 10 points lower to 773.

London: Report, page 17.