Business and City summary

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NatWest in dollars 500m issue

National Westminster Bank has filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to issue up to dollars 500m of exchangeable capital securities.

It said this would initially rank as Tier 2 capital and would be exchangeable into non-cumulative preference shares, which would rank as Tier 1 capital. These categories comprise the capital ratios set out by the Bank of International Settlements.

GM denial

General Motors last night denied rumours spreading through US financial markets that is considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. GM lost dollars 7.1bn in North America in 1991 and is expected to lose between dollars 4bn and dollars 5bn there this year, analysts said.

Bombay swoop

More than 200 tax officials swooped on the Bombay Stock Exchange yesterday and raided the offices of at least 20 brokers suspected of involvement in India's pounds 700m securities scandal.

Westpac sells

Westpac Banking Corp is selling its controlling interest in Network Ten, an Australian TV network, to an investment consortium for an undisclosed price.

Liffe links

Trading links in three options and futures products are under discussion between Liffe, the London financial futures and options exchange, and the Chicago Board of Trade futures market. Liffe also confirmed it may join the Globex electronic dealing system for futures, but only for trading outside European hours.

Conran wins

Euro RSCG, the French media group, lost its appeal against a High Court ruling allowing Sir Terence Conran to go ahead with his proposed investment in Fitch, the design company. Euro RSCG claimed his involvement in a rescue package for Fitch would conflict with an agreement to provide consultancy services to the French group.

Suspension lifted

Fimbra, the investment regulator, has lifted its suspension of Total Protection Services of Tonbridge, Kent after the firm re-registered with Companies House and arranged professional indemnity insurance.

News scales down

News Corporation has scaled down its offering of debt securities to dollars 850m from dollars 1bn because of recent volatility in the US debt market.

British Gas

British Gas is establishing a dollars 1.25bn multi-currency Euro commercial paper programme.

World markets

New York: In what one dealer called a 'sloppy' market, the Dow Jones Average was down 0.27 points at 3,174.71 at the close.

Frankfurt: The DAX index ended 8.18 points firmer at 1,461.61, after trading in a narrow 8-point range.

Madrid: Share prices closed higher, with the general index up 2.78 points at 193.96.

Milan: The MIB index gained 16 points or 1.99 per cent to 822.

Paris: The CAC-40 index closed 14.16 points higher at 1,664.18 as hopes of a cut in interest rates revived.

Hong Kong: Stocks closed firmer but off the day's highs. The Hang Seng index closed up 71.69 points at 5,985.33.

Tokyo: Share prices closed lower, pressured by index-linked selling in thin trading. The Nikkei 225 index closed down 258.68 points at 17,369.81.

Sydney: The All Ordinaries index closed down 19.2 points at 1,419.8, just off its low for the day of 1,418 points.

London: Report, page 17.