Business and City Summary

'Equal footing' plans dropped

Plans to make banks and securities houses compete on an equal footing in international securities markets have been dropped, largely because of objections by the US and Canada, according to the Basle- based committee on banking supervision.

The Bank for International Settlements, of which the committee is part, is to go ahead with consultations on three new proposals of its own for harmonising the standards for policing banks that trade in the securities markets.

US orders fall

Orders received by US factories fell during March as demand weakened for most categories of manufactured goods, especially aircraft, according to the Commerce Department. The 1.5 per cent decline in March orders to a seasonally adjusted value of dollars 254.5bn followed a revised 1.3 per cent gain in February orders.

PEPs pep up

Investors poured pounds 914m into unit trust personal equity plans (PEPs) in the first quarter of this year, pushing the amount of money under management in the plans to a record pounds 4.4bn. This was pounds 1bn more than the amount invested in unit trust PEPs at the end of the previous quarter.

Shell going well

Shell Oil, the North American arm of Royal Dutch Shell, raised net profits in the first quarter to dollars 239m from dollars 189m in 1992. Higher crude and natural gas prices, better refined product margins and cost- cutting helped operating earnings rise by dollars 195m.

Surplus lower

France had a seasonally adjusted trade surplus in January of Fr3.13bn compared with a revised surplus in December of Fr5.69bn.

Sugar price soars

Falling output in key producing countries sent sugar prices soaring to their highest for three years this week, to 13 cents a pound. Further gains can be expected, with demand expected to outstrip production this year.

Disclosure demand

Details of payments to directors of all Irish building societies are being demanded by the Dublin central bank following revelations of undisclosed dealings worth more than Ir pounds 700,000 involving Edmund Farrell, who was removed last month as chairman of the country's largest society, Irish Permanent.

Cider dollars

HP Bulmer, the cider company, has raised dollars 45m ( pounds 28.7m) of borrowing in the US at interest rates between 6.6 and 7 per cent. The debt has been exchanged into sterling and used to reorganise group borowings.

Conrad Black

World Markets

New York: Blue chips closed slightly higher after a long rally was extinguished by a Treasury bond sell-off. The Dow Jones average finished up 2.43 at 3,427.55.

Tokyo: Oil and telecommunications stocks were among the strongest as the Nikkei average jumped 464.61 points to 20,919.18.

Hong Kong: Profit-taking sliced 53.54 points off the Hang Seng index, which closed at 6,830.51.

Sydney: A late wave of buying turned round earlier declines to leave the All Ordinaries index 1.2 points to the good at 1,681.5.

Paris: After a volatile session the CAC-40 index finished 18.48 points up at 1,939.03, the day's high.

Zurich: Interest centred on the drug sector and selected financial blue chips. The SPI gained 5.29 points, ending at 1,323.71.

Frankfurt: Thin trade as investors closed positions at the end of the month left the DAX index 3.25 points firmer at 1,627.19.

Milan: With sentiment depressed by the resignation of four ministers in the new government, the MIB fell 2.35 per cent to 1,163.

London: Report, page 19.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine