Business and City Summary

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Lautro fines Liberty pounds 80,000

Lautro, the securities watchdog, has reprimanded Liberty Life and imposed an pounds 80,000 fine after a disciplinary hearing at which the company admitted failing to properly supervise staff who conducted investment business. Lautro said Liberty had taken steps to compensate investors and co- operated fully in the inquiry.

Polly action plan

Holders of bonds issued by Polly Peck, the collapsed conglomerate, informally backed legal action in pursuit of their claim for the dollars 400m proceeds of the Del Monte fresh fruit company. Michael Jordan, a partner at Coopers & Lybrand, told the bondholders in Zurich they stood to receive a payout of up to 11 per cent if the action succeeded - and as little as 1 per cent if they took no action.

Abbey quick fix

Abbey National, Britain's second-largest mortgage lender, is to replace discounts for first- time buyers with fixed-rate deals.

New life for G7

Lloyd Bentsen, the new US Treasury Secretary, has called a meeting of G7 finance ministers and central bankers, probably in London, in a first indication that Washington plans to make good its commitment to revive the group's status.

German jobless

Unemployment in Germany rose sharply last month. In the west, the total rose to 2.26 million from 2.03 million in December, while in the east it increased from 1.1 to 1.2 million.

Insurers insured

A 'stop-loss' insurance scheme to be set up by Steel Burrill Jones will allow Lloyd's underwriting members to buy protection ensuring their future losses are limited.

Japan surplus up

Japan's current account surplus soared to a record dollars 117.62bn in 1992, 60 per cent up on 1991.

Group therapy

Hypnotists are being brought in by the supermarket giant Asda to help staff to stop smoking.

World Markets

New York: Positive employment figures suggesting continuing recovery boosted the Dow Jones average to a record 3,442,14, a gain of 25.40 points.

Tokyo: Sentiment improved on overseas gains. The Nikkei average added 142.27 points to close at 17,332.9.

Hong Kong: With profit-takers active, the Hang Seng index dipped 30.8 points to 5,747.21.

Sydney: Wall Street's gains helped the All Ordinaries index to 1,543.3, an 11.9-point gain.

Bombay: In quiet trade on the last day of the account the index gained 10.88 to 2,648.89.

Johannesburg: Taking a breather after recent gains, the index eased eight points to 3,470.

Frankfurt: The market soared by 2.5 per cent on the interest rate cuts and public sector pay deal, leaving the DAX index at a six-month high of 1,641.37.

Paris: The rally gathered momentum, with the CAC-40 index jumping 53.8 to 1,908.18.

Zurich: Active trading lifted the index 9.8 points to 2,133.6.

London: Report, page 17.