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Marconi wins video contract

Marconi has won a dollars 100m contract to supply inflight interactive video systems to United Airlines.

The systems will provide individual entertainment and games as well as information on duty free goods and passenger destinations. They include telephone facilities for use over water or land.

Better tyres

Continental, the German tyre manufacturer, announced interim group pre-tax profits of DM118.7m ( pounds 42.3m) from DM87.2m a year earlier. Sales in the first half rose by 7.6 per cent to DM4.91bn from DM4.56bn in the same period last year. The company said full-year earnings would be 'clearly in the black'.

Tackling jobless

The Irish government has announced a pounds 95m fund to support small and first-time businesses in a bid to tackle escalating unemployment - now standing at 20 per cent of the workforce. The fund will be administered by companies set up in each of Ireland's 26 counties.

Swiss in favour

Switzerland's lower house of parliament voted 128-58 in favour of joining the European Economic Area (EEA). The electorate must ratify membership in a national referendum on 6 December.

Power deal

AGA of Switzerland and Messer Griesheim of Germany are investing pounds 20m in an air separation plant in North Yorkshire. The plant will be supplied with electricity by National Power from its adjacent Eggborough power station.

Cathay profits

Cathay Pacific announced interim net profts of HKdollars 1.26bn ( pounds 82.3m) compared with HKdollars 1.11bn in the same period last year. Turnover rose to to HKdollars 10.98bn in the six months to 30 June from HKdollars 9.84bn a year earlier. Interim dividend is unchanged at 10.5 HK cents.

Property gloom

Confidence among property companies has slumped to a new low, according to the latest Chartered Surveyors Weekly/ Gallup index, and now stands at 90 compared with 101 immediately after the election. A third of property companies plan to sell some of their assets over the next 12 months, and 43 per cent think their borrowings are too high.

Toyota forecast

Toyota, the Japanese car maker, expects to sell 4.17 million cars, trucks and buses in the year to next June, up slightly from the 4.03 million sold last time. But it expects its parent company's profits to be little changed on the Y375.9bn achieved last year.

World Markets

New York: A stronger dollar and higher bond prices pushed the Dow Jones Average ahead by 14.59 points to 3,246.81 by the close.

Tokyo: The Nikkei Average ended up 160.88 at 16,541.65 in quiet trading.

Hong Kong: Strong profits from HSBC Holdings helped to propel the Hang Seng Index 187.32 higher at 5,478.81.

Sydney: Shares recovered most of Tuesday's sharp losses despite continuing concerns about the dollar. The All Ordinaries index closed 17 better at 1,534.4.

Milan: A technical rally petered out to leave the MIB index down 0.13 per cent at 773, the year's low.

Paris: The CAC-40 index ended a smidgen higher at 1,667.80 after early losses triggered by a second opinion poll showing a small majority against the Maastricht treaty.

Frankfurt: The DAX index closed 4.37 higher at 1,473.28 in thin volume.

London: Page 31.