Business and City Summary

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Crown's new ploy to sell station

Crown Communications, the owner of LBC, believes it has come up with a plan to sell its French radio station, Performances, that will be acceptable to regulators who blocked two previous deals.

A consortium will buy 81 per cent of Performances' shares, for an undisclosed price.

Cheaper homes

Woolwich Building Society is cutting its mortgage rate to 9.3 per cent, a shade above most other lenders. Rates will fall to 9.99 per cent on 1 November, but no date has been set for the second reduction. Barclays will trim its rate to 9.29 per cent on 1 December.

French plunge

French government-owned aeronautics group Aerospatiale suffered a first-half loss of Fr477m ( pounds 59m) against a profit of Fr54m for the same period last year.

Parretti inquiry

The FBI confirmed it is investigating allegations of 'possible criminal activity' against Giancarlo Parretti, former MGM studio owner, at the request of Credit Lyonnais, the studio's new management.

Change at CBI

Professor Douglas McWilliams, chief economic adviser to the CBI since 1988, is to give up his post at the end of November.

Rig shortfall

Midland & Scottish Resources said oil revenues from its Emerald Field will not be enough to pay for the Emerald rig from Trafalgar House. Shareholders in Davy, which built the rig, will not get the second instalment.

News decision

US bankruptcy judge Tina Brozman is likely to approve the sale of New York's Daily News to publisher Mortimer Zuckerman today unless she heeds objections by two of the tabloid's unions.

Singer stake

Singer, the US sewing machines manufacturer, has denied reports that it submitted an offer to acquire a majority stake in Vestel, Polly Peck's Turkish electronics and durables arm.

World markets

New York: Shares moved narrowly in moderate trading. By the close the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 1.08 points higher at 3,187.10.

Tokyo: A late rally on buying by securities houses took the Nikkei average to 17,141.52, a gain of 153.86 points.

Hong Kong: The Hang Seng index hit a record 6,200.85 after leaping 112.34, with the hotel and finance sectors strongest.

Sydney: Across-the-board gains carried the All Ordinaries index up 17 points to 1,443.9.

Bombay: Heavy selling on the last day of the Hindu year left the index 116.24 points, or 3.81 per cent, weaker at 2,934.66.

Paris: Profit-taking took prices lower. The CAC-40 index shed 9.02 points to 1,722.24.

Frankfurt: The DAX index eased 7.65 points to 1,503.9.

Zurich: Consolidating recent gains, the index gave up 15.1 points to close at 1,907.5.

Milan: Uncertainty over the budget helped to lower the MIB 1.71 per cent to 805.

London: Report, page 31.