Business & City in Brief

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German building orders decline

Orders in the German building sector fell a real 3.1 per cent in the first six months of 1993 compared with a year earlier, while overall building investment fell 0.2 per cent.

Orders for new homes and apartments were up 10.5 per cent, with further growth expected, but commercial building orders were down 9.7 per cent and public sector orders fell 4.4 per cent.

Daimler-Benz debut

Shares in Daimler-Benz began trading on the New York Stock Exchange at dollars 47 but in heavy trading fell to dollars 463 4 by the close, as the industrial giant became the first German company to list its shares in the US. Daimler expects 10 per cent of its shares to be held by US investors within a year.

HK deal finalised

Kerry Media, an affiliate of Kerry Group, finalised agreement to buy 34.9 per cent of the Hong Kong newspaper publisher South China Morning Post from News Corporation for dollars 349m. News Corporation retains a 15.1 per cent stake.

Japan surplus falls

Japan reported a current account surplus of dollars 7.23bn in August, down from dollars 11.82bn in July. The trade surplus fell to dollars 8.97bn from dollars 13.88bn with exports declining to dollars 27.08bn from dollars 31.43bn in July and imports rising to dollars 18.11bn from dollars 17.55bn previously.

More US homes built

Housing completions in the US rose 11.3 per cent in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.207 million units after a revised 6.4 per cent decrease to a 1.08 million unit rate in July.

VW case postponed

A court postponed until 5 January a hearing on a civil case brought by Adam Opel against Jose Ignacio Lopez de Arriortua, Volkswagen's production and purchasing director.

dollars 4m Fisher buy

Albert Fisher Group acquired Imperial Produce Company, a US distributor of fresh produce and prepared salads and vegetables, for dollars 4m.

France vies with UK

International investment in France rose to Fr86bn last year from Fr28bn in 1987, comparable to that in the UK.

GEC Alsthom axe

GEC Alsthom, the joint venture between GEC of Britain and Alcatel Alsthom, will shed 906 of 2,100 jobs at its T&N transformer business in France because of lack of demand.

Suchard in Lithuania

Kraft Jacobs Suchard, a unit of Philip Morris, agreed to acquire a 67 per cent stake in Kaunas Confectionery of Lithuania on undisclosed terms.

World Markets

New York: Second-liners were weak but blue chips were steady and by the close the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 9.50 points at 3,587.26.

Tokyo: Continuing thin trade saw the Nikkei average advance 57.5 points to 20,321.93.

Hong Kong: Overseas institutions again helped the Hang Seng index to a record close, 125.16 points ahead at 7,869.48.

Sydney: Rising futures prices helped the market to move sharply higher. The All Ordinaries index gained 19.5 points to a year's high of 1,998.5.

Johannesburg: Shares ended off their lows as gloom partially lifted, but both gold and industrials lost ground and the overall index dipped 28 points to 3,714.

Paris: The CAC-40 index hit its highest level for a month - 2,158.77, up 30.11 - on the prospect of lower interest rates.

Frankfurt: As both domestic and foreign investors returned to the market after the Russian crisis, the DAX index climbed 49.01 points to 1,972.73.

Milan: Fiat led shares higher, with support from bond futures buoyed by interest rate hopes.

London: Report, page 28.