Business & City Summary

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Auditing Board acts on Bingham

The Auditing Practices Board has proposed standards for accountants on when to report their suspicions about companies operating in the financial sector directly to the authorities.

The move follows a recommendation by Thomas Bingham, head of the official inquiry into the collapse of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, published last October.

US confidence ebbs

The Conference Board's consumer confidence survey in the US declined from 58.9 per cent in June to 57.7 per cent in July, reflecting concern about jobs. The Labor Department also reported that wages, salaries and benefits rose 3.6 per cent in the year to 30 June, the same pace as in the previous 12 months. Wages and salaries increased 2.8 per cent while benefit costs rose 5.5 per cent.

dollars 1bn food deal on menu

Investors led by Robert Bass, the Texan financier, are negotiating to buy the North American food brands of Artal of the Netherlands for about dollars 1bn, including B&G pickles, Mother's Cookies, Stella cheese and San Francisco sourdough bread.

Cadbury goes private

Jonathan Charkham, a member of the Cadbury committee and recently retired as adviser to the governors of the Bank of England, has called for the Cadbury code on corporate governance to be extended to large private companies in recognition of the responsibility any big company bears towards the economy and its community, irrespective of whether it is quoted or privately owned.

Minet in California

Minet Group's insurance services division bought Compro Insurance Services, one of the largest insurance brokers in the Santa Clara Valley of California, for an undisclosed amount.

Oil prices rise

Oil prices rose as fears receded that the UN was about to resume talks enabling Iraq to export oil. Brent crude for September delivery ended at dollars 17.07, up from dollars 16.82.

China investment flood

Approved foreign investment in China rose to dollars 58.78bn in the first half, up 300 per cent in a year.

Dunedin raises pounds 20m

Dunedin Japan Investment Trust raised pounds 20.3m by the close of the public offer. As a result, Barnado's, the children's charity, will receive about pounds 70,000 a year. Share dealings begin on Friday.

Continental deal

Continental Airlines and Air France signed an agreement to co- ordinate schedules and share terminals, ground crews and frequent flyer programmes. Continental will gain access to European, Middle Eastern and some Asian destinations served by Air France, and the French carrier access to Continental's American hubs.

World Markets

New York: The previous day's record-breaking advance was halted in its tracks by a widespread sell-off of steel stocks. By the close the Dow Jones average was down 2.24 points at 3,565.46.

Tokyo: Buying by public sector pension funds lifted the Nikkei average 69.31 to 19,891.39.

Hong Kong: The Hang Seng index edged ahead 7.89 to 6,865.97, held back by late selling on concerns over tough measures taken by China to cool its economy.

Sydney: A rebound in the gold price helped the All Ordinaries index 19.2 higher at 1,814.9.

Johannesburg: Gold shares held sharp early gains, leaving the index 64 better at 1,917.

Frankfurt: Poor results from BMW prompted a late sell-off. The DAX index ended down 9.29 at 1,845.23.

Zurich: Hopes of lower German interest rates boosted the SPI index 9.7 to 2,398.5.

Paris: The CAC-40 index shed 8.11 to 1,998.11 on profit-taking. Against the trend, Eurotunnel gained 6.43 per cent to Fr38.60.

Milan: Large orders from foreign investors produced a 16-point surge in the MIB index to 1,211.

London: Report, page 24.