Renault, the state-owned motor group, doubled its share of the French car market to 30 per cent in the first half. Sales of the new Laguna have risen steadily and are expected to have a significant impact in the second half.
Renault, on a fast track to privatisation, increased pre-tax profits by 125 per cent to Fr1.7bn ( pounds 210m) on revenues of Fr89.9bn in the first half, helped by a gain of Fr488m from the sale of shares in Volvo, the Swedish automotive group.
In Europe as a whole, it lifted sales by about 9 per cent, compared with an overall growth in the market of 6.8 per cent.
MCI abandons deal
BT's US telecommunications partner, MCI, has given up trying to renegotiate a dollars 1.3bn deal linking its long-distance service with a new mobile telephone service in the US. The deal, which would have given MCI a controlling stake in Nextel, has collapsed over disagreements with another big shareholder in the network, Motorola.
Pan-German GDP grew 2.3 per cent in the second quarter compared with a year ago, Matthias Wissmann, the Transport Minister, said. He said there had been a 4 per cent rise in factory orders in the second quarter.
Tysoe quits Yorkshire
John Tysoe is to retire as non-executive chairman of Yorkshire Electricity and will be succeeded by a former ICI director, Chris Hampson. Mr Tysoe, 62, said he had completed the agenda he set for himself. He has been chairman since February 1992.
Olivetti cuts PC prices
Olivetti, the Italian technology group, is to cut its personal computer prices by 12 per cent over the next few months following price cuts by rivals.
Liffe volume up
Liffe traded 108,930,266 futures and options contracts between January and August, surpassing the total volume traded during the whole of 1993 (101,875,805 lots). On a year-to-date basis, volume was up 75 per cent over the same period last year.
Cargo rates raised
Virgin Atlantic will raise cargo rates on routes from the UK to the Far East and US by between 5 and 10 per cent on 1 October.
Liechtenstein law Liechtenstein, better known for its letter-box companies than for tough legislation against criminals, said it planned to outlaw money laundering and insider trading.
New York: Weak bonds killed an early advance and by the close the Dow Jones Average was down 15.86 points at 3,885.58 in moderate trading.
Tokyo: Continuing tight-range trading took the Nikkei average 10.9 points ahead to 20,653.83.
Hong Kong: With most investors sidelined ahead of key US economic data, the Hang Seng firmed 10.66 points to 9,901.56.
Sydney: Shares closed narrowly mixed, with the All Ordinaries index 1.4 points up at 2,107.
Bombay: In a dull session the index eased 7.93 points to 4,534.85.
Johannesburg: Gold-related shares again led the market higher, triggering gains across the board. The overall index climbed 47 points to close at 5,915.
Paris: The market failed to sustain a technical rebound from Thursday's heavy losses. The CAC-40 index finished another 14.54 points weaker at 2,020.37.
Frankfurt: With market participants adjusting positions before Monday's holiday, the DAX index gained 3.91 to 2,204.71.
Zurich: Spurred by Roche's positive interim earnings, the SPI gained 20.6 points to 1,761.12.
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