CITY DIARY

It is unusual for a bank, private or otherwise, to admit to doing something not aimed at making money, but when Robert Fleming & Co collects art, it buys what looks good, rather than what might make money.

For the first time, the public will be able to taste what Fleming's idea of what looks good as Hidden Assets goes on show at the National Gallery of Scotland next week.

The exhibition features only a fraction of the 800 works in the collection, most of which hang in its Copthall Avenue offices.

Just as a gentleman should, Fleming's never reveals what it spends on pictures or how much its collection is worth.

Even airborne entrepreneurs admit to making mistakes. Balloon-mad Richard Branson, who sold Virgin Records to Thorn EMI in 1992, said he now regrets selling and wants to buy it back. "I'd love to buy it back," the airline- to-alcohol tycoon said, "but we've got no chance."

If it sounded suspiciously like the piqued Mr Branson was fishing for talks with EMI he covered his sweater-clad back by adding that he may just try again from scratch to build an independent record company similar to Virgin. You have been warned.

Fuzzy logic is old hat. The latest way to approach forecasting is to mimic biological processes, according to the technical analyst at James Capel, Robin Griffiths. This is not so back-to-nature as it may sound. Instead Mr Griffiths uses neural networks technology to help forecast market movements.

The aim is to forecast movement in the FT-SE 100 index over a 25-to-65- day period. The problem, though, is that computers can't yet explain the logic behind their forecasts to mere mortals such as analysts. It looks like it's back to the drawing board.

Neural networks have not been enough to keep two of James Capel's top analysts on board. The top-rated European paper and packaging analyst, Dennis Christie, has hopped it to start at Kleinwort Benson Securities in October. Paul Hodges, rated the best composite insurance analyst for the last six years by Extel, except for a blip in 1994 when he slipped to number two, will join the KBS UK insurance team in January.

Middlesbrough Football Club fans will be delighted to know that the club's new stadium will be ready for its first home Premiership match to be played on 26 August 1995 and even if they needed to play at their old ground they could, as the Department of National Heritage has said they can. The club has also asked Diary to point out that British Steel, although a sponsor of the club, was not a major sponsor.

Have I got news for you. Top businessmen and women in the UK do not slave all day only to return home in time for a quick cup of tea with the Nine O'Clock News. The latest BMRC British Business Survey, which charts the media habits of those "of middle or higher management status whose occupation implies the exercise of significant business responsibilities" points out that businessmen are selective viewers.

Most executives would pretend to watch the news, with a spot of sport and politics thrown in. However what most executives actually watch is the satirical news quiz show Have I Got News for You. So now you know.

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