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The Independent Online
Sterling ended at its highest level against the Deutschmark for more than a year, rising by more than a pfennig to DM2.3224 yesterday. Hopes of further cuts in German interest rates to boost the economy meant the mark was generally weaker. Figures yesterday showed consumer prices in western Germany rose only 0.1 per cent last month and 1.2 per cent in the year to mid-April. The pan-German increase was 0.1 per cent in April, making the year-on-year rise 1.5 per cent. Inflation is not expected to climb above 2 per cent this year.

Core US producer prices - excluding food and energy - rose by a lower- than-expected 0.1 per cent last month. The headline rate of factory-gate inflation edged up to 2.5 per cent. Although the figures were more favourable than expected, analysts think the Federal Reserve will leave US interest rates unchanged for some time - helping the dollar strengthen against the German currency.

Rodime's US attorneys said there is no prospect of a recent adverse legal decision in the US courts being overturned. Last September the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington DC issued a ruling that resulted in all of Rodime's claims against a company called Quantum being judged invalid. Rodime went to the US Supreme Court in an unrelated case which has now been settled. Rodime's lawyers said that decision means that there in now no prospect of the earlier Quantum verdict being overturned.

Holders of bonds issued by Barings have issued writs against 17 parties claiming compensation of pounds 100m. The proceedings have been brought against the issuing company Barings Plc (now under administration), its board of directors and advisors, Hoare Govett, BZW and Cazenove.The writs were issued in the High Court on behalf of the Barings 9.25 per cent Perpetual Noteholders Action Group on the grounds that the listing particulars were misleading or failed to contain certain information as a result of which the bondholders have suffered loss.

Westminster Health Care, the UK's biggest private nursing home group, parted company yesterday with its controversial founding shareholder when the Tenet Healthcare Corporation of the US placed its 42 per cent stake in an pounds 80m deal. The 26.9 million shares were sold in a single block to the company's joint brokers Cazenove and Collins Stewart who sold them on to institutional investors at 298p a share. The sale will have netted a profit of more than pounds 60m for Tenet, which has been dogged by controversy since being heavily fined in the US for billing fraud in 1993. Westminster denied that there had been any pressure from them to sell, although it admitted that it had removed "an easy stick to beat us with".

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