Lending by banks and building societies was also subdued, confirming that consumers have no appetite for taking on new debt.
Economists said yesterday that even if interest rates were to fall sharply there would be no sudden changemmunity by 50 per cent between 1988 and 1990, boosting sales more than sixfold.
A US federal district court dismissed legal actions brought against Electrolux's US subsidiary White Consolidated Industries. The actions, regarding pension liabilities, were brought by the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation and certain pension plans of the Blaw Knox Corporation.
BICC, the international cables and construction group, has raised dollars 100m low-cost debt through the private placement of seven-year unsecured notes with US insurance companies.
County job cuts
County NatWest, the securities firm, has slashed its smaller companies research team, with the loss of four jobs. County denied City rumours that the move would be followed by withdrawal from the sector.
VSEL, the Barrow shipbuilding and engineering company, has put in an application for one of the two naval dockyards, Rosyth and Devonport, pending a government inquiry into their privatisation.
The electronics group Siemens is cutting the workforce in its medical technology division by 1,800 in the year ending September 1993. It attributed the cuts to weakness in domestic and foreign markets,including the US and the former Soviet uNion.
New York: The G7 meeting and French referendum reduced trading but expiring options pushed the Dow Jones average up 11.35 to 3,327.05 at the close.
Tokyo: A late rebound enabled the Nikkei average to show a 50.28-point gain at 18,166.8.
Hong Kong: Optimism over the airport project helped the Hang Seng index to gain 51.42 points, closing at 5,689.32.
Sydney: Big gains by News Corporation and BHP were the highlights as the All Ordinaries index added 11.8 to 1,523.6.
Bombay: High carry-forward charges on other exchanges affected sentiment. Shares ended mixed in subdued trading.
Johannesburg: Leading shares edged higher in cautious trade, with the gold index almost 7 per cent ahead on the week.
Paris: The CAC-40 rose 30.2 points on interest rate hopes to a 10-week high of 1,882.94.
Frankfurt: Position-squaring ahead of the French referendum left the DAX index 10.66 points better at 1,589.33.Reuse content