Pembroke: Spirited action by Warburg

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The Independent Online
ONE of the few stocks not to be dragged down in the vortex of yesterday's equity market was SG Warburg. This was not, as you might think, the result of an impressive set of figures from the bank. Rather a touching faith in Feng Shui, the 3,000-year-old Chinese philosophy that holds that the siting of a building according to sacred principles brings health, wealth and harmony.

It emerges that one of Warburg's Hong Kong-born analysts had been haunted by the six stooping metal figures outside the bank's Broadgate office. The statue, entitled Rush Hour, was set in place the day before the crash in October 1987

In an effort to placate the woman, the investment house brought a Feng Shui man over from the colony to remove the hex. Since then it has been bonuses all the way.

THERE might be a lesson to be learnt here for the Hong Kong Government Office in Grafton Street, London, which has been besieged by telephone callers demanding to know how many islands there are in Hong Kong and how many newspapers it has.

'Why you wanna know?' demands a spokesman, clearly unaware of the Hutchinson Telecom 'Loud and Clear' prize draw that is offering the winner a holiday for two in the colony. Oddly enough, the fellow was very helpful.

SIPKO Huismans, the Courtaulds chief executive, was yesterday shimmering resplendently in a suit and shirt made of Tencel, the company's wonder fibre. Production of the versatile stuff - it can even be used in water-absorbent industrial fabrics - is to be stepped up to meet increased demand.

Courtaulds is planning a third plant somewhere in Europe and is pondering between Grimsby, Derby, Spain and Germany. Mr Huismans says his pounds 200 blue Tencel suit is a Spanish designer number. This does not bode well for Grimsby.

A CASUALTY at the round table, and so soon. While the rest of the Camelot consortium were congratulating themselves on winning the bid for the National Lottery, the US contingent was watching its share price sink faster than the Lady in the Lake.

Shares in GTech Holdings plummeted - from more than dollars 35 to dollars 23.50 - after the lottery specialist issued an ill- timed profits warning. The fact that GTech methodology is under investigation on two continents probably did not help.

The brush with the Inland Revenue has not dissuaded Bank of England directors from taking their wives abroad. Travel perks for wives continue under Eddie George, according to the Bank's annual report.

Last year they ran up a bill of pounds 9,456 - which will provoke a groan of satisfaction down at Somerset House, where they fondly remember the back tax on almost pounds 25,000 of travel perks going back five years.