Sunday Round-Up: The main stories from yesterday's City pages

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The Independent Online
The Independent on Sunday

Shareholders fear that Britain's biggest companies have lost hundreds of millions of pounds from the collapse of bond prices. The concern follows last week's disclosure that Glaxo had lost about pounds 100m from investing much of its pounds 2.5bn cash pile in bonds.

WPP, the advertising group, must pay pounds 2.3m to Canary Wharf after the London Dockland property group launched a legal action to reclaim unpaid rent owed by one of WPP's agencies.

Companies are to be urged to publish an extra trading statement between their interim and final results to close the communication gap that has developed since insider dealing rules were tightened. The Financial Communications Committee, representing investor relations experts, is expected to publish guidance notes in September.

Share tips: Abbot Mead Vickers, Corporate Services, Low & Bonar, Volex.

The Mail on Sunday

Prudential has been under investigation by City regulator Lautro since April over allegations that it persuaded clients to buy personal pension plans in breach of industry rules. When rumours of an investigation in May hit the Pru's share price it issued a statement saying that Lautro inspectors were merely making suggestions about its training programmes.

Wellcome, the UK's fourth- largest drugs company, is in talks that are expected to lead to a merger with one of its bigger competitors by the autumn.

Share tips: Ocean Group, First National Finance Corporation, FKI, Graystone.

The Observer

Halifax, the world's largest building society, has started merger talks with several competitors. Leeds Permanent is thought to be the front runner.

Polly Peck's administrators have issued a writ against the collapsed company's former auditor, Stoy Hayward. The claim by administrator Chris Morris covers accounts for the two years before the fresh-fruit-to-electronics group crashed in 1990, and is expected to total up to pounds 400m.

Britain's nuclear agency AEA Technology has won a pounds 1m contract to assist in cleaning up operations at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the Ukraine.

Share tips: Stanley Leisure, Mosaic Investments, Low & Bonar, David S Smith Holdings.

The Sunday Times

Standard Chartered has been hit by allegations that executives from Mocatta, its wholly-owned bullion division, offered bribes to government officials in Malaysia and the Philippines. The Bank of England has been called in by Standard's chief executive, Malcolm Williamson, and is expected to conduct its own inquiry.

A City consortium, put together by Robert Fleming, the merchant bank, and headed by John Jackson, the chairman of Ladbroke, is planning to bid pounds 600m- pounds 700m for the whole of Boots' pharmaceuticals division.

John Richardson and Tony Bloom, credited with saving Sketchley four years ago, are to step down from their joint deputy chairmanship of the dry-cleaner.

Share tips: LIG Int., ShareLink, Vickers, Umeco, Hollas.

The Sunday Telegraph - J Sainsbury looks poised to enter a bid battle against its rival Tesco for Scottish retail chain William Low. A contest could drive up the price from Tesco's pounds 134m offer to more than pounds 200m.

Blue Circle's plans to bring the Channel rail link to the doorstep of its massive Kent shopping centre are set to get the go-ahead this week.

British Coal privatisation faces a new hurdle this week with compensation claims by its contractors of about pounds 300m.

British investment trusts could soon be quoted in America following meetings between the Securities and Exchange Commission and Association of Investment Trust Companies.

Share tips: David S Smith, Siebe, Johnson Matthey, WEW, Inspirations, Leslie Wise, Sage.

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