FINANCIAL BRIEFS

FINANCIAL BRIEFS

Belgian Central Bank

Cuts Two Key RatesBRUSSELS, Belgium - Belgium's central bank Wednesday announced cuts in two key interest rates to reflect the current strength of the Belgian franc and international trends.

The Belgian National Bank said it will lower the discount rate to 6.5 percent from 6.75 percent and the Lombard rate to 6.75 percent from 7 percent, effective today. The discount rate is the interest the central bank charges to member banks. The Lombard rate is interest charged on central bank loans using securities as collateral.

Japanese Search Nikko

After New Issue Soars

TOKYO - The Japanese Finance Ministry searched the offices of Nikko Securities Co. and several other securities firms Wednesday on suspicion of manipulating share prices of Koito Industries Ltd., finance ministry officials said.

Koito was traded at 1,500 yen a share Wednesday. It was listed on the second section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange Tuesday at an offering price of 810 yen.

A Nikko executive said newly-issued shares will find their own prices according to demand and Koito's price rise was within the range of common sense.

Eastman Kodak Sells

$1.1 Billion of Notes

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Eastman Kodak Co. sold $1.1 billion of 10-year notes, making it the largest investment-grade corporate debt issue in the United States.

The previous record was held by Occidental Petroleum Co., which issued $1 billion worth of investment-grade debentures two years ago.

Kodak said it had planned to sell $750 million worth of bonds, but demand was so great the amount was increased to the record level. The issue will be used to either retire about $1 billion of short-term loans or help finance the company's recent $5.1 billion acquisition of Sterling Drug Inc.

Salomon Lists Price

Of Yen Bond Warrants

NEW YORK - Salomon Brothers International Ltd. announced pricing for its first issue of warrants on Japanese government bonds.

SBIL is offering 40 billion yen (US$312 million) of six-month call warrants on the 5 percent Japanese government bonds due Dec. 12, 1997. Each warrant entitles a holder to buy 100 million yen of the underlying bonds at a price of 105.5. The warrants may be exercised at any time between April 14 and Sept. 1, 1988.

Nomura Wins License

To Trade UK Gilts

LONDON - Nomura International said the Bank of England indicated it will grant the firm a market-making license in the gilt-edged securities market.

A Nomura spokesman said he did not know when the Japanese securities firm will start trading, but that it would need to recruit more staff.

Austria's GZ Bank

Wins Prime-1 Rating

NEW YORK - Moody's Investors Service assigned a first-time rating of Prime- 1 to Genossenschaftliche Zentralbank AG of Vienna, Austria, for its short- term bank deposit obligations.

Moody's said the rating was based on the bank's strong financial position as well as on the economic performance and importance of the parent organization - the Raiffeisen Group of agricultural cooperative societies.