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A widely watched indicator of future US economic activity

rose 0.3 percent in June. The Conference Board, a private New York-based economic research group, said its index of leading indicators stood at 107.7 in June, up from 107.4 in May. The index rose by the same amount in May.

TD Bank has agreed to buy the holding company that owns Canada Trust, in a deal worth $8 billion (US $5.3 billion), the companies said. TD will pay $67 (US $44) per share. The move, involving two leaders of Canada's financial industry, is part of a restructuring at Montreal-based Imasco, the firm that owns Shopper's Drug Mart, Imperial Tobacco, and CT Financial Services, Canada Trust's parent company. TD purchase of Canada Trust is conditional on completion of a multistage transaction involving Imasco and BAT PLC, a British tobacco firm that owns 42 percent of Imasco: First, BAT will make an offer for all common shares of Imasco that it does not own. If Imasco shareholders accept, BAT has agreed to sell 100 percent of CT Financial to TD.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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