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Friday Papers: ECB cuts rates to new low and expands QE

And FTSE 100 tumbles as oil complex breaks down on fears Iran may derail Opec output freeze.

 
Friday Papers: ECB cuts rates to new low and expands QE

Top stories

  • Financial Times: The European Central Bank has unleashed a bigger than expected package of measures to stimulate the eurozone economy, with expanded quantitative easing, incentives to banks to increase lending and further interest rate cuts.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Another steep slide in oil reversed early gains made on the FTSE 100 following the European Central Bank’s move to slash interest rates and boost its quantitative easing programme.
  • The Guardian: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has backed David Cameron’s pro-EU stance by warning that a UK vote to leave the union would cause lasting damage and would harm the rest of the world.
  • Financial Times: The Archbishop of Canterbury has become the latest establishment figure to be embroiled in the debate over Britain’s membership of the EU after calling on Leave campaigners to set out what an exit would mean for the country.
  • Financial Times: Bridgewater has chosen former Apple executive Jon Rubinstein as the new co-chief executive of the world’s biggest hedge fund, replacing Greg Jensen as part of a 10-year handover from founder Ray Dalio.
  • Financial Times: Ben van Beurden has received the lowest total remuneration of any Royal Dutch Shell chief executive for six years, following the collapse in the international oil group’s profits - but he still enjoyed a 4% increase in his take-home pay in 2015.
  • Financial Times: Overseas bidders are laying siege to the Baltic Exchange, the venerated bourse to the east of the Square Mile, as US and European interests battle for the London Stock Exchange.

Business and economics

  • Daily Express: Morrisons is targeting extra profits of up to £100 million from developing its online appeal and utilising its food-making skills as it looks to build on its first quarterly sales rise for four years.
  • Financial Times: Billionaire tycoon Sunil Mittal has warned that India’s battered telecoms market must brace for new price wars, as his Bharti Airtel group prepares for the return of Mukesh Ambani, the country’s richest man, to the sector this year.
  • The Guardian: After a string of boom years the international art market is stalling, with falls in global sales by both volume and value.
  • The Guardian: A spelling mistake in an online bank transfer instruction helped prevent a nearly $1 billion heist last month involving the Bangladesh central bank and the New York Fed, banking officials said.
  • The Independent: The German insurer Allianz has hired a former Prudential executive to oversee Pimco, its struggling funds division and the former home of bond king Bill Gross.
  • The Independent: Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland, two of Britain’s biggest banks, allegedly made more than £300 million in upfront profits by selling a string of questionable loans to UK councils, prompting claims that they have raised financial risks for local taxpayers.
  • Daily Mail: About 40,000 Aviva savers cashed in their retirement pots last year as they rushed to exploit the Chancellor’s new pension freedoms.
  • The Independent: An executive of an oil company chaired by former Conservative leader Michael Howard is being investigated by the UN over “possible links” to the Islamist group al-Shabaab.
  • The Independent: More than 90,000 John Lewis and Waitrose staff have seen their bonuses cut for the third year running to 10% of their annual salary.
  • Financial Times: Yahoo has bolstered its board with two new members as it prepares for a potential fight with an activist shareholder over plans to split the internet company.
  • Daily Mail: A year of blockbusters gave Cineworld bumper profits as the number of people flocking to the movies soared 12%.
  • Financial Times: Shares in Lagardère suffered their biggest one-day fall in seven years after investors expressed deep fears over strategy at the French media group following the departure of its finance director.
  • The Guardian: Despite the market continuing to drift lower Whitbread has recovered some ground from its recent falls.
  • Financial Times: Rolls-Royce has shed a further 150 management jobs as chief executive Warren East winnows out bureaucracy at the UK jet engine maker following a string of profit warnings.
  • The Times: The number of people making new claims for unemployment benefits in America fell sharply last week to its lowest level since October, dampening fears of an impending recession.
  • The Times: Employers are starting to dither about hiring decisions in the face of growing economic uncertainty, according to the recruitment consultant PageGroup.
  • Financial Times: France’s state audit body has said that EDF should ask itself “serious questions” before pushing ahead with plans to build the flagship Hinkley Point nuclear power station in the UK.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Paintbox, the company that uses robots to paint Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Jaguar Land Rover and Aston Martin cars, has sealed a multi-million-pound deal with the Business Growth Fund (BGF), the venture capital fund backed by Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and RBS.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Times (Tempus share tips): BUY Aviva for long term; AVOID Amec Foster Wheeler for now; AVOID Aldermore for now.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Questor share tip): HOLD Aviva as investors cheer 15% dividend increase.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Questor share tip): HOLD Morrisons as the company looks well equipped to ride out the supermarket price war.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Questor share tip): SELL G4S shares as they exposed to looming debt deadlines.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Questor share tip): HOLD Hill & Smith as shares jump on solid results.
  • The Times: The British franchise of Krispy Kreme is cooking up plans for a listing; Alcuin Capital Partners, the doughnut maker’s private equity backer, is understood to have appointed Investec to advise it on a possible initial public offering of the business later this year.
  • Financial Times: TransCanada is in talks to acquire Columbia Pipeline in an effort to bolster its presence in the US, sources said.
  • Financial Times: Abengoa, the Spanish renewable energy group attempting to avoid bankruptcy, has said it has reached a refinancing deal with bank creditors and bondholders, just weeks before the final deadline.
  • The Times (Markets): Goldman throws spanner in the works at Rolls; the US investment bank said that the 23% jump in the share price of Rolls Royce since the turn of the year “fully reflects the medium-term opportunity” and removed the company from its European “buy list”.
  • Financial Times: City Insider: Staley has a trick up his sleeve.
  • The Guardian (Comment): ECB can only buy time, not solve eurozone's woes.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): At last, a watchdog that believes in real markets.
  • Financial Times (Lex): UK energy: company profits should be unaffected by a database of disengaged consumers.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Bank bonds: German bank bond with negative yield contrasts with Greek issues at double-digits.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Wm Morrison: shoppers not shareholders are the immediate winners from the supermarket’s revamp.
  • Financial Times (Lex): WeWork in China: will it?

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Regulator bears down on CFDs to protect investors

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