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Friday Papers: Oil crashes after Saudis dash hope of production cut

And Europran Central Bank is on course to take more aggressive action on monetary easing amid fresh global warnings.

Friday Papers: Oil crashes after Saudis dash hope of production cut

Top stories

  • The Daily Telegraph: Saudi Arabia has shocked oil markets by rejecting any prospect of a cut to its oil production, causing prices to fall by as much as 3.5%.
  • Financial Times: The European Central Bank is on course for more aggressive monetary easing to boost flagging growth and weak inflation, amid fresh warnings about the outlook for the global economy.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Market expectations that UK interest rates will remain on hold until 2019 are not justified, according to the deputy governor of the Bank of England.
  • Financial Times: Walmart reported its first annual sales decline since at least 1980, underlining the stiff challenges it faces competing against Amazon in ecommerce while coping with the impact of the strong dollar and a loss of share at its UK Asda stores.
  • The Guardian: Uber is burning through more than a billion dollars a year in China as it wages a fierce price-war against local rival Didi Kuaidi, its chief executive said.
  • Financial Times: European diplomats are pressing for a “self-destruct” clause in Britain’s “new settlement” with the EU, which would in effect close down the option of a second renegotiation and referendum should Britain vote to leave.
  • Financial Times: Air France-KLM has posted its first annual net profit for five years after cheaper fuel and continued cost-cutting helped boost performance at the Franco-Dutch airline.
  • Financial Times: The slumping oil price failed to dent profits at Centrica’s British Gas supply business last year, which jumped by nearly a third, but has forced the group to write down the value of its assets by nearly £2 billion.

Business and economics

  • The Daily Telegraph: Three is poised to become the first major European mobile operator to block online advertising on its network, signalling a clash with digital publishers and advertising companies.
  • The Guardian: Asda’s prolonged sales slump has reached a new record low after a poor performance over Christmas.
  • Financial Times: Global sales growth at Nestlé fell short of its target for a third consecutive year as the world’s largest food and drinks company battled against spluttering economies, tumbling prices and a health scare in India which hit sales of its Maggi noodles.
  • Financial Times: Brazil’s federal prosecutors are threatening to scupper a R$20 billion ($4.9 billion) settlement deal over the country’s fatal dam disaster, calling for Vale and Australia’s BHP Billiton to pay up to twice as much in damages.
  • Financial Times: Lancashire Holdings reported a drop in full-year profits as premium income fell a third, highlighting the challenges facing specialist insurers in the Lloyd’s of London market and elsewhere.
  • Financial Times: Puma, the German sports brand that sponsors Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, said that its net profit slumped 42% last year due to the surge in the value of the US dollar.
  • The Independent: Eurotunnel has sent a €29 million (£23 million) bill to the British and French governments to cover the costs incurred and revenues lost due to the refugee crisis in Calais last year.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Britain faces a "looming gap" in its energy supplies because of a series of failures in the Government’s scheme to keep the lights on, British Gas owner Centrica has warned.
  • Financial Times: Powa Technologies, the UK mobile commerce company valued at $2.7 billion, had $250,000 available in its bank accounts at the start of February, while a unit of the group owed $16.4 million to creditors, according to Companies House.
  • Financial Times: A spate of fundraising by Chinese biotech companies has highlighted a scramble for leadership of the country’s nascent life sciences sector and raised questions over how quickly China can rival the US and Europe as a source of blockbuster medicines.
  • The Guardian: Toyota Australia says an issue with the seatbelts in about 98,000 RAV4 vehicles has prompted it to issue a recall.
  • Financial Times: The UK’s financial watchdog is losing two of its veteran senior staff members as it battles with low morale and uncertainty in the wake of a leadership crisis.
  • Financial Times: An Iranian bank has won a favourable ruling from the European Court of Justice that sanctions were wrongly imposed on it in 2010, which its lawyers say strengthens a $4 billion damages claim against the UK government.
  • Financial Times: Scottish craft brewer BrewDog plans to tap the US for cash as it readies for expansion into America.
  • Financial Times: Wm Morrison is revamping facilities for staff at all of its 498 stores in the hope that a more motivated workforce will help drive the company’s revival.
  • Financial Times: Greater flexibility to France’s Sunday trading laws helped electrical goods retailer Darty report strong end-of-year trading figures even as Paris was left shaken by the November 13 terrorist attacks.
  • Daily Mail: Google is adding fresh foods to its grocery delivery service, ramping up its challenge to Amazon and a long list of delivery startups.
  • Financial Times: BAE Systems insisted the arrival of a relatively-unknown oil executive as a potential successor to chief executive Ian King did not signal a strategic shift by the world’s third largest defence company into new sectors.
  • Financial Times: Go-Ahead Group issued an apology to London commuters for the poor service of the rail franchises that it operates, as it reported solid performances for the half year in its bus and rail divisions.
  • Financial Times: Accor notched up a 3.5% like-for-like increase in operating profit last year despite November’s terror attacks in Paris sparking a sharp drop in the hotel group’s home market.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Daily Telegraph (Questor share tip): Sell Indivior after a wild first year on the stock market.
  • Financial Times: China’s HNA has agreed to buy Ingram Micro for $6 billion, in the largest Chinese takeover of a US information technology company.
  • Financial Times: Vivendi’s Canal Plus unit has entered into talks with Qatari-owned rival beIN Sports over an exclusive distribution agreement aimed at stemming heavy losses at the pay-television division.
  • Financial Times: Miner Anglo American is seeking to buy back up to $1.3 billion of its bonds from investors — about half of the short-term debt reduction target that it announced in its turnround plan this week.
  • Financial Times (Comment): Apple-FBI fight will leave extensive damage.
  • Financial Times: One year since Ball Corp unveiled a £4.4 billion takeover of its UK-listed rival Rexam, to form the world’s largest maker of metal drinks containers, the US industrial group is preparing to sell off a significant number of assets to secure the deal.
  • The Daily Telegraph: BAE Systems remains a defensive income favourite.
  • The Guardian (Comment): The truth behind China's exchange rate delusion.
  • Financial Times (Comment): Why Japanese stocks deserve a rethink.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Linn Energy: capitulation on oil prices seems to have arrived — for shareholders at least.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Centrica: chief executive can expect an easier rhythm to life at UK utility.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Accor: profitability is improving, but many still want a split.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Ingram Micro: Tianjin Tianhai’s targeting of the US company reflects China’s appetite for overseas acquisitions.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Apple: enlisting engineers in US antiterrorism raises the stakes for technology companies in China.

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