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Friday Papers: Trump to slap 25% tariff on steel imports

And national gas alert issued in Britain as factories prepare to cut their use amid big freeze.

Friday Papers: Trump to slap 25% tariff on steel imports

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Financial markets extended their losses on Thursday after President Donald Trump said he would impose heavy tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium “for a long period of time”, in a move likely to trigger retaliation from the EU and China and raise fears of a trade war.
  • The Daily Telegraph: British factories are preparing to shutter some of their operations to help National Grid avert a national gas supply crisis, as freezing temperatures sweep the country.
  • The Times: Siemens is to open Britain’s third train manufacturing plant - if it wins multibillion-pound rolling stock orders for either HS2 or London Undergound.
  • Financial Times: Laird, a UK-based electronic components maker that traces its roots back almost 200 years to an ironworks near Liverpool that went on to become a titan of British manufacturing, has agreed to a £1 billion takeover by a US buyout group Advent International.
  • Financial Times: ExxonMobil is abandoning most of its joint ventures with Rosneft, walking away from a partnership promising big new projects in areas including the Arctic and the Black Sea that were once important growth prospects but have been hit by US sanctions.
  • Financial Times: Moscow has developed advanced nuclear weapons capable of overcoming any defences, Russian president Vladimir Putin said in a move that will fuel concern about a new arms race with the US.

Business and economics

  • The Guardian: Britain’s factories suffered a slowdown in growth to an eight-month low last month as manufacturers were hit by the twin headwinds of Brexit uncertainty and a stronger pound.
  • The Daily Telegraph: City fund giant Schroders is tilting its focus towards the rising number of tycoons in emerging markets such as Colombia after key emerging economies contributed to its bumper year.
  • Daily Mail: Legoland is set to open its first theme park in China as owner Merlin Entertainments looks to exploit a rise in visitors by building more hotels.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Casual Dining Group, the owner of Cafe Rouge and Bella Italia, will ramp up its off high-street presence as it seeks expansion in transport hubs and overseas markets.
  • Financial Times: Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s biggest brewer, has reported a 64% increase in full-year net profits, boosted by savings from its SABMiller acquisition and a rebound in Brazil, one of its biggest markets.
  • The Daily Telegraph: British defence and aerospace company Cobham is showing signs that its turnaround effort is working, after reporting annual profit ahead of forecasts, following a series of setbacks.
  • Financial Times: WPP chief executive Martin Sorrell acknowledged he was feeling the pressure after the advertising group’s shares fell precipitously on a set of full-year results that reflected a “walloping” from lower spending on advertising by multinational brands.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Profits at Bovis slumped last year after the housebuilder was forced to spend millions of pounds repairing poorly-built homes and fending off takeover attempts by rivals Galliford Try and Redrow.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Rentokil Initial has warned that any further decline in the value of the dollar could impact its profits by up to 4% in the coming year, as wider global instability threatens its growth.
  • The Guardian: New Look wants its landlords to slash store rents by up 60% as part of a rescue plan drawn up by the loss-making retailer to tackle its £1.2 billion debt.
  • The Guardian: More high street store closures could be on the cards after Carpetright warned it would slump into the red this year and said it was asking its banks for help to ride out the financial storm.
  • Financial Times: Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors will move ever closer to becoming a single company with joint executives leading all key functions, as the rival carmakers push towards aggressive savings targets from their global alliance.
  • Daily Mail: Long-time competitors Netflix and Sky have joined forces to offer a combined service to customers.
  • The Times: A former creative director of Givenchy Riccardo Tisci is to join Burberry and succeed the man who has been the driving force behind the luxury British brand for 17 years.
  • The Guardian: The editors of the Daily Express and Daily Star have resigned days after the publisher of the Mirror completed its £200 million takeover of Richard Desmond’s national newspapers.
  • The Times: The chief executive of Petrofac is to resume full duties at the troubled oil services company despite a Serious Fraud Office inquiry into alleged bribery, corruption and money laundering.
  • The Guardian: The voice of Australia’s coal lobby is under renewed threat as the country’s second biggest miner, Rio Tinto, faces a shareholder revolt over its membership of lobby groups including the Minerals Council of Australia and the role it plays in Australia’s climate and energy debate.
  • Financial Times: A group of investors led by SoftBank has ploughed $535 million into food delivery service DoorDash in a bet that the San Francisco-based start-up will emerge a winner in a crowded market that has attracted the interest of some of the tech industry’s giants.
  • Financial Times: Venture capital spending by Japanese corporations including Toyota and Sony have reached record levels as established companies look to the start-up world to keep pace with digital innovation.
  • Financial Times: Saudi Arabia has approved licensing regulations for cinemas, opening the door for companies to apply and start operating in the kingdom as the country eases social restrictions.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Times (Tempus share tips): BUY Rentokil; BUY AB InBev.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Questor share tips): Investment trusts remain the top choice – in most sectors at least.
  • The Guardian: The music streaming service Spotify filed for an initial public offering on Wednesday, becoming the first company to file for a direct listing of up to $1 billion with the US.
  • The Times: Equitable Life, one of the world’s old insurance companies that nearly collapsed after it underpaid customers, is considering selling itself.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Buildings materials company CRH is seeking further acquisitions after generating €2.2 billion (£1.9 billion) of cash last year.
  • The Times (Comment): Europe’s state aid rules are no barrier to UK’s socialists or capitalists.

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