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Friday Papers: World braced for new food crisis

And Microsoft posts first loss since becoming a public company in 1986.

 
Friday Papers: World braced for new food crisis

Top stories

  • Financial Times: The world is facing a new food crisis as the worst US drought in more than 50 years pushes agricultural commodity prices to record highs.
  • Financial Times: Microsoft reported a net loss of $492 million, or 6 cents per share in the fourth quarter - its first loss since becoming a public company in 1986 - as it wrote down the value of its online business and deferred revenues expected when users upgrade to its forthcoming Windows 8 operating system.
  • Financial Times: Morgan Stanley missed expectations for its second-quarter earnings, as it reported net income from continuing operations of $563 million in the three months to June, compared with $1.22 billion in the same period the year before.
  • The Independent: Moroccan-born Philippe Moryoussef, the former Barclays trader identified as being at the heart of the interest rate fixing scandal, had bets in the order of €30 billion resting on the rate of Euribor and appears to have been a domineering character over dealers at other banks.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Yields on five-year Spanish bonds jumped to a fresh crisis peak of 6.46% despite draconian fiscal cuts and backing from the German parliament for the country’s €100 billion bank rescue package.
  • Financial Times: Three of the world’s biggest banks - Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and Citigroup - are preparing to shed a combined 5,350 investment bankers.
  • Financial Times: The fallout from regulators’ deepening probe of attempted manipulation of benchmark interest rates continued on Thursday as the UK markets watchdog stepped up its lines of inquiry.
  • The Daily Telegraph: HSBC could be formally dragged into the Libor investigation for the first time after it emerged links between one of its traders and peers at other banks were at the centre of investigations by financial regulators.
  • Financial Times: George Osborne is blocking a new subsidy regime for renewable energy, as he fights a coalition battle with the Liberal Democrats to ensure gas remains central to Britain’s future power needs.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Google reported quarterly profits surged to $2.79 billion on rising online advertising revenue, besting Wall Street expectations.
  • Financial Times: A string of stronger-than-expected corporate earnings pushed US stocks to their highest levels in two months.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Dong Energy has signed an estimated £2.3 billion deal to buy 300 giant Siemens wind turbines for use off the coast of Britain.
  • Financial Times: Finmeccanica, the ailing Italian defence contractor, on Thursday announced it had won a $1 billion deal to supply training jets to Israel’s air force.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Shares in JJB Sports plunged another 25% to 5¾p on news that cash was draining away even faster than expected and the sports retailer was in urgent need of emergency funding.
  • Financial Times: Shares in Nokia rose by as much as 19% on Thursday from a 16-year low as the ailing Finnish handset maker had managed to stabilise its cash position in the second quarter.
  • The Guardian: FirstGroup may be handed an extension to its Great Western rail franchise, underwritten by a multimillion-pound taxpayer subsidy – despite having served notice on the contract to avoid a payout of more than £800 million to the government.
  • Financial Times: Marissa Mayer could receive more than $100 million in stock awards if she remains as Yahoo chief executive for the next five years – or longer than her four predecessors put together.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Investors in Barclays have called for a reduction in the high levels of pay at the top of the bank, ahead of the appointment of its new chief executive.
  • Daily Mail: Halfords boss David Wild quits after the company posted another profit warning.
  • Financial Times: Mark Penn, the US political pollster who played a key part in the successful repositioning of Bill Clinton as a centrist in the mid-1990s, has taken up a full-time position at Microsoft as an adviser to Steve Ballmer, chief executive.
  • The Guardian: Society of Authors, a leading authors' body, has warned that Penguin's $116 million acquisition of self-publishing giant ASI could threaten and undermine the rights of budding writers.
  • The Daily Telegraph: British homeowners face the dismal prospect of an “extended housing market slump”, the IMF has warned.
  • Financial Times: The Singapore Exchange is strengthening its listing standards by requiring that any company wanting to go public must show it has been significantly more profitable for longer than under the bourse’s previous rules.
  • Financial Times: China is set to launch interbank gold trading at the end of next month amid a broader set of banking reforms, in a move that has the potential to boost demand for bullion in the world’s largest consumer.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Credit Agricole and Societe Generale, the French banks, said they had not been accused of any wrongdoing in the Libor and Euribor manipulation scandal.
  • Financial Times: Lloyds Banking Group, which agreed to sell 630 branches to the Co-operative Group, will receive an upfront cash payment of £350 million for the business.
  • The Independent: Sports Direct has hailed its share bonus scheme an "absolute game changer", as it confirmed that thousands of staff are sitting on shares worth more than £50,000.
  • Financial Times: Sweden’s currency has been shining even as the euro has tumbled, triggering a reappraisal of its role in investors’ portfolios.
  • The Guardian: Dr Martens, the British boot brand popular with everyone from Agyness Deyn to skinheads – has seen sales soar 230% on Asos, the online fashion retailer.
  • Financial Times: Overall sales of Hermès in the quarter to June rose 13.4% to €814.5 million at constant exchange rates.
  • The Independent: UK underlying sales of Mothercare tumbled by 6.7% over the 15 weeks to 14 July.
  • Financial Times: TSMC, the world’s biggest contract chipmaker by market share, reported second-quarter revenue of T$128.06 billion ($4.3 billion), up nearly 16% on year; it said net profit was T$41.81 billion.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Daily Telegraph: The London Stock Exchange Group is in talks with the owner of the Singapore exchange about a potential £7.2 billion merger.
  • Financial Times: The US oil company Anadarko has shelved plans to sell its Brazilian assets highlighting how western majors are cooling towards a country once considered the most exciting frontier in global oil.
  • The Independent: The guitar-maker Fender, whose instruments were used by music legends including Jimi Hendrix, is launching its initial public offering in New York to raise as much as $160.5 million.
  • The Guardian (Comment): Britain is trading more with Asian markets. It's a net exporter of cars again. Great news – but we do all this as a European partner.
  • The Guardian (Comment): The company and the government want to close Remploy on the cheap and in the process have treated workers with contempt.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): In the end it took a bunch of bureaucrats from Brussels to teach Lloyds the lesson many believe it’s been owed.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Rupert Murdoch might have survived last year's News Corporation AGM, but the shareholder vote at this year's meeting will be tougher to brush aside.
  • Daily Mail (Comment – Alex Brummer): Until now George Osborne has always had Christine Lagarde on side. But the latest word from the IMF, in its July report card on the British economy, does appear to open a gap, if not a chasm, with the Treasury.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Microsoft: with revenues up and important knowledge being gleaned, reports of the software group’s demise are premature.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Morgan Stanley: plenty of ways to explain away a poor result but when a bank underperforms its peers, the backyard might offer some clues.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Shell/Anadarko: UK oil major had other options of getting a slice of the action of the Rovuma gasfield off Mozambique after its play for Cove was unsuccessful.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Nokia: after treading water in cold and treacherous seas, the Finnish crew is placing its hopes in a faint light on a distant horizon.

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How to stay Sharpe with investment trusts

by Gavin Lumsden on Jul 22, 2014 at 14:53

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