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Monday Papers: Brussels takes hard line on free trade deals

And Trump tax cuts heralded $1 trillion bonanza for US investors.

Monday Papers: Brussels takes hard line on free trade deals

Top stories

  • The Daily Telegraph: The European Commission is preparing to take a hard line over plans to “roll over” 50 EU free trade agreements during the Brexit transition period, in a threat to British exports.
  • Financial Times: US companies are on track this year to return a record $1trillion to shareholders, as Donald Trump’s tax cuts prompt boards to boost buybacks and dividends at a faster rate than their capital expenditure, research and development budgets or wage bills.
  • The Times: Growth in factories will outpace the wider economy for a second year running in 2018 as Britain’s manufacturing revival powers ahead.
  • Financial Times: A top trade adviser to President Donald Trump has said there will be no exemptions from US tariffs on steel and aluminium imports as the EU prepared retaliatory measures and officials warned of the risk of a transatlantic trade war.
  • Financial Times: Angela Merkel is heading for her fourth term as chancellor of Germany, after two-thirds of rank-and-file members of the Social Democratic party voted in favour of a grand coalition with the veteran leader’s conservative bloc.
  • Financial Times: Foreign investment needed to modernise Britain’s ageing energy infrastructure is threatened by rising political and regulatory risks, industry leaders have warned.

Business and economics

  • The Daily Telegraph: Hong Kong’s currency regime is coming under mounting strain as the US Federal Reserve steps up the pace of monetary tightening, threatening to set off an unpredictable chain of events in the world’s most over-stretched financial system.
  • Daily Mail: Global markets could be panicked into a fresh slump in coming weeks as the US bond sell-off deepens.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Research has revealed that shares floated by private equity firms lag behind other stock market debutants, as buy-out firms prepare to cash in on a raft of investments.
  • Financial Times: Thousands of homeowners with Help to Buy loans will face a squeeze on their finances as the first fees fall due to the government next month, experts have warned.
  • The Guardian: The charity behind the Drop the Debt campaign to help developing countries stuck with problem borrowing is turning its attention to Britain, calling for government action to write off as much as £40 billion in spiralling consumer debt.
  • Financial Times: Rolls-Royce is expected to reveal that the total cost for fixing the problematic Trent 1000 engine on Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner will come to more than £300 million in the next year.
  • Daily Mail: Carluccio's has called in advisers amid growing concerns about Britain's High Street restaurants.
  • Financial Times: McKinsey is trying to return fees earned from a contract that has been tainted by ties to the country’s controversial Gupta family but does not know where to send the money, according to the head of the consultancy.
  • The Times: Wm Morrison is facing a potential £100 million equal pay compensation claim from hundreds of its staff, who believe that they have been underpaid compared with colleagues.
  • The Guardian: An Italian trial which sees Anglo Dutch firm Shell and Italy’s Eni face corruption charges over a $1.3 billion Nigerian oil deal should act as a wake-up call to the oil industry, campaigners have said.
  • The Times: The government is likely to fail in its target of creating three million apprenticeships by 2020 amid a catalogue of issues including low pay and red tape.
  • Financial Times: UK-based government contractor Interserve is on track to cut 1,500 jobs as it fights to stave off bankruptcy.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Wileyfox, the British smartphone maker that went into administration last month, has until the end of the month to find a rescuer before it faces liquidation.
  • The Times: A Manchester-based property group, Property Alliance Group, is likely to seek a direct appeal to the country’s highest court over allegations that Royal Bank of Scotland mis-sold interest rate swaps as part of the Libor scandal.
  • Financial Times: The executive chairman of Bankia has raised the prospect of further consolidation in the Spanish banking market by saying the majority state-owned bank would be “the perfect fit” with its main domestic rivals.
  • Financial Times: China’s crackdown on debt has slammed the country’s nascent hedge fund industry, as a bear market in bonds prompts banks to withdraw funds they had parked with external bond managers, cutting a key source of funds.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Daily Mail (Trader tips): BUY Spire Healthcare but SELL Foxtons.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Comcast is racing to win a green light for its £22 billion raid on the Murdoch takeover of Sky, as it seeks to match their timetable and thwart the dynasty’s big deal with Disney.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Endless, the British turnaround fund, has sold out of Continental car parts maker Brabant Alucast for €53 million (£47 million).
  • The Times (Comment): Britain must steel itself for the painful fallout of Trump’s trade tariffs.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): China’s attempt to overtake US as world’s biggest economy may fail.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): The new boss of the Fed is walking a tightrope.

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