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Thursday Papers: Fed links rates to US unemployment

And former British regulator Hector Sants is recruited by Barclays to help repair its reputation.

Thursday Papers: Fed links rates to US unemployment

Top stories

  • Financial Times: The US Federal Reserve will keep interest rates at close to zero until unemployment falls below 6.5% in a historic change to monetary policy.
  • Financial Times: Hector Sants, who stepped down as chief executive of the Financial Services Authority in June, will join Barclays as head of its newly centralised compliance and government relations functions, in a move that rivals admitted was a coup for the bank.
  • Financial Times: Google has nearly doubled the revenues shifted to Bermuda over the past three years to $9.8 billion, according to filings that are likely to fuel the international controversy over the internet search company’s tax affairs.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Google's success in avoiding $2 billion of global income taxes last year was just good capitalism which the company is "very proud of", Eric Schmidt, executive chairman, has said.
  • Financial Times: Berkshire Hathaway said on Wednesday it had spent $1.2 billion buying back 9,200 shares from the estate of a long-term shareholder, and changed its criteria for future buybacks to give Warren Buffett more latitude to repurchase stock.
  • Financial Times: Rebekah Brooks received a compensation package worth £10.9 million after she resigned as chief executive of News International, it emerged on Wednesday, as the editor of The Times resigned from Rupert Murdoch’s UK newspaper group.
  • The Daily Telegraph: HSBC's chief executive has taken a swipe at the bank's previous management after reaching a settlement with US investigators that will see it pay a fine totalling $1.92 billion.
  • Daily Mail: Thousands of innocent bank customers are being branded crooks in Britain because their names have been put on a secret blacklist.
  • Financial Times: Thomson Reuters, the data provider responsible for the administration of Libor, wants to run a toughened new system after being assured by UK regulators that it is not being investigated over attempts to rig global interest rates.
  • Financial Times: Two of Deutsche Bank’s top executives – Jürgen Fitschen, the bank’s co-chief executive, and Stefan Krause, chief financial officer – have been drawn into a tax fraud inquiry by German prosecutors, casting further dark clouds over the country’s largest bank.
  • Financial Times: Bumi, the troubled miner, is backing the Bakries over financier Nat Rothschild as it seeks to end a year-long shareholder war over corporate governance and effect the Indonesian family’s exit from the London-listed company.
  • The Guardian: Inditex, the world's biggest fashion retailer and owner of the Zara brand, is pressing ahead with expansion in China and strengthening its global online business as its Spanish home market becomes less important; the company's core profit rose 25% to €2.78 billion in nine-month period.
  • The Independent: Porsche shifted 128,978 vehicles worldwide in the 11 months to November, beating the 118,868 sold in the whole of last year.
  • Financial Times: French power company EDF has won broad approval from UK safety agencies for its latest designs for nuclear reactors that have attracted controversy because of multibillion euro cost overruns.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: The German government has completed its largest privatisation since the start of the financial crisis, selling a €1.1 billion portfolio of offices, shops and warehouses to Lone Star, the US private equity fund.
  • Financial Times: The interest rate on borrowing unsecured cash for one year in euro wholesale markets dipped below zero for the first time after the European Central Bank last week downgraded steeply its 2013 eurozone growth forecasts.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Spencer Dale, the Bank of England's chief economist, has raised questions about incoming Governor Mark Carney's radical policy ideas to revive growth - warning that they could jeopardise the central bank's credibility.
  • The Guardian: British Business Secretary Vince Cable has admitted that governments are "behind the curve" on corporate tax avoidance and called for more international co-operation to clamp down on multinationals shifting profits to low-tax countries.
  • Financial Times: India’s Congress-led government has bowed to opposition pressure and is appointing a retired judge to investigate the lobbying activities of Walmart, the US retailer, as the company pushed to enter India’s retail market.
  • Financial Times: Investment banks face much tougher regulation when helping companies list in Hong Kong under rules being introduced by the city’s market regulator.
  • The Guardian: The number of mortgages taken out by first-time buyers leapt by 14% to 20,000 in October following a quiet September, according to figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
  • Financial Times: Opec, the oil producing cartel, has left its output target unchanged at 30 million barrels per day, despite concerns about oversupply in the market and soft oil demand as the global economy continues to show signs of weakness.
  • The Guardian: Improving economic conditions in China and the US is likely to result in about 865,000 barrels of extra crude demand during 2013, to reach total consumption to 90.5 million barrels a day, according to the International Energy Agency's latest oil report.
  • Financial Times: BP’s re-emergence as a contender for Abu Dhabi’s vast onshore oil concession is the latest chapter in an unfolding story that reveals much about the Gulf’s changing political landscape and its nexus with foreign businesses.
  • The Guardian: A dispute between Papua New Guinea and Canada's Nautilus Minerals threatens to sink plans to mine gold and other metals for the first time from the ocean floor.
  • Financial Times: PSA Peugeot Citroën expects to cut another 1,500 jobs by the end of 2014, adding to an existing job reduction plan that has prompted intense political opposition in France.
  • The Daily Telegraph: News International ousted James Harding as editor of The Times as it paved the way to merge the newspaper with The Sunday Times, it can be disclosed.
  • The Guardian: SuperGroup made an underlying pre-tax profit of £14.7 million in the six months to 28 October which was in line with analysts' expectations and up from £13 million made in the same period last year.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Stagecoach has rejected allegations by US regulators that its Twin America "hop-on, hop-off" bus sightseeing joint venture in New York City is an illegal monopoly that is overcharging tourists.
  • The Guardian: Darty, Europe's third-largest electrical goods retailer, posted a pre-tax loss of €10.8 million for the six months to the end of October; it reported a profit of €12.1 million a year earlier.
  • Financial Times: Facebook will release new privacy controls next week that step back from the concept of “frictionless sharing”, which its executives touted last year as key to allowing users to more easily reflect “the story of their lives” on Facebook.
  • The Guardian: 888 will offer real-money bingo, casino and slot games through Facebook's UK site, starting with bingo, and the news has pushed the company's shares 9 pence higher to 118.25 pence.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: State-owned oil producer PetroChina has agreed to pay $1.6 billion for a 10% stake in a major offshore Australian natural gas project, Browse, underscoring the growing appetite that is fuelling China’s investment in gas developments around the world.
  • Financial Times: Société Générale is to sell its majority stake in NSGB, its Egyptian bank, to Qatar National Bank for $2 billion, netting the French bank a gain of €350 million and boosting its capital base.
  • The Guardian: Renault-Nissan signs a deal in Moscow on Wednesday to take control over the Russian carmaker Avtovaz by 2014.
  • Financial Times: Walmart is in talks to buy a controlling stake in Turkey’s biggest retailer by sales, in a deal that would value the company at more than $4 billion including debt.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Japanese drinks company Suntory is considering a multi-billion dollar listing of its core food and non-alcoholic beverage division - a move that could pave the way for a $10 billion takeover bid for US bourbon whisky group Beam.
  • Financial Times: Europe’s top competition authority approved the acquisition of France Telecom’s Orange Austria operation by Hong Kong’s Hutchison, but set a series of tough conditions that could still derail the €1.3 billion deal.
  • Financial Times: Carillion, the FTSE 250-listed company, which employs around 45,000 people in the UK, Middle East and Canada, has bought a 49% stake in Bouchier Group, which specialises in road maintenance and facilities management, mostly for customers in the oil sector in Alberta, Canada, for £23.75 million.
  • The Guardian (Editorial): How Barack Obama plays the fight over the fiscal cliff will set the tone for his next term.
  • The Guardian (Comment): Marks & Spencer is the first big brand to hire a model with Down's syndrome. It should be praised for changing perceptions of disability.
  • The Guardian (Comment): A list is now available of more than 8,000 names of women ready, able and qualified to take seats on boards around the world.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Barclays' hiring of Hector Sants is neither bold, decisive nor imaginative.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): It is still six months before Mark Carney takes up his post as Governor of the Bank of England, yet already he’s being forced to learn the hard way about the excitable nature of the British press.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Buffett’s Buyback: the fact that Berkshire raised its value for repurchases may suggest something depressing about the prospects for companies big enough for it to buy.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Barclays: after compliance failures relating to Libor, PPI and interest rates failures, the appointment of Hector Sants should help pull in shareholders.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Inditex: retail group’s margins this year have been driven by the higher proportion of organic sales growth, over costly store expansion, from previous years.
  • Financial Times (Lex): TeliaSonera: Eurasian assets – which account for more than half of group operating profit – are posting good revenue growth overall, but have brought ethical controversy.
  • Financial Times (Lex): IPOs in Hong Kong: under new rules proposed on Wednesday, sponsors of initial public offerings could be sued or even prosecuted for misstatements.

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