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Wednesday Papers: Barclays tumbles after dividend cut

And euro depression is 'deliberate' EU choice, says former Bank of England chief.

Wednesday Papers: Barclays tumbles after dividend cut

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Shares in Barclays fell more than 8%, shedding £2.3 billion of market value, after it announced a more than 50% cut in its dividend for the next two years to conserve capital and absorb losses from toxic assets.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Europe's deep economic malaise is the result of "deliberate" policy choices made by EU elites, according to the former governor of the Bank of England Lord Mervyn King.
  • Financial Times: Intercontinental Exchange said it was considering bidding for the London Stock Exchange, just days after Deutsche Börse revealed friendly merger plans with the UK bourse.
  • The Guardian: Sports Direct has been relegated from the FTSE 100 following a torrid three months in which £1.6 billion has been wiped from the retailer’s value.
  • The Guardian: The combined wealth of the 20 richest people on the planet has fallen by more than $70 billion (£50 billion) following a slump on global financial markets.
  • Financial Times: Royal Dutch Shell’s environmental record will come under renewed fire on Wednesday in two cases that will test the ability of aggrieved communities in Nigeria to use UK courts to hold the company to account.
  • The Times: Glencore claimed yesterday that demand from China was picking up, even as it slumped to a $5.1 billion annual loss.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Europe could see €28 billion wiped off the value of its economies as it faces the imminent collapse of the Schengen system of open borders, according to a leading investment bank.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Schroders is poised to announce that Michael Dobson will step down as chief executive after more than 14 years running Europe’s second-largest listed asset manager.
  • Daily Mail: Ford’s most senior executive in Europe said hundreds of workers at its plants in the UK and Germany are set to leave as part of a voluntary redundancy scheme.
  • Financial Times: Brazilian police have arrested Facebook’s vice-president for Latin America after claims the social network refused to co-operate with an investigation into drug trafficking, marking a fresh tussle between US technology groups and law enforcement agencies.
  • Financial Times: Japan crossed a “financial rubicon” on Tuesday as the country sold new 10-year bonds with a yield below zero for the first time at a government auction.
  • The Guardian: Australia’s economy has weathered the end of the mining boom more strongly than expected after official figures showed that it grew by 3% in 2015.
  • The Guardian: China’s factories have stumbled through last month’s new year celebrations to join a broad decline in manufacturing across Europe and the US, adding further evidence of sharp downturn in the global economy since the beginning of the year.
  • Financial Times: BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has warned that Britain’s economy would be hit hard by a vote to leave the EU, with equities, sterling and the London property market all likely to suffer.
  • The Independent: UK Oil & Gas said the latest test at the Horse Hill-1 well in Surrey showed oil flowing at more than 900 barrels a day, double the rate seen a fortnight ago from deeper reserves.
  • The Independent: Antony Jenkins, Barclays former chief executive, is to receive a bonus of half a million pound taking his total remuneration to £3.4 million for 2015, despite being ousted last summer.
  • Financial Times: The consulting arms of the Big Four professional services firms continue to grow faster than the wider market, in a sign that their investment beyond the core business of audit is paying off, according to a new report.
  • Financial Times: Moneysupermarket, the UK’s largest price comparison site, reported that its insurance business slowed in 2015 as it faced a marketing war against rivals including Gocompare and Compare The Market.
  • The Guardian: Liverpool have said that Jürgen Klopp will be given substantial funds to overhaul his squad this summer after the club’s latest accounts underlined the financial recovery under Fenway Sports Group.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Legal & General believes Brexit would have "little direct impact" on its business, although the company added that a vote to leave the European Union would create uncertainty for markets and the broader UK economy.
  • The Times: Lego – the maker of toy bricks, figurines and themed sets – has recorded the best performance in its 82-year history; its net profit had jumped by nearly a third to DKr9.2 billion (£959 million) on a revenue increase of 25% to DKr 35.8 billion last year.
  • The Independent: Greggs is set to axe 355 jobs as it shuts three of its 12 regional bakeries to continue its shift away from being a traditional bakery business towards being a food-on-the-go specialist, tapping into the £6 billion-a-year lunchtime market.
  • The Times: Despite the market flight to safe havens such as gold and silver, the precious metals miner Fresnillo warned that it could not predict a return to higher prices; the company reported profits of $212 million, down from $251 million in 2014, reflecting lower prices for its silver and gold.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Moody’s has cut the credit ratings of independent explorer Enquest and downgraded oil drill operator Seadrill, warning that ratings pressure will persist for European oil firms as market price falls continue to sap cash flow.
  • Financial Times: AT&T plans to start selling a version of DirecTV, its premium television service, to customers without a satellite dish via smartphones and other devices.
  • Financial Times: Regus said it expanded its network of serviced offices by a fifth in 2015 — betting on a sustained global trend towards flexible workspaces, after enjoying strong demand for its premises.
  • Financial Times: Just Eat sales grew more than 50% last year even as rivals stepped up competition in the crowded food delivery market.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Times (Tempus share tips): BUY Regus for long term; BUY Ashtead Group; AVOID for now.
  • The Times: Anheuser-Busch InBev is poised to announce plans to sell a 49% stake in Snow beer, of China, as it seeks to resolve potential regulatory barriers to its £71 billion takeover of SABMiller.
  • Financial Times: A unit of South African retailing group Steinhoff International is considering a bid for UK-listed white goods chain Darty, a move that would scupper the latter’s already agreed sale to France’s Fnac.
  • Financial Times: Honeywell launched a fresh round of criticism of United Technologies as it scrapped its proposed $90 billion offer for its rival, citing its unwillingness to engage in negotiations.
  • Financial Times: Tullett Prebon’s planned purchase of rival ICAP’s global broking business is set to take another step forward after both companies signalled they would put the deal to shareholder votes.
  • The Times (Comment): Twitter may never generate any profit #whybother.
  • The Times (Comment): The only thing economies have to fear is fear itself.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): There should only be one question we are asking of the LSE merger - is it safe?
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Argentina tried to fight the financial world - and lost miserably.
  • Financial Times (Lex): US asset managers: bad returns and high fees have caught up with the sector.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Glencore: if mining company can cut debt further, its future looks secure.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Hewlett-Packard: at the tech group, targets and bonuses are linked.
  • Financial Times (Lex): London Stock Exchange: arival bid for the UK stock market would be a straight takeover.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Barclays: leaving Africa and cutting the dividend both make sense.

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