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Wednesday Papers: Operators discuss EU telecoms unification

And Jamie Dimon lieutenant moves to fund that beached JP Morgan’s whale.

Wednesday Papers: Operators discuss EU telecoms unification

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Europe’s top telecoms executives are discussing the creation of a pan-European infrastructure network to unite the continent’s fragmented national markets, following prompting from Brussels to consider more radical options.
  • Financial Times: Jes Staley, a long-time lieutenant of Jamie Dimon, has crossed the divide from JP Morgan Chase to BlueMountain Capital Management, one of the hedge funds that brought down the US bank’s trader dubbed the “London whale”.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Goldman Sachs and HSBC are expected to become the latest banks to settle with the US authorities over allegations they improperly foreclosed on homeowners.
  • Financial Times: AIG’s board will on Wednesday consider joining a lawsuit which demands $25 billion in compensation for the dilution inflicted on shareholders when the Federal Reserve Bank of New York took a 79.9% stake in return for $182 billion in loans and guarantees.
  • Financial Times: HSBC’s $9.4 billion sale of its stake in China’s Ping An Insurance has been thrown into doubt after Thai buyer CP Group lost funding for some of the 15.6% shareholding.
  • The Guardian: The Obama administration ordered a sweeping review of Shell's plans to drill in the Arctic on Tuesday, after a series of mishaps ending with the New Year grounding of the company's Kulluk rig.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Coal miner Bumi is to hold an extraordinary general meeting after major shareholder Nat Rothschild called for 12 of the company's 14 directors to stand down.
  • The Independent: Tesco delivered a 6.7% leap in food and drink sales over the four weeks to 23 December; this compares with Asda's growth of 3.7% and a 3.3% rise at Sainsbury's, while Morrisons saw sales fall by 0.6%.
  • Daily Mail: Network Rail has announced a £37.5 billion five-year plan to revamp Britain’s creaking railways.
  • Financial Times: Schroders is jettisoning PwC as its auditor after more than half a century in a sign that big companies are becoming more sensitive to claims they are too cosy with the people vetting their accounts.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Vodafone shareholders could be in line for a windfall, after the boss of US telecoms giant Verizon Communications said it may buy Vodafone out of their joint mobile business.
  • Financial Times: A former senior employee of HBOS and seven other defendants face various charges relating to corruption and fraud in connection to £35 million of bank loans, the Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement on Tuesday.
  • The Guardian: Twitter, which is inching towards an $11 billion US stock market flotation, posted profits of just £16,500 in the much-delayed maiden accounts for its UK subsidiary.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Britain’s wealthy pensioners will no longer be insulated against the full force of austerity measures after the next election, as senior Conservatives prepare to end their pledge to protect universal benefits including £2 billion in winter fuel payments.
  • Financial Times: The US Federal Reserve is weighing a plan that would allow big foreign banks to avoid costly regulatory changes that were meant to prevent derivatives trading from being subsidised by US taxpayers.
  • Financial Times: US oil imports will fall to their lowest level for more than 25 years next year, as production booms while demand grows only slowly, according to a government forecast.
  • Financial Times: Japan is readying an extra budget expected to be the largest since the aftermath of the Lehman crisis, as its new government borrows to boost growth in the sluggish, deflation-prone economy.
  • Financial Times: Eurozone unemployment hit a fresh record of 11.8% in November, official statistics showed on Tuesday, highlighting the dire state of the bloc’s economy in spite of hopes for a gradual recovery this year.
  • Financial Times: The first batch of eurozone government bonds that incorporate clauses that make sovereign debt restructurings easier was sold on Tuesday by the Netherlands, which raised €3.2 billion at an auction of three-year securities.
  • Financial Times: Ireland has raised €2.5 billion through a bond sale, another major step towards economic and financial rehabilitation following Dublin’s eurozone bailout more than two years ago.
  • Financial Times: Companies on the S&P 500 are forecast to deliver earnings growth of 3.3% in the fourth quarter, analysts at S&P Capital IQ said, sharply lower than projections of a 16.5% advance from a year ago.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Britain's biggest pub companies have been accused of “greedy” and “exploitative” behaviour towards their tenant landlords - and face fines for “unfair” treatment of the publicans.
  • The Daily Telegraph: African Barrick Gold was the biggest faller in the FTSE 250 on Tuesday after its Canadian parent ended talks to sell a stake in the gold miner to a Chinese buyer.
  • Financial Times: Aviva is set to fetch more than €400 million by disposing of its remaining stake in Amsterdam-listed Delta Lloyd, a week into the tenure of the UK insurer’s new chief executive.
  • Financial Times: Monsanto said net income rose 170% to $339 million in the three months to 30 November, from $126 million during the same period last year; revenue climbed 21% to $2.94 billion, beating expectations of $2.65 billion.
  • The Daily Telegraph: American Airlines executive Craig Kreeger is to replace Steve Ridgway as the new Virgin Atlantic chief executive, Reuters reported.
  • The Independent: Persimmon's chief executive Mike Farley has called time on a seven-year stint at the helm after successfully steering the housebuilder through the credit crunch.
  • Financial Times: Anglo American has appointed Mark Cutifani to replace Cynthia Carroll as chief executive of the mining company, which has been struggling against its peers in recent years.
  • Financial Times: Boeing’s shares closed 2% lower on Tuesday after a 787 Dreamliner made by the US company had to abandon its planned flight from Boston to Tokyo because of a fuel leak, in the second incident involving the passenger jet in as many days.
  • Financial Times: Samsung Electronics’s operating profit hit a record for the fifth successive quarter, rising 88% from a year earlier to about $8.27 billion, it said in preliminary guidance published on Tuesday.
  • The Guardian: Samsung has unveiled intelligent television sets controlled by voice and gesture commands as it prepares to do battle with Apple in the living room.
  • Financial Times: MMX, founded by billionaire Eike Batista, has been handed a $1.86 billion fine for unpaid taxes.
  • The Guardian: Aldi’s sales shot up by more than 30% in the 12 weeks up to Christmas, driving its share of the groceries market to an all-time high of 3.2%.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Upmarket grocer Waitrose has called time on its advertising tie-up with doyenne of the kitchen Delia Smith, but will continue to work with chef Heston Blumenthal.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Dish Network has topped Sprint’s bid to take full control of wireless provider Clearwire; Dish is offering $2.2 billion for a large swath of spectrum, and $3.30 a share for Clearwire stock.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The Australasian consortium bidding for Stansted has pulled out of the running for the Essex airport, turning the £1 billion-plus bid into a likely two-horse race.
  • The Guardian (Editorial): It used to be called social security. Now it's more often referred to as welfare, a subtle shift in language that gives a discretionary tinge to what should be a universal entitlement.
  • The Guardian (Comment): This economic model isn't delivering jobs or decent wages. The real scroungers are greedy landlords and employers.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Will Verizon and Vodafone grow to love each other or is it divorce?
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): The existential threat to the euro is mass unemployment.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Monsanto: despite astonishing first-quarter numbers, there are clouds on the rural horizon for the genetically modified crop specialist.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Generali: insurer is serious about emerging market growth and keeping focused on core business – instead of dabbling in corporate Italy.
  • Financial Times (Lex): China dividends: the Shanghai Stock Exchange has told its listed companies to pay out 30% of income in dividends, but the rules miss the point.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Zoomlion: Chinese companies need a step-by-step plan in case of attack by a short seller, and must build open relationships with investors.

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