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Friday Papers: ECB ‘ready’ for more action after rate cut

Friday Papers: ECB ‘ready’ for more action after rate cut

Top stories

  • Financial Times: The European Central Bank cut its main interest rate by a quarter percentage point to 0.50% on Thursday, but opposition from a German official in the bank’s inner sanctum highlighted the constraints to further action.
  • The Daily Telegraph: HMRC is accused of letting Goldman Sachs off £20 million in tax in a "sweetheart" deal to avoid "major embarrassment" for George Osborne after the US investment bank went "off the deep end" and threatened to abandon the Chancellor's Bank Code.
  • Financial Times: Sir Philip Hampton, chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland, will announce on Friday that the state-backed bank will be ready to start preparing information on a share sale as soon as next year.
  • Financial Times: Twitter has fuelled speculation that it is preparing for an initial public offering by naming Cynthia Gaylor, a Morgan Stanley investment banker who has worked on deals for Facebook, LinkedIn and Zynga, as its head of corporate development.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Ivan Glasenberg, chief executive of Glencore, signalled job losses lie ahead as the commodity trader completed its £50 billion tie-up with miner Xstrata.
  • The Guardian: France Telecom has castigated the government, its largest shareholder, for derailing its plan to sell a majority stake in video-sharing website Dailymotion, reigniting debate about state interference in the French economy.
  • The Independent: George Osborne ordered that the UK's financial regulator be kept in the dark about his new scheme to underwrite billions of pounds of new mortgages, The Independent can reveal.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Shell has crushed any hopes it might kickstart a British shale gas boom, saying nobody knows whether shale will succeed in the UK and it has no desire to be the company that tries to find out.
  • Financial Times: Three senior executives at Royal Dutch Shell - Marvin Odum, Andy Brown and Simon Henry - have been identified by shareholders and analysts as potential successors to Peter Voser, who announced he would be stepping down as chief executive next year after five years in the post.
  • Financial Times: Intel has promoted 30-year veteran Brian Krzanich to the role of chief executive, as the world’s largest chipmaker by sales navigates a post-PC world dominated by smartphones and other mobile devices.
  • Financial Times: Sir David Cooksey, the chairman of Eurasian Natural Resources Corp at the time of the FTSE 100 miner’s London flotation, resigned in 2009 after a disagreement with controlling shareholders, say people close to the matter.
  • The Guardian: Activist investor Knight Vinke has reopened the debate about investment banking by calling on the Swiss bank UBS to sell off its casino investment banking arm to its employees.
  • Financial Times: Warren Buffett, who will this weekend address thousands of Berkshire Hathaway shareholders gathered in Omaha, Nebraska, to hear the wisdom of its chairman, gained an even larger audience on Thursday when he became the latest high profile figure to use Twitter.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Former Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond has hit out at Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King, who he says had "no authority" to push him out of the bank following the Libor scandal.
  • The Guardian: Mark King, the head of Rolls-Royce's aerospace division, has resigned just four months after being promoted to lead the division beset by bribery and corruption allegations.
  • Financial Times: Ikea finally won approval to open its flat-pack furniture stores in India, ending the Swedish retailer’s seven-year battle to enter the country.

Business and economics

  • Daily Mail: British Chancellor George Osborne was last night said to be prepared to defy the International Monetary Fund if it calls for austerity to be ditched this month.
  • Financial Times: Barack Obama has nominated as commerce secretary Penny Pritzker, the Chicago businesswoman and heiress to the Hyatt hotel empire who helped finance his rise to the White House.
  • Financial Times: The Chinese renminbi marched to a record high of 6.1537 against the US dollar on Thursday.
  • Financial Times: The euro dropped sharply against other major currencies after Mario Draghi, European Central Bank president, said that members of the central bank had an “open mind” over whether to introduce negative interest rates on eurozone deposits.
  • Financial Times: Slovenia issued $3.5 billion of bonds on Thursday, ameliorating concerns that the small Alpine country will have to be bailed out by the eurozone to pay for its banking sector clean-up.
  • Financial Times: Board members at the Bank of Japan voiced fears over the consequences of the “massive” monetary easing unleashed by governor Haruhiko Kuroda last month, minutes published on Thursday showed.
  • Financial Times: Japan is set to build its first overseas nuclear power station since the Fukushima disaster two years ago, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe due to sign an agreement with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his Turkish counterpart.
  • The Independent: The Local Authority Pension Fund Forum is calling on its members to vote against the FTSE 100 companies' remuneration reports at their upcoming shareholder meetings amid concern over the total payouts executives could receive.
  • Financial Times: AIG’s first-quarter net income fell from $3.2 billion at the start of 2012 to $2.2 billion; but the prior year’s results were flattered by gains of $3 billion from investments, including a stake in AIA, the Asian insurer, which have since been sold.
  • The Independent: BMW’s pre-tax profits fell 3% to €1.3 billion in the first quarter; sales at the group were down 4.1% at €17.5 billion as Europe lingered in the economic doldrums.
  • The Guardian: Satellite company Inmarsat suffered one of the biggest shareholder revolts of the year when 36% of investors voted against a £1.4 million pay deal for chairman Andrew Sukawaty at the group's annual shareholders meeting held in London.
  • Financial Times: Imagination Technologies, whose intellectual property is used to design microchips, said that licensing revenues had fallen a fifth to about £27 million in the year to April; its shares closed down 25.7%, at 315.4 pence, their lowest level since August 2011.
  • The Independent: Heightened political tension in Seoul, large refurbishment closures and bad winters either side of the Atlantic saw profits at the international hotel group Millennium & Copthorne drop 35% to £16.9 million in the first three months of the year.
  • Financial Times: SAC Capital, the $15 billion hedge fund at the heart of a wide-ranging investigation into insider trading, said it would claw back bonuses for any staff facing regulatory or criminal sanctions.
  • The Daily Telegraph: BSkyB has reported a 6% rise in revenues to £5.38 billion in the first nine months of the year, strengthening its position as it prepares for BT's attack in the pay TV market with the launch of BT Sport this summer.
  • Financial Times: LinkedIn reported first-quarter earnings per share of 45 cents on revenues of $324.7 million, well ahead of consensus projections of 31 cents in earnings per share on $317 million in revenues; it issued revenue guidance for the second quarter in the range of $342 million to $347 million, while analysts had forecast $359 million.
  • Financial Times: Resolution said Phil Hodkinson, finance director of HBOS between 2005 and 2007, would retire this month after five years on the board of the FTSE 100 company.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Google has made a rare incursion into the financial services industry, taking an undisclosed stake in fast-growing online loans company Lending Club.
  • Financial Times: Temasek, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, is poised to take a stake worth around $500 million in Markit, the UK data provider that has become an influential force in financial markets in recent years.
  • The Guardian (Comment): It's time to abandon the pursuit of growth in wealthy nations and consider a new strategy – to improve quality of life without expanding consumption.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Italy should use its gold reserves to force a change in the policy of Economic and Monetary Union of the EU.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): America cannot rest on its laurels as a magnet for foreign investment.
  • Daily Mail (Comment – Alex Brummer): Bob Diamond seeks sympathy vote but is he right to bemoan dismissal?
  • Financial Times (Lex): Shell CEO: The Anglo-Dutch oil major’s chief executive is stepping down after five years in the job. His successor should be given more time at the top.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Siemens: German conglomerate is suffering due to the weak global economy, but ensuing air of disappointment after its latest results overshadowed some pluses.
  • Financial Times (Lex): GM: The US car industry is in excellent shape. Both GM and Ford beat April monthly sales estimates, but Ford’s grew 18% versus 11% for GM.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Yelp: First-quarter earnings showed strong growth in key areas but it will need sustained growth of about 40% to justify its share rating.

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