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Saturday Papers: US shrugs off fiscal concerns

Saturday Papers: US shrugs off fiscal concerns

Top stories

  • Financial Times: The US economy shrugged off concerns about the fiscal cliff as it started 2013 with 155,000 new jobs and rising confidence in the services sector.
  • Financial Times: US stocks closed at their highest level since December 2007 after a report showed that hiring held up last month; the S&P 500 climbed 4.6% to 1,466 for the week; the Nasdaq rose 4.8% to 3,102 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average moved 3.8% higher to 13,435.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Mining giant Anglo American has agreed to sell its 70% stake in the Amapa iron ore mine in Brazil to Zamin Ferrous, bringing the total raised from its disposal programme since 2009 to more than $5 billion.
  • Financial Times: The private equity-owned Virgin Megastore France, which employs about 1,000 people in the country, is planning to declare itself insolvent next week.
  • Financial Times: One of the partners at STJ Advisors, the boutique advisory group, received a more than 12-fold increase in pay to £1.9 million last year despite falling profits.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Price of basic food items could rise by as much as 5% because of miserable weather last autumn, managing director of Waitrose says.
  • Financial Times: Goldman Sachs is seeking nearly $7 million from Rajat Gupta, a former board member convicted of insider trading to cover its legal fees and expenses, following a judge’s description of the bank as a “victim” of the crime.
  • The Independent: The troubled toy maker Hornby appointed a new finance director yesterday as the company looks to steam ahead with a recovery from its Olympic mis-step.
  • Financial Times: Elliott Management, the $20.5 billion hedge fund, has disclosed an investigation by a French regulator into alleged insider trading by its UK unit during 2010 in the shares of Autoroutes Paris-Rhin-Rhône, a French toll road company.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Hulu, owned by News Corp, Walt Disney and Comcast, is looking for a new chief executive after Jason Kilar announced he was leaving the online video service, one of the biggest in the US.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Reader's Digest UK, the staple of doctors' waiting rooms, is facing administration less than three years after being rescued by private equity veteran Jon Moulton.
  • Financial Times: Last year’s wet summer has damped sales at Marshalls, the UK supplier of stone and concrete landscaping materials.
  • Financial Times: Industry data shows that M&S suffered a decline in clothing sales in the 24 weeks to 25 November.
  • Financial Times: The average yield on US junk-rated debt fell below 6% for the first time this week.
  • Financial Times: David Sokol, formerly one of Warren Buffett’s top lieutenants at Berkshire Hathaway, has been told by regulators that he will face no action relating to a scandal that forced him to resign from the investment company in 2011.
  • Financial Times: Precious metals came under selling pressure on Thursday after the release of the Federal Open Market Committee’s minutes showed members were split on whether to keep buying assets until the end of 2013.
  • Financial Times: Congress has approved a partial aid package for victims of superstorm Sandy; the $9.7 billion measure will be used to pay flood insurance claims by homeowners who had paid premiums for coverage.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Mortgage approvals have reached a 10-month high, adding to evidence that lending to the housing market is improving.
  • Daily Mail: Switzerland's oldest bank, Wegelin, is to close down after it pleaded guilty to helping Americans dodge their taxes.
  • Financial Times: The City watchdog has levied its first fine against the Co-operative Bank, saying the banking arm of the Co-operative Group failed to handle some complaints about payment protection insurance fairly.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Wentworth, the exclusive Surrey golf club owned by restaurateur Richard Caring, saw turnover rise 13% last year as it attracted more members to its tennis and health club.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Britain's services sector shrank for the first time in two years in December, increasing the likelihood that the country is "triple-dipping" back into a recession.
  • The Independent: Credit Suisse, one of the biggest investment banks in London, is set to pay its bankers bonuses in the risky debt they helped create, in a scheme that could reignite controversy over pay in the finance sector.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Ireland's unemployment rate held steady at 14.6% in December, unchanged from November, as the number of people claiming jobless benefits dropped.
  • The Guardian: BT has upped the prices of its home phone and broadband services, leaving customers paying almost 6% more than last year.
  • The Daily Telegraph: WM Morrison, Britain's fourth largest supermarket group, has turned to Ant & Dec to try to revive flagging sales.
  • The Independent: Johnson Service has toasted the first sales growth at its dry-cleaning business for years, following a restructuring that saw it exit 100 unprofitable stores in the past 12 months.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Admiral Taverns, one of the UK’s biggest pub groups, has been bought by US-based private equity group Cerberus in a deal worth about £200 million.
  • Financial Times: JC Flowers has teamed up with Apollo, one of the world’s largest buyout houses, to bid for 316 Royal Bank of Scotland branches put back up for sale in October after a proposed deal with Spain’s Santander collapsed.
  • Financial Times: Roman Abramovich, the billionaire owner of Chelsea Football Club, has invested £5 million in Oxford Catalysts, a small UK technology company that specialises in turning natural gas into synthetic liquid fuels.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Shareholders in Arqiva, the company which runs most of Britain's television broadcasting towers, are to plough £400 million of fresh equity into the company as part of an agreement to refinance its £3.7 billion debt pile.
  • The Independent: More than a year after Travelzest put the UK's biggest naturist holiday operator up for sale, it has still failed to find a buyer.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): The UK housing market is deeply divisive, socially and geographically. And some very serious underlying risks are lurking below the seemingly calm surface.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): It is one thing allowing the Co-op to flog oranges. It is quite another to trust it with responsibly steering a complex financial institution.
  • The Independent (Comment): So, what did we learn from furious debate over the fiscal cliff? Lesson number one has to be that even central bankers, despite their reputations for wonkishness, are vulnerable to the occasional bout of melodrama.
  • The Independent (Comment): Talking of the Fed, the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee's December meeting sparked worries that the central bank might tilt towards withdrawing, or even stopping, its bond-buying measures before 2013 is out.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Google / FTC - search group has not been using its data advantage unfairly, but there is an area that is ripe for abuse – content portability.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Carmakers - European manufacturers need help compensating for depressed local markets, while Chinese and US sales advance.

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