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Thursday Papers: First US decline in three years

Thursday Papers: First US decline in three years

Top stories

  • Financial Times: The US economy shrank 0.1% at an annualised rate in the fourth quarter of 2012, the first contraction in three years, rattling financial markets.
  • Financial Times: With the launch of two smartphones running its new operating system, BlackBerry has in effect hit the reboot button; the company, formerly known as RIM, has even renamed itself after its eponymous devices.
  • Financial Times: Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, the US gas and oil pipeline group, is acquiring Copano Energy, another US partnership that operates gas gathering and processing facilities, in an all-paper deal worth about $5 billion.
  • The Independent: Advertising is worth £100 billion a year to the UK economy, far more than previously thought, according to a research by the Advertising Association.
  • Financial Times: Boeing reported revenue of $22.3 billion for the last three months of 2012, up 14% compared with the same time in 2011, as the company delivered more aircraft to customers.
  • Financial Times: A Dutch court ruled on Wednesday that a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell was partly responsible for oil pollution in the Niger Delta, but said the company was not liable for four of the five charges brought against it.
  • The Daily Telegraph: HSBC has appointed a team of heavyweights including a former UK tax chief in a crackdown on financial crime following its $1.9 billion laundering settlement.
  • Financial Times: Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have cooled on attempts to win a full Indian banking licence, in a sign of growing awareness of the costs facing international institutions seeking to expand in Asia’s third-largest economy.
  • Financial Times: The Seattle City Employees’ Retirement System, a US pension fund, with nearly $2 billion in assets is considering selling its holdings in some of the world’s biggest oil and gas companies because of the threat posed by climate change.
  • Financial Times: Revenues of Facebook grew 40% to $1.59 billion in the fourth quarter; it was the first period of accelerating growth for the company in a year.
  • Financial Times: Qualcomm reported record quarterly revenues of $6.02 billion, up 29% on a year ago and ahead of Wall Street expectations of $5.9 billion.
  • The Guardian: Mothercare's UK boss Mike Logue has announced his departure from the company as Mothercare Australia, a business in which the UK-listed company owns a minority stake, called in administrators.
  • Financial Times: LG Electronics, the world’s second-largest television maker by revenue, suffered a net loss of $432 million in the October-December period, as a big fine in the EU for price-fixing outweighed an improved performance in its mobile phone business.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Michael Hasenstab, the bond manager behind some of the boldest bets of the European debt crisis, has issued a stark call to shun government debt in perceived havens such as the US, UK and Germany.
  • The Guardian: Spain’s national statistics office reported on Wednesday that the economy contracted by 0.7% in the final quarter as frightened and increasingly hard-up consumers continued to cut spending.
  • Financial Times: Illinois on Wednesday pulled a $500 million bond sale after a downgrade by Standard & Poor’s heightened concerns about the American state’s inability to improve its finances.
  • The Independent: The Financial Services Authority will announce an investigation on Thursday into the multibillion-pound pensions annuity market amid fears that many people are losing out on thousands of pounds of income a year when they retire.
  • The Guardian: Figures from the Bank of England showed 55,785 homebuyer mortgages were approved in December, against an average of 50,058 for the previous six months.
  • Financial Times: Seven months after taking over from Josef Ackermann at the helm of Deutsche Bank, Anshu Jain and Jürgen Fitschen are steering the same course as their predecessor: they are firmly rejecting the need for the bank to raise more capital.
  • The Guardian: Tesco has sacked Silvercrest, one of its main suppliers, over the horsemeat in burgers scandal.
  • Financial Times: Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group, is set to reject a request by a pilots’ union to meet to discuss a contentious restructuring of Iberia, the group’s loss-making Spanish subsidiary.
  • The Independent: One in five cigarettes smoked in Britain now comes from black-market or duty-free sources, losing the Government more than £3 billion a year, Imperial Tobacco has said as it reported 1% fall in worldwide sales in the first quarter of its financial year.
  • Financial Times: Nestlé, whose clashes with activists over sales of baby milk formula in Africa led to widespread boycotts in the 1980s, has been found liable in a civil case over the secret infiltration of Attac, an anti-globalisation group.
  • The Guardian: Herbalife appears to be preparing to launch a campaign against Bill Ackman, the billionaire activist investor who accused the dietary supplements company of being "the best managed pyramid scheme in the history of the world".
  • Financial Times: Hugh Osmond, the pizza-to-pubs entrepreneur who led efforts to create Phoenix, said the life assurance group had scope to lead a fresh wave of consolidation in the sector after it unveiled plans to repay £450 million of debt.
  • Financial Times: Italy’s market regulator Consob has said it is to look into a sale of shares in Saipem, an Italian oil services group controlled by Eni, ahead of a profit warning that sent the stock tumbling and knocked Italy’s stock market on Wednesday.
  • The Guardian: Toyota is to recall nearly 1.3 million cars worldwide to carry out safety checks, after reports of defects including airbags deploying inadvertently in some models.
  • Financial Times: Knight Capital is exploring a sale of underperforming assets as the US electronic trading firm looks to dispose of certain units ahead of its planned takeover by rival Getco, sources said.
  • The Guardian: Jeremy Joseph, founder of G-A-Y nightclubs and bars, has taken back control of the chain from administrators for HMV.
  • Financial Times: Nintendo on Wednesday cut its projection for Wii U shipments by 27% from 5.5 million to 4 million for the financial year ending in March; it also reduced its sales estimates for portable 3DS and DS players – from 17 million to 15 million and 2.5 million to 2.3 million, respectively.
  • Financial Times: Hennes & Mauritz is examining Australia, Brazil and South Africa as possible new markets in which to expand, as the Swedish purveyor of cheap chic plans to open 325 stores this year.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Sumitomo Corp and KDDI, the controlling shareholders in JCom with about 73% between them, are rebelling against the terms of an agreed $8.6 billion takeover of JCom, Japan’s largest cable TV provider, in what could become a test case for corporate governance in the world’s second biggest equity market.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Investment firm Blackrock has bought 3.3 million shares in Manchester United, giving it an 8% stake.
  • The Guardian (Editorial): It's time for more transparency over wholesale fuel prices and for the Department of Transport to launch a review.
  • The Guardian (Comment): Tim Geithner's reign at the US Treasury involved the dual challenge of firefighting global crises – and beating down Congress.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Stock markets have been surging, but for how much longer can they defy gravity, given evident constraints on growth and the run of disappointing economic indicators and earnings updates?
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Those who think housing remains overpriced must try to put a brave face on paying rent – and learn to live with the irritating thought they are probably helping their landlord buy the place for himself.
  • Daily Mail (Comment – Alex Brummer): In the wake of the ‘great recession’ and the clean-up of the financial system that has followed, the poachers have decided to embrace the gamekeepers.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Facebook: pace of user gains is holding steady in both absolute and percentage terms, which is impressive for a company with a user base of about a billion.
  • Financial Times (Lex): H&M: ashion retailer will have to scale back its expansion plans and stop opening new stores if it is to improve its operating margin and return on equity.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Fiat: Italian carmaker’s 2012 profitability was due to its majority interest in its US affiliate, while the balance sheet constrains choices ahead.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Saipem: Italian oil services group’s profit warning is an unsettling development, with previous management clearly guiding on seriously inflated expectations.

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