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Wednesday Papers: Brussels hints at retreat on ringfencing

Wednesday Papers: Brussels hints at retreat on ringfencing

Top stories

  • Financial Times: The European commissioner in charge of regulatory reform of the region’s banks has signalled a retreat from plans to force lenders to build barriers around their securities trading operations, as policy makers focus on stimulating growth.
  • Financial Times: India’s finance minister Palaniappan Chidambaram is confident that a $2.6 billion tax dispute with Vodafone is close to being settled as the Indian government attempts to win back international investor confidence.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The Swiss government has paid UK taxman £340 million as part of a tax deal between the UK and Switzerland, Chancellor George Osborne disclosed.
  • The Guardian: Anglo American is writing $4 billion off the value of the troubled Brazilian iron ore project that led chief executive Cynthia Carroll to announce her resignation last year.
  • The Guardian: A division of Royal Bank of Scotland might be forced to plead guilty to criminal charges in the US for rigging Libor as part of its settlement for manipulating the key interest rate.
  • The Independent: The Financial Reporting Council, the accounting watchdog, has abandoned the case against Ernst & Young over its role as auditor of the collapsed investment bank Lehman Brothers.
  • Financial Times: BP has been given approval from a US judge for its $4 billion settlement with the US Department of Justice over the criminal action resulting from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010, after pleading guilty to 14 charges.
  • Financial Times: Ashti Hawrami, the Kurdish minister of natural resources, has said BP risked putting itself in the “frontline” of a conflict between Baghdad and the Kurds if it proceeded with plans to revive a vast oilfield in disputed territory in northern Iraq.
  • Financial Times: SoftBank’s proposed $20 billion deal for 70% of US wireless operator Sprint faced mixed news in Washington on Tuesday, as a competitor said it would not protest the deal but government agencies reviewing it said they needed more time.
  • The Guardian: Barclays is preparing to hand its chief executive Antony Jenkins a bonus of at least £1 million for 2012 – a year when the bank was fined £290 million for its part in the Libor-rigging scandal and set aside a further £1 billion for mis-selling payment protection insurance.
  • The Independent: Richard Handler, the head of the investment bank Jefferies, raked in $19 million for the 2012 fiscal year, putting him ahead of JP Morgan's Jamie Dimon, whose paycheck was cut to $11.5 million owing to the "London Whale" trading loss.
  • Financial Times: Apple has doubled the maximum storage for its iPad in an apparent attempt to win over more business customers who may otherwise be tempted by Microsoft’s Surface or the many Windows 8 laptop-tablet hybrids arriving on the market.
  • Financial Times: YouTube plans to start selling subscriptions to some channels on its video platform, throwing the Google-owned site into direct competition with cable television and streaming services such as Netflix.
  • Financial Times: Amazon, the world’s biggest online retailer by sales, said its revenues grew by 22% to $21.3 billion in the three months to the end of December, almost $1 billion short of Wall Street expectations.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Oil-rich emirate Qatar has put its vast £3billion Chelsea Barracks property project under review on fears over Britain's flatlining economy
  • Financial Times: Mystery continues to surround the first of two battery fires that grounded all of Boeing’s super-advanced 787 aircraft, after investigators said they had completed a key phase of their examination without revealing the fire’s cause.

Business and economics

  • The Guardian: Thousands of families in the UK could be deprived of compensation for the death or harm of a relative caused by the diabetes drug Avandia, even though GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to pay billions of dollars to settle similar claims in the US.
  • Financial Times: Royal Bank of Scotland is winding down its mergers and acquisitions business after failing to secure a buyer for the division, which pulled in $436 million in annual fees at its zenith six years ago.
  • Financial Times: UBS and Credit Suisse, which dominate the powerful Zurich-based physical gold market, have hiked their charges for holding the metal, as they seek to reduce the size of their balance sheets.
  • The Independent: The US Internal Revenue Service is to go after Americans suspected of hiding their income in the now-defunct Swiss bank Wegelin after a judge authorised the taxman to seek records from UBS.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The Bank of England's £375 billion policy of quantitative easing has left companies having to find £90 billion to fill pension fund deficits, MPs were told.
  • Financial Times: The eurozone’s biggest economies would raise €30 billion to €35 billion from their planned levy on financial transactions, according to an expansive European Commission proposal that ensnares trades executed in London, New York or Hong Kong.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Britain risks seeing its standard of living hit if it leaves the European Union, according to Mohamed El-Erian, the head of the world’s largest bond fund.
  • Financial Times: The government of Brazil’s richest state, São Paulo, will on Tuesday kick off a roadshow in London in which it will be seeking private investors for three prison contracts worth a total of R$750 million ($375 million) as part of an overall infrastructure package worth R$40 billion.
  • Financial Times: Tuesday brought further evidence that the house price recovery is picking up steam in the US as the S&P/Case-Shiller index rose by 5.5% on a year ago, its most rapid ascent since August 2006.
  • Financial Times: Banks are seeing a resurgence of interest in trading foreign currencies as sharp declines in the Japanese yen, Swiss franc and UK pound have brought investors back to the forex market.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Anglo American Platinum, the world's largest platinum producer, has delayed a restructuring that could lead to 14,000 jobs cut to allow further talks with the South African government and unions.
  • Financial Times: Pramerica and Cairn Capital are both looking for the glory of arranging the first new collateralised loan obligation since 2007, attempting to drum up support from investors ahead of the official launch of the €300-€400 million deals as early as next month.
  • The Guardian: Private equity group 3i has put shareholders on alert that turnaround specialists Sherborne Investors have been buying shares in the company.
  • Financial Times: Eric Gleacher has left Gleacher & Company, the boutique investment bank he founded more than 20 years ago, throwing into question the future of the firm, which had been exploring a sale.
  • Financial Times: Ford, the US’s second-biggest carmaker by sales, has vowed to maintain investment in Europe even after a $1.75 billion pre-tax loss in the continent in 2012 and still-deeper projected losses this year.
  • The Independent: British American Tobacco, the cigarette maker, scored a coup by appointing to its board Dr Richard Tubb one of the world's most famous doctors who was the White House physician for 14 years, serving Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama.
  • The Independent: British Land's chief executive, Chris Grigg, has ruled out a swoop to buy back the 50% stake in Broadgate, the City's biggest office estate, that it sold near the bottom of the market to Blackstone three years ago.
  • The Guardian: Ragdoll Ltd has reported a significant increase in losses to almost £4 million in its latest financial results and has put its sales joint venture with BBC Worldwide up for sale.
  • Financial Times: Aubrey McClendon, the controversial chief executive of Chesapeake Energy, the second-largest gas producer in the US, is to leave the company in April following what he described as “philosophical differences” with the board.
  • The Independent: Bradford-based grocer Morrisons suffered a 3.7% fall in food and drink sales over the four weeks to 20 January, according to Kantar Worldpanel, which suggests it has lost market share to a revitalised Tesco.
  • The Independent: PZ Cussons delivered a 3.3% leap in profits to £40.6 million in the six months to 30 November, boosted by "robust" demand for Imperial Leather soap in the UK and a strong performance on its Cussons baby range in Asia.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The flooring retailer Carpetright has boosted hopes of a recovery in consumer confidence in the UK after reporting a 3.2% rise in like-for-like sales, its best performance for more than three years.
  • The Independent: William Hill posted a 20% surge in operating profits on a 12% rise in revenues in 2012.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Chinese group Wanxiang has been granted approval by US authorities to buy the civil business of A123 Systems, the Massachusetts-based advanced battery manufacturer, for $257 million.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The cycling retail boom driven by the success of the London 2012 Olympics has continued after The Hut Group, which is backed by Sir Stuart Rose and Sir Terry Leahy, acquired accessories business
  • The Independent: The private equity firms Apollo Global Management and C Dean Metropoulos are believed to be near a deal to buy snack cake brands including Twinkies and Donettes from the bankrupt Hostess Brands.
  • The Independent: The Hut, an online retailer backed by the former bosses of Marks & Spencer and Tesco, has bought a bike accessories website, in its latest acquisition ahead of a possible flotation this year.
  • The Guardian (Comment): For too long we have been told individuals control their own destinies when the reality is poverty and inequality are structural.
  • The Guardian (Comment): Going after a foreign bank for an obscure scandal only highlights how US regulators failed to pursue Wall Street's real offenders.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): There is no attitude more shameful and debilitating than defeatism, as Britain learnt at great cost in the 1970s, when managing decline became our crumbling establishment's default strategy.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Amazon: shares rise despite fall in sales growth due to higher than expected operating margin but if revenue growth continues to decelerate, the stock will crack.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Ford: in the US sales of new light vehicles are rebounding and the company foresees a growing industry in 2013, although losses in Europe continue to impact.
  • Financial Times (Lex): VMware: software group’s slowing growth nearly inevitable in company of its size so investors who can’t handle a little volatility shouldn’t own the stocks.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Sensex and sensibility: investors have been pouring money into India over the past 12 months but are they getting ahead of themselves?

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