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Friday Papers: Icahn buys $1bn more Apple shares

Friday Papers: Icahn buys $1bn more Apple shares

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Carl Icahn said in a Twitter posting that he had invested another $1 billion into Apple in the last two weeks, taking his total holding to $3.6 billion; he also called the iPhone maker “perhaps the most overcapitalised company in corporate history” in a 3,000-word letter arguing for a $50 billion share buyback scheme.
  • The Independent: Extreme allegations that Royal Bank of Scotland tipped viable businesses into bankruptcy were described as "plausible" because of its "flawed" structure by a former deputy governor of the Bank of England on Thursday.
  • Financial Times: McKesson, the US drug distributor, has won its hard-fought takeover of Celesio in a deal that values the German pharmaceutical group at $8.6 billion, including debt.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Former Co-op Bank deputy chairmen, Rodney Baker-Bates and David Davies, are to give evidence to MPs in one of the last hearings of the Treasury Select Committee's investigation into the lender's failed bid for the Project Verde branches.
  • Financial Times: Microsoft announced revenue of $24.5 billion, higher than analysts’ average estimate of $23.7 billion; GAAP earnings per share edged up from 76 cents to 78 cents, more than the 68 cent consensus forecast.
  • Financial Times: T Rowe Price, one of Time Warner Cable’s largest shareholders, has written to the company urging it to engage with Charter Communications over its smaller rival’s unsolicited $61 billion takeover proposal.
  • Financial Times: Royal Dutch Shell’s plans to drill for oil off the coast of Alaska face further delays after a US appeals court said the government acted illegally in opening up nearly 30 million acres of US Arctic waters to oil exploration six years ago.
  • Daily Mail: City regulators are considering whether to slap outsourcing group Capita with an order to pay more than £100 million to investors in a collapsed fund it operated.
  • Financial Times: Chinese computer maker Lenovo announced it would acquire IBM’s industry-standard x86 server business, in an agreement valued at $2.3 billion in cash and stock.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Mark Carney, Bank of England governor, has signalled that his policy of linking interest rates to the unemployment rate will be buried less than six months after its birth.
  • Financial Times: The US is reigniting a trade battle over solar panels by launching a probe into allegations that Chinese manufacturers have tried to evade anti-dumping duties by making products in Taiwan.
  • Financial Times: Argentina’s peso suffered its biggest one-day fall since a 2002 financial crisis after the country’s central bank scaled back support for the currency in an effort to preserve foreign exchange reserves that have fallen by almost a third over the past year.
  • Financial Times: The US Treasury Department said on Thursday it will sell $15 billion in floating-rate notes, FRNs, maturing in two years at an inaugural auction next week.
  • Financial Times: US public companies operating in China could be hit by a ruling that bans the Chinese units of the Big Four global auditing firms from working on US-listed companies for six months.
  • Financial Times: Total capital expenditure by US’ non-financial companies in the S&P 500 index is forecast to rise by just 1.2% in the 12 months to October—the slowest pace in four years--according to Factset, in a sign of corporate caution over the outlook for global demand.
  • Financial Times: The UK government is opening a round for offshore oil and gas licences on Friday, hoping to stimulate a North Sea industry hit by falling production and rising costs.
  • The Guardian: Tens of thousands of platinum miners went on strike in South Africa on Thursday, seeking higher wages and disrupting one of the country's major industries.
  • The Guardian: SSE reignited the simmering row over high energy prices when it said that it was on course for a substantial increase in profits to more than £1.5 billion and re-issued a call for more of its social and environmental burdens to be transferred to the taxpayer.
  • Financial Times: Net profit of Starbucks rose 25% to $540 million, or 71 cents a share, in its fiscal first quarter to December 29, from $432 million, or 57 cents a share, a year ago; revenues rose 12% to $4.24 billion, compared with Wall Street’s forecast of $4.29 billion.
  • Daily Mail: EasyJet's ability to attract cost-conscious business travellers helped the airline post a 7.7% rise in revenue.
  • The Independent: EasyJet shares plummeted after the budget airline said its revenues are likely to be about £25 million lower in the six months ending March 31 because this year’s Easter holiday falls in April.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Samsung said October to December operating profit fell 6%--its first decline in quarterly profit in two years--hit by slowing smartphone sales.
  • Daily Mail: Computer giant Hewlett Packard could be looking to settle its legal battle with shareholders over the £7 billion acquisition of British software maker Autonomy.
  • The Guardian: The US owner of Cadbury is considering investing about £75 million to upgrade and modernise facilities at its Bournville site.
  • Financial Times: A London based property developer has secured the world’s largest peer-to-peer loan, as hundreds of private investors clubbed together to provide just over £4 million through online platform LendInvest.
  • Financial Times: St James’s Place disclosed on Thursday it had won another 40,000 clients in 2013 - who have between £50,000 and £100,000 to invest - resulting in net inflows of £4.3 billion over the period.
  • The Independent: NewsCred, a marketing technology firm that creates and licenses editorial content for businesses, was today valued at an estimated £120 million after it raised £15 million to expand in London.
  • Financial Times: China has overtaken India as the world’s largest gold consumer thanks to soaring purchases of jewellery, minted Panda coins and small gold bars.
  • The Guardian: The Cambridge Satchel Company, which housewife turned entrepreneur Julie Deane started from her kitchen table, has received a $21 million investment that will carry the brand overseas and into new products.
  • Financial Times: Patrick Piana, a top-tier executive at French spirits group Rémy Cointreau, is to leave the group, adding to the uncertainty over company strategy at a time of falling sales in Asia.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Daily Telegraph (Questor share tip): Petra Diamonds is increasing production as prices stabilise.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Questor share tip): AG Barr still a core holding; Scottish based fizzy drinks maker enjoys strong sales over the festive period.
  • Financial Times: The surge in European initial public offerings in the second half of last year is set to accelerate, according to new forecasts, as investors seek stocks that can benefit from economic recovery.
  • The Guardian (Comment): If Haji-Ioannou meant what he said a year ago about more aircraft being a "vanity exercise" that risked destroying shareholder value, why isn't he selling when the share price is so much higher?
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): If energy company SSE truly has "an appetitie for reform", why did it bury its profit forecast?
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): BlackBerry still has a long way to go to convince people its phones are cool.
  • Daily Mail (Comment – Alex Brummer): The dividend forecast, earnings per share and profits prospect are by far the most critical pieces of hard information for investors and should have been highlighted at the top of the Regulatory News Service statement.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Ebay / PayPal: Icahn’s proposal for a spin-off smacks of opportunism
  • Financial Times (Lex): P2P Lending: Investors’ money needs to be secure
  • Financial Times (Lex): Chinese audits: Investors’ best hope is that any SEC ban kicks in after full-year filings
  • Financial Times (Lex): IBM: What it sells is less important than what it goes on to invest in

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