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Friday Papers: Norway’s oil fund to reveal voting intentions

Friday Papers: Norway’s oil fund to reveal voting intentions

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Norway’s $870 billion oil fund, the world’s largest sovereign wealth vehicle, will start publicly declaring how it intends to vote at companies’ annual meetings in a move that will ratchet up pressure on boards in Europe and raise the spectre of a sharp rise in shareholder rebellions.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Pound has soared 13% against the US dollar and 10% against the euro so far this year, wreaking havoc at companies exposed to foreign markets; more than £1.5 billion has been wiped off the year-to-date profits of a string of top multinationals in recent days.
  • Financial Times: One of the world’s largest investors will start publicly declaring how it intends to vote at companies’ annual meetings in a move that will ratchet up pressure on boards in Europe and raise the spectre of a sharp rise in shareholder rebellions.
  • The Guardian: The European Central Bank is accelerating plans to unleash fresh growth-boosting measures as the eurozone's recovery loses steam and the risk increases of a geopolitical shock from the Ukraine crisis.
  • Financial Times: Big US banks will have to offer billions of dollars more in relief to the communities hardest hit by the financial crisis, as US authorities demand new terms for settling claims of mortgage sales abuses.
  • Financial Times: KKR, Blackstone and TPG have agreed to pay $325 million to settle a lawsuit that accused seven private equity groups of conspiring to fix the prices of some of the world’s biggest leveraged buyouts.
  • Financial Times: Stephen Hester, the banker drafted in to turn round insurance group RSA, has warned the group’s shareholders about the risk of further asset writedowns – even after its latest move to shore up its scandal-hit Irish business.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Argentina has filed legal proceedings with UN against Obama government accusing the US of violating its sovereignty over its $1.5 billion default.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: With its independence referendum only six weeks away, Scotland is on the brink of key changes in its relationship with the rest of the UK – even if voters decide to retain the 307-year-old political union with England.
  • Financial Times: The Bank of England has left interest rates at their historic low of 0.5% and will maintain its stock of gilts for a further month, it announced on Thursday; the BoE holds £375 billion of gilts under its quantitative easing programme and has said it will not begin to unwind them until interest rates rise.
  • Financial Times: An independent Scotland would have little scope to offer emergency lending facilities to its banks, raising questions about its likely financial stability, a leading think-tank has found.
  • Financial Times: Moscow’s ban on western food imports poses a grave challenge to the EU, although European pig farmers have shown that a large sector can quickly diversify away from Russia.
  • Financial Times: The world is at risk of another financial crash following a steep rise in asset prices, according to Raghuram Rajan, governor of the Reserve Bank of India – and one of the few people to have warned of the last financial crisis.
  • Financial Times: Australia’s jobless rate has climbed to its highest level in 12 years, underlining the challenges faced by an economy in transition following the end of a decade-long mining investment boom.
  • Financial Times: Several years after the financial crisis and the rounds of loan modifications that followed it is still unclear which communities across the US received mortgage relief from the government’s $50 billion housing settlement.
  • Financial Times: Mortgage finance groups Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reported solid earnings in the second quarter that will allow them to pay $5.6 billion to the US government, despite an absence of the big legal settlements with banks that helped drive previous profits.
  • Financial Times: The UK’s buoyant property market has driven a 15% increase in interim pre-tax profits at Savills, the property adviser, which has reported rising numbers of Londoners selling up and moving outside the capital as values peak.
  • Financial Times: Shares in RSA fell 3% to close at 430.5p as it reported a 72% drop in half-year profits and shares in Aviva, which had sunk as low as 255p before Mark Wilson’s appointment in January last year, rose by more than 2% to 503½p as he presented much healthier figures more than a year and half into his turnround plan.
  • Financial Times: GlaxoSmithKline is closing in on the appointment of Sir Philip Hampton as its next chairman when he steps down from the same role at Royal Bank of Scotland next year.
  • Financial Times: Adidas shareholders saw a 16% slide in net profits in the second quarter of the year as the group repeated its warning that currency effects, conditions in Russia and poor golf sales were taking their toll.
  • Financial Times: Deutsche Telekom rejected Iliad’s $15 billion takeover offer for its US mobile business, as it revealed an increase in profits of more than a third last quarter, driven by an aggressive strategy to grow its American customer base.
  • Financial Times: The crisis engulfing African Bank Investments, South Africa’s biggest provider of unsecured loans, deepened on Thursday as its market value was almost wiped out, with its share price plummeting by record margins to new lows.
  • Financial Times: Shares in Drax Group fell by as much as a tenth on Thursday after the UK’s Court of Appeal backed the government’s right to exclude the operator of Britain’s biggest power generation site from applying for a subsidy scheme aimed at encouraging low-carbon energy schemes.
  • Financial Times: Tom Wheeler, US Federal Communications Commission chairman, wasted no time in welcoming the news of Sprint’s abandonment of a T-Mobile deal.
  • Financial Times: MTN is pressing ahead with plans to acquire a 20-year mobile phone licence in Syria, in spite of the four-year civil conflict in the Arab nation that has seen thousands killed.
  • Financial Times: The buoyant market for initial public offerings in Europe helped stock market operator Euronext report a rise in second-quarter profits, the group’s first results since it became a separate listed company in June.
  • Financial Times: A top executive at Standard Chartered has complained that regulators are treating banks like criminals for lapses, in an interview a day after the group revealed it was being investigated over failed anti-money laundering checks.
  • Financial Times: Rio Tinto has flagged the prospect of material cash returns to investors after the Anglo-Australian miner announced forecast-beating half-year figures and struck a bullish tone on the outlook for iron ore, its most important commodity.
  • Financial Times: Amec trimmed guidance on full-year revenue growth as currency headwinds at the FTSE 100 oil services group led to falls in revenues and profits.
  • Financial Times: Randgold Resources has maintained full-year production guidance of 1.14 million-1.2 million ounces across its portfolio of African gold mines, in spite of a dip in second quarter output and earnings compared with the first three months of the year.
  • Daily Mail: The world’s second largest bottler of Coca-Cola is the latest to feel the effect of the diplomatic tensions between Russia and Ukraine; second-quarter profits increased 6 per cent to £107 million at Coca-Cola HBC – which counts Russia as its biggest market – but shares in the FTSE 100 firm were down 73p to 1302p.
  • Daily Mail: As many as three quarters of people in Britain do their shopping online and over half use internet banking, official data showed today; some 74% of adults have bought goods or services online this year, up from 53% in 2008, as the growth and more widespread access to the internet changes consumers' habits.
  • Daily Mail: Pre-tax profit of 21st Century Fox came in at £830 million, up from £770 million last year, on revenues that were 17% better at £ 5 billion; the increase was founded partly on improvement in its film division, where operating profit almost tripled to £201 million, thanks to films such as X-Men: Days of Future Past.
  • Daily Express: Stonebridge International Insurance, company could be forced to compensate nearly 500,000 customers after being fined over £8.3 million by the City regulator for mis-selling personal accident cover.
  • The Guardian: There was bad news for Tesco's incoming boss Dave Lewis from Unilever on Thursday as Standard & Poor's cut the supermarket's credit rating in the wake of last month's profit warning, sending its shares down to a new 10-year low.
  • The Guardian: In the wake of a rare tactical victory for the White House, Barack Obama on Wednesday evening defended his threat to use controversial presidential powers to prevent companies from avoiding US taxes.
  • The Daily Telegraph: As a British corporate investigator Peter Humphrey goes on trial in Shanghai, his son blamed GlaxoSmithKline for the debacle.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Australian unemployment jumped to 12 year high taking joblessness over US levels while Barclays suggest that methodological issues were responsible for a strong spike in the Australian jobless rate.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Telecom Italia is considering counterbidding against Spain’s Telefónica for Brazilian group GVT in a deal that could involve Vivendi gaining a stake in the Italian telecoms group, according to four people familiar with the matter.
  • Financial Times: Nestlé has revealed a SFr8 billion ($8.8 billion) share buyback programme, as the strength of the Swiss franc weighs on the world’s largest food company’s first-half sales.
  • Daily Mail: InterContinental Hotels (IHG) has sold another trophy asset, boosting its defence against activist investor Marcato Capital Management; the owner of Holiday Inn sold the freehold of Le Grand in Paris for £262 million to Qatari investment firm Constellation.
  • Daily Mail: Newly-merged Dixons Carphone began trading on the London Stock Exchange this morning, marking the creation of a 3,000 store High Street behemoth.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Duke Energy: safety in numbers.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Bank of America: new beginnings.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Nestlé: health check.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Rio Tinto: Ironback gorilla.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Priceline / Ctrip: Chinese whispers.

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