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Friday Papers: Osborne calls for minimum wage rise

Friday Papers: Osborne calls for minimum wage rise

Top stories

  • Financial Times: George Osborne on Thursday night called for above-inflation increases in the national minimum wage, claiming that Britain’s job market was now strong enough to sustain rises from £6.31 to its pre-recession value of £7 per hour.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Research firm Forensic Asia calculates that HSBC has overstated the value of the assets on its balance sheet by more than £50 billion.
  • Financial Times: Goldman Sachs enjoyed a strong performance in equity underwriting but endured its worst year for fixed income trading since 2005 as overall profits fell 19% to $2.3 billion.
  • Financial Times: Mike Ashley announced on Thursday that he had sold Sports Direct’s 4.6% stake in Debenhams - acquired this week for about £50 million - and sold an option contract that could eventually see the sport retailer take almost 7% of the department store chain.
  • The Independent: Shares of Nestor Inc soared 1900% as confused traders sought to get a piece of Nest Labs, a 'smart' home start-up snapped up by Google in a $3.2 billion deal on Monday.
  • The Guardian: Two hundred jobs are to go at a Rolls-Royce aerospace plant in Scotland.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Minutes show officials of Bank of England discussed the way benchmark foreign exchange rates were set 18 months before the launch of an investigation into alleged market manipulation.
  • The Independent: The Competition Commission has ordered the sale of nine private hospitals, including London Bridge and Princess Grace, in an effort to smash the market dominance in Britain’s £5 billion private healthcare industry.
  • Financial Times: Citigroup, the third-biggest US bank by assets, more than doubled net income to $2.7 billion in the fourth quarter but missed analyst estimates, as mortgage banking and fixed-income trading slumped.
  • Financial Times: Intel’s revenue crept up by 3% to $13.8 billion in the final quarter of last year, its best growth in six quarters, as the slide in global PC sales showed signs of slowing; however, its profits fell short of forecasts.
  • Financial Times: China’s vast shadow banking sector is facing its biggest test after ICBC, the world’s biggest bank by assets whose branches sell many of these wealth products, refused to bail out investors in a dud $500 million issue.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: The US Federal Reserve was being complacent by planning for years of below-target inflation, warned Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota in a clarion call for more economic stimulus.
  • The Guardian: The British government will miss its target of doubling exports to £1 trillion by 2020 if Britain fails to step up efforts to secure markets in faster-growing emerging economies, the cross-party public accounts committee has said.
  • Financial Times: A group of Democratic congressmen on Thursday unveiled their plan to wind down US mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, pitching it as an attractive alternative that could appeal to both political parties.
  • Financial Times: Cyber attacks rose 14% last year, as online criminals targeted intellectual property-rich industries such as pharmaceuticals, mining and electronics, according to a report by Cisco.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Ofcom has overvalued the radio spectrum used by mobile operators' 2G networks by more than three times to impose what amounts to a "one-off tax of £4.5 billion".
  • Financial Times: The flotation of EE, Britain’s largest mobile operator, has been put on hold by Orange and Deutsche Telekom, after the joint owners concluded they would secure a higher valuation for the business when its 4G telephone services take off.
  • Financial Times: Bernie Ecclestone said on Thursday he remained as much in control of Formula One as he has always been, despite the fallout from being sent for trial on bribery charges.
  • Financial Times: The Chinese government has opened an investigation into allegations that Nu Skin Enterprises, the US direct sale skincare and dietary supplement company, operates an illegal pyramid scheme in China.
  • Financial Times: French retailer Carrefour said fourth-quarter sales in Spain returned to growth for the first time since the financial crisis, with like-for-like sales in Spain during the last three months of 2013 growing 0.2% compared with the same period a year earlier.
  • Financial Times: Best Buy saw almost 30% wiped off its market capitalisation on Thursday after the US electronics retailer reported that heavy discounting by its rivals had cut in to holiday sales.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The owners of the Independent have asked one of its founders to find a buyer for the loss-making title, prompting renewed fears for its future.
  • Financial Times: Tata Consultancy Services unveiled a 50% jump in third-quarter net profits, in a further sign that Indian software exporters are enjoying a growth spurt as Europe and the US return to economic prosperity.
  • Financial Times: A price war between UK motor insurance companies may finally be coming to an end, as the downward pressure on premiums that has weighed on the profitability of the highly competitive sector is beginning to ease after two years, according to a closely watched premium index.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Carlyle, the private equity firm, has bought a unit of healthcare company Johnson & Johnson in a $4.15 billion deal, joining the host of companies making acquisitions as the new year gets under way.
  • Financial Times: Moelis & Company, the boutique investment bank, plans to confidentially file for an initial US public offering as soon as Friday, according to people familiar with the matter.
  • The Guardian (Comment): Nostalgia-fuelled campaigns to save local stores are doomed. But they can be used to solve the housing crisis.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Economic growth and reform should be the priority, rather than yet more regulation.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Goldman / Citi: Big US banks are struggling with a hard environment for fixed income trading. They need the economy to keep improving.
  • Financial Times (Lex): BlackRock: These results will keep the shine on the wise man halo that hovers over boss Larry Fink’s head
  • Financial Times (Lex): Carrefour / Ahold: Sales figures from European retailers show that consumers remain very cautious and cost-conscious
  • Financial Times (Lex): Best Buy: The US electronics retailer discounted heavily over the holidays and sales still fell. Closing some stores should be on the agenda

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