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Friday Papers: UK wealth gap unchanged, figures show

Friday Papers: UK wealth gap unchanged, figures show

Top stories

  • Financial Times: The proportion of wealth owned by the top 10% of UK households has barely changed compared with the years before the recession, and still stands at 44%, according to official data released on Thursday that cast doubt on claims that the inequality gap is widening.
  • Financial Times: Investors retreated from stocks on Thursday, instead snapping up top tier government bonds, after poor eurozone data increased pressure on the European Central Bank to take aggressive action to bolster the region; the European bloc’s economy expanded just 0.2% in the first quarter, missing consensus forecasts of a 0.4% rise.
  • The Independent: Carphone Warehouse and Dixons have announced an all-share merger of equals in a deal worth £3.8 billion as the high street giants aim to build a multi-billion pound electronics business.
  • The Guardian: Pascal Soriot, the chief executive of AstraZeneca, has stepped up his attack on the business model of Pfizer, the US drugs company stalking the UK business, and warned that the British drugs group could be damaged by Pfizer's tax avoidance plans.
  • The Guardian: A Bank of England ratesetter has said there is no cause for alarm over the housing market. Ben Broadbent, a member of the Bank's monetary policy committee, said it was no surprise that the property market was recovering alongside the wider economy and that credit growth was not a worry.
  • Financial Times: After cutting the pay of traders, bank executives in the US are manoeuvring to reduce their payroll for a 50,000-strong army of brokers who sell stocks and bonds to retail customers.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Lloyds Banking Group chairman says Scottish vote is creating 'uncertainty' as the has no plans to move south but says independence is a potential 'risk'.
  • Financial Times: Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox has reached a preliminary deal with Apollo Global Management to create one of the world’s largest television production businesses; the agreement would see Fox’s Shine Group enter into a joint venture with two TV production businesses controlled by Apollo - Core Media, the maker of American Idol, and Endemol, the company behind Big Brother.
  • Financial Times: Deutsche Bank has agreed to sell its Las Vegas casino resort, The Cosmopolitan, to private equity group Blackstone for $1.73 billion, seeking to draw a line under a painful lossmaking gamble.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Private pension wealth is increasingly the largest component of household wealth in the UK, official figures show, outstripping the value of property.
  • Financial Times: Private housebuilding in England has risen by more than a third since the introduction of the government’s Help to Buy scheme, according to data published on Thursday; official figures show that in the year to the end of March, private sector housebuilders began work on 108,400 homes, a rise of 34% year on year.
  • Financial Times: A buying spree by Japanese consumers ahead of a sales tax increase in April lifted economic growth even higher than expected in the first quarter, to an annualised rate of 5.9% - good news that was tempered by worries over the severity of the post-tax rise hangover.
  • Financial Times: Russian president Vladimir Putin made a fresh appeal to European countries to step up efforts to resolve a gas dispute with Ukraine, highlighting the lack of progress less than three weeks before a threatened supply cut.
  • Financial Times: RP Martin, the interdealer broker, “aided and abetted” the attempted rigging of Libor, the interbank benchmark rate, in exchange for “corrupt payments” and continued business from a prized trader at UBS, regulators have alleged.
  • Financial Times: Sales growth at Richemont slowed over the past 12 months as China’s authorities continued their crackdown on gifting – but the Swiss watches and luxury goods group is forecasting that the Chinese market has turned.
  • Financial Times: Europe’s competition regulator has rejected calls from some of the region’s most influential politicians to ease restrictions on mergers in the telecoms industry; Joaquín Almunia, the European antitrust chief, said suggestions by politicians such as German chancellor Angela Merkel to reform competition law for mobile operators were “misguided”.
  • Financial Times: Several leading providers have disclosed in recent days that sales of annuities, which convert savings into annual income, have dropped by about half since the Chancellor set out plans to scrap the effective requirement for pensioners to buy them.
  • Financial Times: The battle is on among insurers and fund managers to win over the near-500,000 pensioners each year - with a combined £12 billion of assets - who were effectively forced to buy an annuity under the previous regime.
  • Financial Times: Xiaomi, the fast-growing Chinese smartphone maker, has moved into the tablet market, even as demand for the products shows signs of slowing.
  • Financial Times: Institutional shareholders in Finmeccanica have handed an embarrassing setback to Italy’s reformist prime minister Matteo Renzi by defeating a government-sponsored motion to impose an ethics clause on the defence and aerospace group, following the example of foreign stakeholders in Eni, the oil and gas major.
  • Financial Times: Chipotle shareholders have rebuked the burrito chain’s executive pay plan with 77% of the votes at its annual meeting cast against a package that could have paid its two chief executives $285 million over three years.
  • Financial Times: Lloyd’s of London insurer Hiscox has suffered the biggest rebellion over boardroom pay of any FTSE 350 company so far this year in the latest sign that tension is mounting between investors and executives; more than two-fifths of votes cast went against Hiscox’s remuneration policy.
  • Financial Times: General Motors on Thursday recalled a further 2.7 million vehicles in the US, bringing its worldwide total for the year to 12.8 million, in the latest sign of the carmaker’s efforts to reform its processes.
  • Financial Times: Google is expected to create a mechanism to request the removal of search results within “weeks” following an EU ruling that backs the deletion of sensitive personal information.
  • Financial Times: Changing summer holiday habits have cast a cloud over tour operator Thomas Cook, which now plans to strip another £400 million of costs from its business by 2018.
  • Financial Times: The cost of Manchester United’s failure to qualify for European competition will be in the region of £35 million in lost earnings, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said as the club prepares to appoint a new manager to restore its ailing fortunes.
  • Financial Times: The London Stock Exchange Group is extending its control of LCH.Clearnet by cutting more costs and renegotiating a key profit-sharing agreement with other stakeholders in the clearing house.
  • Financial Times: Alliance Boots, which operates the UK’s largest chain of pharmacies, posted a 31% jump in net profit after gaining market share in the UK and cutting costs through its tie-up with US drugstore Walgreens.
  • Financial Times: Tom Albanese has laid out his plans for leading Vedanta Resources, insisting the diversified energy and mining group can rectify a series of operational and licence problems that have dogged its recent performance.
  • Financial Times: Land Securities has questioned how long the upturn in the commercial real estate market can last, following a rapid improvement in the past 12 months.
  • Financial Times: Walmart’s sales and profits fell short of market expectations in its first quarter under new chief executive Doug McMillon, as the world’s biggest retailer blamed the effects of severe winter weather in the US.
  • Financial Times: Malaysia Airlines has revealed the business cost of the disappearance of flight MH370, reporting a 58% widening in net losses and warning of an “urgent” need to boost revenue to ensure its survival.
  • Financial Times: A €3 billion deal for what is expected to be one of the world’s biggest offshore wind farms has boosted Europe’s battered renewable energy market after more than a year of sagging investment.
  • Daily Mail: The euro fell back against the pound today after hopes that the eurozone's recovery had gained some momentum were dashed as first quarter economic growth in the single currency area proved slower than expected.
  • The Guardian: OVO Energy, one of the independent suppliers benefiting from customer dissatisfaction with the Big Six competitors, has raised its prices 3% after a half year period when the wider industry has been reducing charges.
  • The Guardian: Tony Hayward's appointment as chairman of Glencore Xstrata is causing controversy in the City, with some investors ready to demand meetings with top officials from the commodities conglomerate.
  • The Guardian: The French government has given itself a new power to block any foreign takeovers of French companies in "strategic" industries; a decree, published in the official state gazette on Thursday will allow the state to block foreign takeovers in the energy, water, transport, telecoms and health sectors.
  • The Guardian: National Grid, the pipes and pylons operator at the heart of Britain's energy network, is considering plans to cash in on the country's property boom by selling off £500 million worth of land.
  • Daily Express: Sales growth has returned at Asda this year after price cuts as supermarkets battle for the custom of Britain’s cash-conscious shoppers; underlying sales rose by 0.1% rise in the 15 weeks to 20 April, following a 0.1% fall over the Christmas period.
  • The Daily Telegraph: National Grid pocketed £100 million after undercutting its consumer-funded budget raising questions over whether consumers are getting a good deal from network operator as it hands £70 million of £170 million unspent cash back to billpayers but keeps the rest.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Merlin Entertainments boosted by warm weather and the launch of the Lego Movie helped drive profits.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Uber is looking to pull in a huge new round of funding at a valuation of around $10 billion, matching the price tag recently put on its San Francisco neighbours Airbnb and Dropbox less than a year after the car-hailing service raised $258 million.
  • Daily Express: A takeover of AstraZeneca by US rival Pfizer could pose a threat to UK science unless it gives guarantees on jobs and investment, MPs warned yesterday.
  • Financial Times: Shares in greeting card maker Card Factory fell as much as 10% as trading began on Thursday, underlining the new mood of caution for London listings.
  • Financial Times (Lex): US corporates: psychologically significant.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Cisco: Wait is not over.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Vedanta Resources: Pangaea plc.
  • Financial Times (Lex): French takeovers: wind power.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Dixons / Carphone: party line.

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