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Monday Papers: Osborne to admit fresh blow to debt target

Monday Papers: Osborne to admit fresh blow to debt target

Top stories

  • Financial Times: British Chancellor George Osborne will admit in Wednesday’s Budget that it will take even longer than previously forecast for public sector debt to begin to fall.
  • Financial Times: Cyprus’ embattled president was on Sunday in talks with Brussels and political rivals to ease the terms of a planned levy on smaller deposit holders as he tried to scrape together a parliamentary majority for a €10billion bailout for the debt-laden island; President Nicos Anastasiades is still intending to raise €5.8 billion from Cypriot bank accounts to help fund the bailout.
  • Financial Times: HSBC is gearing up for thousands more job cuts, with Europe’s biggest bank by market value set to outline the next stage in its strategic overhaul at an investor day in two months’ time.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Britain's privatisation programme is stepping up a gear with the imminent award of a £3 billion helicopter outsourcing contract and further progress on the sale of the Government’s £3 billion stake in nuclear fuels group Urenco.
  • Daily Mail: Royal Bank of Scotland is expecting a group of more than 20 fund managers to table a bid for 316 branches it has been ordered to sell as a condition of its bailout.
  • Financial Times: Senate aides are looking for inconsistencies in statements made by Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, and Doug Braunstein, former chief financial officer, as they consider whether to make referrals to securities regulators and the justice department.
  • The Guardian: The Qatar Investment Authority was said to be assembling a group of private equity investors to make an £8 billion swoop on Marks & Spencer.
  • Financial Times: Transocean, the offshore drilling contractor, on Monday will formally reject a plan from activist investor Carl Icahn for the company to pay a higher dividend and appoint three new directors, setting the scene for a confrontation at the company’s annual meeting in May.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Administrators for Lehman Brothers' estate will begin to return an estimated £1 billion-plus of client funds for the first time next month, almost five years after the US investment bank collapsed.
  • Financial Times: Highbridge Capital, owned by JPMorgan Asset Management, has closed the books on a new $5 billion mezzanine fund, the biggest in six years and the third largest yet.
  • Daily Mail: Leading investor advisory service ISS has urged shareholders to vote against the re-election of Hewlett-Packard chairman Ray Lane, along with directors John Hammergren and Kennedy Thompson.
  • Financial Times: With a market value of about $230 billion compared with Shell’s $212 billion, Chevron is on that measure the western world’s second-largest oil company, behind its US rival ExxonMobil.
  • Financial Times: The main distributor of the £25 Raspberry Pi computer has shifted its production back to the UK from China, in what is likely to prove a fillip for manufacturing in Wales.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: European banks will need to shed as much as another €3.4 trillion from their balance sheets over the coming years by reducing lending and selling assets according to new data, adding to fears about a funding gap opening for European corporates.
  • Financial Times: Europe’s fund managers are facing a ban on bonuses that exceed salary as the European parliament pushes for the extension of its severe pay clampdown on bankers to the wider financial sector.
  • The Independent: A study by the Engineering Employers Federation has found that of the 29 manufacturing firms in the FTSE 100, women account for 19% of board positions, just above the 17% average of the FTSE 100.
  • Financial Times: The world’s biggest insurers have dodged bank-style capital surcharges based on their entire balance sheets because regulators have decided the broader financial system can be protected with a regime that focuses on their non-traditional businesses.
  • Financial Times: President Barack Obama has made a sweeping overhaul of the US corporate tax code a key pillar of his charm offensive towards Republicans to secure a big deficit deal, raising hopes among business groups but potentially putting the president at odds with some members of his own party.
  • The Daily Telegraph: China’s new premier promised a smaller role for the state in the world’s second biggest economy, pledging to give up control in a “painful” but necessary effort to support growth.
  • Financial Times: The UK’s biggest money managers are starting to focus on growth and dividends in a sign of rising confidence about the markets and the world economy.
  • The Independent: Attempts to overhaul Britain's banking system are "backfiring" and holding back job creation and growth, Policy Exchange has claimed.
  • The Daily Telegraph: One in five pints produced by Fuller Smith & Turner is now shipped abroad, as Britain’s traditional beer companies are forced to seek out new sources of income to overcome high taxes back home.
  • Daily Mail: Waitrose is branching out in the gardening market by launching 6,000 products for customers growing flowers, fruit and vegetables.
  • The Guardian: Owners of Sun, Telegraph and Daily Mail are threatening to boycott the government and set up their own regulatory body if the Conservatives yield to Labour demands for the statutory underpinning of a new press watchdog.
  • Financial Times: Rusal will be able to service its debts for the next four and a half years thanks to the dividends the company is set to receive from Norilsk Nickel, according to Oleg Deripaska, chief executive of the world’s largest aluminium producer.
  • Daily Mail: Sainsbury's is expected to report a 2.2% like-for-like sales rise; that would be the fastest quarterly growth for a year and should help to boost annual profits by 4.2% to £742 million, analysts at stockbroker Jefferies said.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Creditors of HMV and Blockbuster were owed almost half a billion pounds when the two retailers collapsed just after Christmas.
  • The Independent: The Bradford & Bingley Shareholder Action Group will appeal against a ruling made by the Information Commissioner's Office preventing it from accessing official documents linked to the company's collapse at the height of the credit crunch in 2008.
  • Financial Times: The wholesale banking arm of Mitsubishi UFG (MUFG) is looking to hire 100 further investment bankers outside of Japan this year, expanding its overall staff levels to 1,100.
  • Financial Times: The Government of Singapore Investment Corp has invested £100 million in Greenko, in a move that will expand the Aim-quoted clean energy specialist’s power generation projects in India.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Daily Mail: Financial giant Royal London is expected to confirm this week that it has finally bought the life cover and asset management arm of Co-operative Group.
  • Financial Times: Companies have raised more cash in Tokyo this year than in Asia’s other developed markets put together, taking Japan to the top of the region’s initial public offering charts.
  • The Guardian (Comment): George Osborne has pulled off a stunning confidence trick: he has bamboozled people into thinking he is fighting tax dodgers.
  • The Guardian (Comment): The interesting question is not what the chancellor will say on Wednesday, but whether Ed Balls dares set out his alternative.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Who would want to be Chancellor this week? In my 30 odd years of analysing budgets I have never known a situation as grim as this.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): London must capitalise on its many advantages as global city of choice.
  • Financial Times (Lex): VMware: US software specialist is trying to translate its dominance in server virtualisation into other growing areas of corporate computing.
  • Financial Times (Lex): China gas: Beijing has slackened its grip on pricing, but it will take the likes of PetroChina and Sinopec years before they stop losing on imports.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Italian banks: although optimists see glimmers of hope, the underlying picture of last week’s results at Unicredit and Intesa was bleak.

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