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Saturday Papers: RSA shares plunge as boss quits

Saturday Papers: RSA shares plunge as boss quits

Top stories

  • Daily Express: Shares in RSA Insurance sank 7% having earlier fallen 20% yesterday as its chief executive quit following a third profit warning in six weeks that could lead to its ­dividend payout being slashed again.
  • Financial Times: Anthony Ward, the cocoa trader known as “Chocfinger” for a string of audacious deals in commodities markets, has been forced to sell his London-based cocoa, coffee and sugar trading business for just $1.
  • Daily Express: Royal Bank of Scotland admitted it has made bad decisions but vowed it had not “misled” investors as it lined up its defence against a £4 billion lawsuit from shareholders.
  • Financial Times: A record £472 million in fines were handed out by the UK’s watchdogs in 2013 following serial financial misconduct at some of the world’s biggest banks.
  • Financial Times: Global equities struggled to snap a multi-day losing streak, even after a boost from Asian markets; Wall Street stocks were mixed with the S&P 500 on pace to record its worst week since August, down 1.6% ahead of next week’s meeting of US central bankers on monetary policy and the future of Federal Reserve stimulus measures.
  • Daily Mail: Scottish Power has abandoned a £5.4 billion plan to build the world's largest offshore wind farm, after four years of planning, because it is "not financially viable".
  • Daily Mail: The Bank of England will not hike interest rates until there is a ‘prolonged period of strong growth’, its chief economist said yesterday.
  • Financial Times: Paul Jacobs will step back to become Qualcomm chairman, as the wireless chipmaker’s board on Friday hastily promoted president Steve Mollenkopf as its next chief executive heading off a potential attempt by Microsoft to poach him.
  • Financial Times: A partnership linked to Aubrey McClendon, one of the pioneers of the US shale gas revolution, is seeking to raise up to $2 billion from investors but warning that it involves “a high degree of risk”.

Business and economics

  • Daily Express: The Malaysian-controlled clothing and interiors group Laura Ashley reported total retail sales down 2% in the 19 weeks to 7 December compared with last year; like-for-like sales dropped 0.7% with e-commerce sales growing by 1%.
  • The Guardian: A march and rally will be held on Saturday in Portsmouth to protest at job losses planned by defence company BAE Systems.
  • Daily Mail: Embattled Serco was dealt another financial hammer-blow after being forced to write off £17 million from its UK health care work.
  • Financial Times: Royal Mail has appealed to Ofcom, the regulator, after a joint venture was announced to fund an expansion of direct mail deliveries by TNT Post UK in a challenge to the newly privatised postal operator.
  • The Daily Telegraph: A nationwide price comparison reveals the under-fire supermarket giant Tesco has the best prices out of Britain's 'BIg Five' for a basket of festive food and drink products.
  • Financial Times: Bumi founder Nat Rothschild will support a plan that will enable Indonesia’s Bakrie family to exit the coal miner.
  • Financial Times: Freedom Group, manufacturer of the rifle used in the Sandy Hook school shootings a year ago, expects earnings to have risen about 52% this year.
  • The Guardian: CBS-owned online music service Last.fm made a loss of almost £4 million last year, as income plummeted 70% at its UK operation.
  • Daily Mail: Andy Street has bemoaned the slow start to the festive season, but hopes shoppers are waiting until the last minute to make their purchases.
  • Daily Express: Buoyant demand boosted Bellway as data showed the housing recovery advancing but experts warn a shortage of homes could hold it back.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Euro Garages sales rise 40% as drivers top up on food and coffee as well as fuel.
  • The Independent: The housing market is capable of overheating with little warning, a senior Bank of England official said on Friday, amid rising concerns that the Government’s mortgage subsidies could be inflating a fresh property bubble.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Asia is on course for its worst year of mergers and acquisitions activity since 2009, as volatile markets sap confidence and dampen deal-making.
  • Financial Times: Oculus VR, a Californian company that is developing a virtual reality headset, has raised $75 million in fresh venture capital funding, in one of the largest investments in a new wave of hardware start-ups that have found early support through crowdfunding.
  • Financial Times: Mol, the Hungarian oil and gas group, has bought 14 licences for offshore oil exploration and production in the North Sea from Wintershall, part of Germany’s BASF, for about $375 million, the Budapest-based company said on Friday.
  • Financial Times: Arm is muscling in on rival UK microchip designer Imagination Technologies, buying lighting graphics technology company Geomerics for an undisclosed sum.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): General Motors has appointed its first female boss, Mary Barra, while the FTSE 100 also gained a new woman leader, the Canadian Moya Greene.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): Aggressive recovery operations by Irving Picard, for the Madoff victims and by the US attorney’s office in Manhattan, mean that $13billion has so far been restored.
  • Financial Times (Lex): US budget deal: eleventh-hour brinkmanship and shutdown averted, but stimulus modest and no ‘grand bargain’ struck to repair pension or healthcare spending.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Lululemon: Yoga and athletic wear maker has warned that the current quarter was shaping up below expectations. Lululemon needs to put its problems behind it.

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