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Saturday Papers: Rate fears prompt rush to fix mortgages

Saturday Papers: Rate fears prompt rush to fix mortgages

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Homeowners are rushing to lock in cheap borrowing costs amid fears the Bank of England will raise interest rates, pushing up the cost of five-year fixed mortgages and signalling the end of the era of rock-bottom home loans.
  • Financial Times: ArcelorMittal has forecast higher profits for the year ahead, driven by a pick-up in European steel demand, bolstering its confidence that the bottom of the cycle is behind it.
  • Daily Mail: Exports of British goods hit a record high in 2013 as the trade deficit with the rest of the world tumbled to its lowest level for more than a year, official figures showed yesterday.
  • The Guardian: The US department of labour says 113,000 new jobs added in January, a second month of poor results and far short of forecasts.
  • Financial Times: Gazprom, the Russian gas producer, is facing possible EU antitrust charges after failing to ally to calm European Commission concerns about how it prices its gas.
  • Financial Times: Global equities made strong gains at the end of a volatile week that was largely dominated by uncertainty over the outlook for the US economy; in New York, the S&P 500 jumped 1.3% on Friday, giving it a gain of 0.8% for the week; the FTSE Eurofirst 300 rose 0.8%, for a weekly advance of 0.7%.
  • Financial Times: Vedanta Resources outperformed a flat London market on Friday on hopes of a long-awaited cleanup of its corporate structure; the Indian government was looking to give Vedanta full ownership of Hindustan Zinc and Balco by the end of March, according to local reports.

Business and economics

  • Daily Express: Defence group QinetiQ has won a £4 million deal to convert video game technology for use on the battlefield.
  • Financial Times: Two generic pharmaceutical companies have been ordered to stop selling their version of a Roche breast cancer treatment in India, after the Swiss group claimed that the drugmakers could not have carried out adequate clinical trials.
  • Daily Express: Haulier GB Railfreight is buying a £50 million fleet of trains to expand its services to the Continent; the company, part of Channel Tunnel operator Eurotunnel, is buying 13 new diesel locomotives from US maker Electro-Motive Diesel.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Equitable has at least £200 million spare to return to policyholders, who will no longer have to pay a penalty to withdraw their savings.
  • Daily Mail (Market Report): Vyvanse, its treatment for major depressive disorder, failed two late-stage clinical trials, and shares retreated 30p at one stage before closing 19p cheaper at 3122p.
  • Daily Express: National Grid is considering expanding its liquefied national gas import terminal on the Isle of Grain to help plug potential energy shortfalls.
  • Daily Express: Hugo Boss, the luxury goods group majority owned by UK private equity firm Permira, has posted a 7% increase in profits.
  • Financial Times: The Co-operative Bank will attempt a dramatic return to the mortgage market next week as it cuts many of its rates in an attempt to win back customers after a tumultuous year.
  • Daily Mail: Privately owned retailer Monsoon has bounced back into the black under chief executive John Browett, who held his nerve in the run up to Christmas and did not join rivals in discounting stock.
  • Financial Times: Blinkx, the UK online video company that lost a third of its value last week in the wake of a scathing blog post, has complained to the UK financial regulator that it may be the victim of market manipulation.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Daily Mail (Investment Extra): Private investors are likely to be given the opportunity to buy shares in Lloyds Banking Group later this year as the Government looks to reduce its 33% stake in the business.
  • Daily Express: John Roberts, who set up online retailer AO for a £1 bet with a friend, is looking at a possible £400 million windfall after the appliances specialist announced plans to join the London Stock Exchange.
  • Financial Times: GoPro, the maker of small action cameras beloved of surfers and snowboarders, on Friday broadcast its plans for a multibillion-dollar initial public offering; the company is expected to raise $300 million-$500 million, sources said.
  • The Guardian: Sports Direct has confirmed plans to bid for the struggling Elverys sports chain in Ireland as its battle with Adidas over sales of replica sporting kit goes international.
  • Financial Times: Scandinavian airline SAS plans to raise more than $600 million from a preference share and convertible bond issue to shore up its balance sheet and modernise its ageing aircraft fleet.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): BAE has just rebranded its Detica cyber operation as Applied Intelligence as it looks to expand this fast-growing business segment into new overseas markets.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): Fears over the Fragile Five emerging markets; Indonesia, South Africa, Brazil, Turkey and India are so-called because they have large current account deficits and are at risk of capital flight.
  • The Independent (Comment): Lakshmi Mittal is over his metal fatigue and that’s a boost for the global economy. But investors may have to wait for the return of the big spender.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Banker bonuses: schemes such as Credit Suisse’s wipeout bond, which ties up bankers’ wealth with their firm’s long-term performance, seem preferable to EU bonus caps.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Panama Canal: a 50% cost escalation is more than the norm, but the issue is whether it is any use flinging holy water at a project which is nearer than not to being finished.

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