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Saturday Papers: SEC probes Goldman and Citi bond deals

Saturday Papers: SEC probes Goldman and Citi bond deals

Top stories

  • Financial Times: The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the way investors are given allocations of bonds in sought-after offerings, such as the Verizon Communications issue, sources said; requests for information have been sent to banks including Goldman Sachs and Citigroup.
  • The Daily Mail: Financial Times owner Pearson has warned that a stagnant US education market would force profits down this year as it presses on with a restructuring effort.
  • The Daily Mail: The European Union's statistics office Eurostat estimated that consumer prices in the 18 countries sharing the euro rose 0.8% year-on-year in February, 0.2% above the expected figure.
  • Financial Times: Barack Obama warned “there would be costs” for Russian military intervention in Ukraine as the country’s acting president called on Vladimir Putin to cease “provocations” aimed at luring Kiev into a military conflict to “annex” the peninsula of Crimea.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Moody's raises German outlook to 'stable'; ratings agency believes there is less chance Germany will be called on to prop up weak eurozone economies.
  • Financial Times: Citigroup said it had discovered fraud at Banamex, its Mexican unit and a crown jewel of the global business, forcing it to lower fourth-quarter and full-year earnings; Citi cut its full-year net income to $13.7 billion from $13.9 billion on Friday.
  • Financial Times: US stocks edged further into record territory; the S&P 500 settled 0.3% firmer at 1,859.
  • Financial Times: Norway’s oil fund was a net seller of equities in the fourth quarter for the first time in its history; the $840 billion fund cut its exposure to equities significantly in the last three months of 2013, from 63.6% to 61.7% of assets.

Business and economics

  • The Daily Mail: The price of the average home in the UK has hit its highest level for almost six years; prices jumped 9.4% in the year to February with the average home fetching £177,846, according to Nationwide.
  • The Daily Mail: Property website Rightmove enjoyed a boost in profits last year as the recovery in the housing market took hold; the firm said annual profits jumped 17% to £97 million, as revenues also rose 17% to £139.9 million.
  • The Daily Mail: The rebounding housing market is helping the economic recovery and is not overheating, according to Bank of England chief economist Spencer Dale.
  • Financial Times: Apple’s television division, long dubbed a “hobby” by its executives, is now a billion-dollar business, Tim Cook told investors at an annual meeting on Friday.
  • Financial Times: Apple will next week launch its first in-car operating system with Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo as it attempts to take the lead in a fierce race to dominate tomorrow’s smart cars.
  • The Daily Mail: Rupert Soames, one of the FTSE100’s longest serving chief executives, will leave power firm Aggreko to take the helm at troubled outsourcing company Serco.
  • The Guardian: The BBC and BSkyB have resolved their long-running row over retransmission fees with the corporation no longer having to pay to put its channels on the pay-TV platform, saving £4.5 million a year in licence fee money.
  • The Daily Mail: William Hill posted a 16% jump in full-year sales today as Britain’s biggest bookmaker saw more punters make bets online.
  • The Guardian: Staff at John Lewis and Waitrose are facing a cut in their annual bonus as the retail group gets to grip with the black hole in its gold-plated pension scheme.
  • The Daily Mail: Bonuses of £576 million will be handed out at Royal Bank of Scotland despite it posting an £8.2 billion loss for 2013, the sixth consecutive year it has been in the red.
  • The Daily Mail: The cost of a first class stamp is to increase by 2p to 62p and second class by 3p to 53p on 31 March in the first price rise since the privatisation of Royal Mail.
  • Financial Times: Fortress Investment Group, the private equity and hedge fund manager, is sitting on losses of $8 million on an experimental investment in Bitcoin.
  • The Daily Mail: Sales fell at O2 despite the mobile giant enjoying its biggest customer influx in four years.
  • Financial Times: International Airlines Group has swung into profit, driven by a strong performance from British Airways as well as restructuring at Iberia; group operating profit was €770 million before exceptional items, up from an operating loss of €23 million last year and slightly higher than the analyst consensus forecast of €765 million.
  • Financial Times: Gold held firm above $1,320 a troy ounce to register its biggest monthly gain since July as concerns about the US and Chinese economies persisted; bullion rose 7% during February and is up 10% since the start of the year.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Daily Telegraph (Questor share tip): Don't take a bigger bite of Domino's Pizza; it has reported strong revenue growth but problems overseas have hit profits.
  • The Guardian: Fast Retailing, the owner of Japan’s fast-growing Uniqlo retail chain, is reportedly in talks to take over J Crew, the US fashion chain loved by Michelle Obama and Angelina Jolie; J Crew is seeking upwards of $5 billion for the business, according to the Wall Street Journal.
  • The Daily Mail: Pets at Home set the price range for a stock market listing that could scoop staff up to £130 million, as the 2014 float frenzy continues; the company will sell shares for between 210p and 260p, raising £280 million in a float valuing the company at up to £1.3 billion.
  • Financial Times: Boohoo.com, the Manchester-based fast fashion website, fleshed out its plans to float on Aim on Friday.
  • The Guardian: Insurance companies will not be able to buy patient medical records through the NHS data scheme, Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary has announced.
  • Financial Times: George Soros and John Paulson are taking major stakes in the flotation of a Spanish property group; the two hedge fund managers have both taken €92 million stakes in Hispania Activos Inmobiliarios.
  • Financial Times: Patrick McKillen, the Irish investor who has been locked in a drawn out battle with the UK’s Barclay Brothers for control of three of London’s most exclusive hotels, has secured critical financial backing from Colony Capital.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): RBS and Barclays leave customers without service as both their mobile apps crash on the same day.
  • The Independent (Outlook): Surely floods will force MPs to wake up to the dangers of a greater catastrophe.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Citigroup: the Oceanografia loans are a tiny part of Citi’s loan book, but the financial crisis has made everyone alert to evidence big banks are too big to manage.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Wm Morrison: the UK supermarket owns its almost 500 stores mostly in freehold. Why not sell - raising cash - and rent it all back?
  • Financial Times (Lex): Serco: the UK outsourcer has added £135 million to its market capitalisation by hiring Rupert Soames as its chief executive. Can he live up to the hype?

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