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Saturday Papers: Independent Scotland would lose UK's AAA rating, warns Citigroup

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Saturday Papers: Independent Scotland would lose UK's AAA rating, warns Citigroup

Top stories

  • The Daily Telegraph: Independent Scotland would lose UK's AAA rating, warns Citigroup; the banking giant says an independent Scotland "would have a relatively weak and risky fiscal position".
  • Financial Times: Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have urged the US Congress to help them buy American natural gas and reduce their dependence on Russia by loosening US export limits.
  • Daily Mail: A Bank of England trader known as ‘The Hammer’ will be thrust into the limelight next week when Governor Mark Carney is quizzed over the rigging of currency markets.
  • The Guardian: The average cost to advertise on Twitter fell 18% in the last three months of 2013, the company disclosed Friday.
  • The Guardian: The US unemployment rate rose to 6.7% in February, even as the economy added more jobs than economists had expected; according to the Labour Department’s latest non-farm payrolls survey, 175,000 new jobs were created in February.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Vodafone raises bid for Spanish company Ono; the UK company told offer has to be substantially higher than €7 billion to succeed.
  • The Independent: Prominent UK banks are at the centre of a dispute over allegations that numerous foreign accounts were set up in the name of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and her family.

Business and economics

  • Daily Mail: RBS and Lloyds bosses in line for share awards worth more than £35 million despite widespread losses.
  • The Guardian: Santos fined after coal seam gas project contaminates aquifer 'with uranium'; NSW under pressure to break fast-tracking agreement after energy producer fined $1,500 for ‘pollution incident’ in the Pilliga.
  • Financial Times: Wm Morrison is poised to disappoint investors next week with hundreds of millions of pounds of writedowns to its property portfolio and a smaller than hoped for sell-off of its real estate.
  • Daily Mail: More people expect an interest rate rise in the next 12 months than at any time for nearly two years, an influential poll showed yesterday; the GfK NOP survey for the Bank of England found 40% of those asked think rates will rise in the coming year - the highest level since May 2012.
  • Financial Times: Guy Hands has unexpectedly agreed to transfer his long running lawsuit against Citigroup, over his firm’s ill-fated £4.2 billion acquisition of EMI, to London from the US.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Bookmaker Paddy Power warns that changes to planning or licensing rules to block further betting shops opening on Britain's high streets would be capable of challenge under EU law.
  • Financial Times: BP is calling for a trial to hear arguments about the environmental harm caused by its 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Daily Mail: Seven new aerospace defence research projects intended to keep Britain at the forefront of the market have been handed £60 million in an initiative jointly funded by government and industry; AgustaWestland will work to improve passenger comfort and reduce vibrations in next-generation helicopters; Rolls-Royce is leading two programmes to develop quieter and more efficient aero-engines.
  • The Guardian: The union representing Rolls-Royce managers has blamed the company's "bonus culture" for the string of bribery and corruption scandals dogging the company.
  • Daily Mail: Upmarket oven-maker Aga is targeting China’s burgeoning middle classes - with a cooker that encompasses a wok; it came as sales of the Aga Rangemaster cooker rose 10% last year after more people moved house.
  • Financial Times: The government of Kazakhstan will seek $737 million in damages from the consortium of international companies developing the Kashagan Caspian Sea oilfield, in the latest blow to the $50 billion megaproject.
  • Daily Mail: Top secret report published by the Treasury Select Committee of MPs reveals dysfunction at the heart of Co-op's bank board which led to its downfall.
  • The Guardian: Co-op Bank's boardroom review shows Paul Flowers was praised by fellow directors for his 'thorough preparation'.
  • Daily Mail: British Gas has launched a new dual fuel tariff with a difference - it comes with the added bonus of an app which acts as a remote, allowing you to switch on or turn off your heating and hot water from outside the home.
  • The Independent: Peter Rees, the man who helped create the capital’s skyline, is to take up a professorship at University College London after nearly three decades as the City of London’s chief planner.
  • Financial Times: Jesse Litvak, a former Jefferies bond trader, was convicted on Friday of lying about the price of mortgage bonds to defraud investors, including a US government programme set up to stablise the financial system.
  • Daily Mail: Halifax is offering to foot the stamp duty bill for first time buyers purchasing properties up to £250,000.
  • The Guardian: The Japanese government has issued a statement on how to regulate bitcoin, on the same day as 180,000 bitcoins linked to collapsed Tokyo-based exchange Mt Gox are transacted.
  • The Independent: Chinese investors were given a wake-up call yesterday as the country witnessed its first onshore corporate bond default in recent history; solar panels manufacturer Shanghai Chaori Solar failed to meet an Rmb89.8 million (£8.8 million) interest payment due yesterday.
  • Financial Times: An aggressive cyber weapon called Snake has infected dozens of Ukrainian computer networks including government systems in one of the most sophisticated attacks of recent years.
  • Financial Times: Peter Wuffli, UBS’s chief executive in the run-up to the financial crisis, is to become chairman of Swiss private equity company Partners Group.
  • Financial Times: Copper dropped to a seven-month low in heavy volume after a bond default in China added to growing concerns about slowing economic growth and demand from the world’s biggest consumer of the metal.
  • Financial Times: Investors lifted shares of Foot Locker as the US athletic shoe retailer forecast profit and sales growth in the coming year.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Daily Mail (Market Report): Shares soar at Verdes Management after entrepreneur David Breith saves it from the brink of administration; he personally acquired a 22.24% stake in a ‘rescue’ £750,000 share placing which also saw Helium Rising Stars Fund take a 10.75% shareholding.
  • Daily Mail (Small Cap Movers): North Sea junior Independent Oil & Gas (up 24% yesterday at 44p) has been one of the top performing shares in the small cap market, almost doubling in the past three days; analyst Brendan Long values the company at 100.4p per share; RFC Ambrian predicts Fastnet shares (down 1% yesterday at 12.12p) could be worth as much as 96p by the end of this year; Africa focussed Tower Resources (down 3.7% yesterday at 6.37p) scaled to a new 52 week high as excitement builds ahead of the Welwitschia-1 well, offshore Namibia.
  • Financial Times: Daimler is set to sell its 50% stake in Rolls-Royce Power Systems to Rolls-Royce.
  • The Guardian: Online fashion chain Boohoo.com has confirmed it will list on the London stock market next week with a market value of £560 million.
  • The Guardian: Karl Lagerfeld and a Macau casino operator have announced plans for the Chanel designer to create his first hotel.
  • Financial Times: Ryanair’s attempt to retain its near 30% stake in Aer Lingus was blocked by the competition authority on Friday.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Loss-making gym chain LA fitness has changed hands under a debt-for-equity swap and is also seeking to offload 33 clubs to secure its future.
  • Financial Times: Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s chief executive, poured more cold water on speculation that the US telecoms group might bid for Britain’s Vodafone.
  • Financial Times: Israeli tycoon Beny Steinmetz is on the brink of losing African iron-ore prospects worth $5 billion.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): Bank of England faces probe by the oversight committee into rate rigging of forex; the Bank has released 188 pages of minutes and documents from the Foreign Exchange Joint Standing Committee.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Europe’s muddled stance on Ukraine is familiar and disappointing.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Safeway: with consolidation, the supermarket industry is finally making sense in the US.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Boohoo: internet fast-fashion retailer’s valuation teeters, but may still appeal.

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