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Saturday Papers: Wall Street slides on fiscal uncertainty

Saturday Papers: Wall Street slides on fiscal uncertainty

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Wall Street stocks retreated on Friday amid renewed fears that politicians may fail to resolve the country’s looming fiscal crisis; the S&P 500 fell 0.94% on Friday, reducing its weekly gains to just 1.2%; the Nasdaq lost 1%, ending the week 1.7% higher; the Dow Jones fell 0.9%, finishing the week 0.4% higher.
  • Financial Times: George Osborne, the chancellor, is considering a levy on motorists to drive on Britain’s motorways and main A roads, in an attempt to unlock investment in the creaking highway network.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The chief executive of UK chocolate maker Cadbury, Irene Rosenfeld, has been handed a special stock award valued at $10 million.
  • Financial Times: News Corp has released the first financial details about the business it plans to spin off in the middle of next year.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Mario Monti has resigned as prime minister just hours after his 2013 budget was approved, but could be launching an electoral bid over the weekend.
  • The Guardian: Investor Bill Ackman accuses America's best-paid chief executive, Michael Johnson, of duping salespeople out of $3.8 billion.
  • The Independent: Britain's underlying fiscal deficit is continuing to grow thanks to the chronic weakness of the economy, the latest borrowing figures from the Office for National Statistics showed yesterday.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: ArcelorMittal and Vale, two of the largest metals groups, have been forced to make writedowns adding up to a combined $8.5 billion amid weak economic conditions in Europe.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The sale by retail banks of controversial interest rate hedging products could be limited under plans by MPs and peers to look further at the way derivatives have been sold to small businesses.
  • The Independent: The City regulator has charged a fifth person for insider dealing in a case involving alleged front-running, when a trader takes a position to capitalise on advance knowledge.
  • Financial Times: Royal Bank of Scotland has won what is believed to be one of the first High Court rulings on a lawsuit alleging the mis-selling of interest rate swaps.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Norway's Statoil is to lead the biggest investment in the UK North Sea in a decade, with the $7 billion development of the Mariner oil field.
  • Financial Times: René Obermann will stand down as chief executive of Deutsche Telekom next year after 16 years with the group.
  • Financial Times: Pizza Hut plans to close around a fifth of its sit-down restaurants as the chain withdraws from the UK’s struggling high streets in an effort to boost flagging profits.
  • Financial Times: Statoil of Norway has committed $7 billion towards developing the largest offshore venture in UK waters for more than a decade.
  • The Independent: BT was yesterday hit with a £95 million bill by Ofcom for overcharging rival telecoms firms for access to its network.
  • Financial Times: A subsidiary of Carclo, the plastics company that makes everything from LEDs to bar codes, launched legal action this week against a US rival over a patent dispute.
  • Financial Times: Retailers are making their final push for billions of pounds of Christmas sales this weekend; the British Retail Consortium, the trade association for store groups, estimated that £5 billion would be spent this weekend, making it the biggest of the year.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Britain should urgently consider scrapping the need for visas for Chinese tourists as the country is missing out on £1.5 billion of spending each year, the managing director of Harrods has warned.
  • Financial Times: Alcatel-Lucent, the ailing Franco-US telecoms equipment maker, has had its credit rating put under “negative watch” by Standard & Poor’s despite a recent €1.6 billion loan financing deal to secure the company’s financial future.
  • Financial Times: Siemens plans to cut 1,100 jobs in Germany as part of a €6 billion cost-cutting drive designed to close a profitability gap with competitors.
  • Financial Times: Iraq has purchased more than 25 tonnes of gold in the market to beef up the precious metal reserves of its central bank for the first time in years.
  • The Independent: BAE Systems, the aerospace giant, received a much-needed boost yesterday after agreeing a £2.5 billion contract with Oman for Typhoon and Hawk military aircraft that will safeguard 6,000 jobs.
  • Financial Times: The US dollar rose against other major currencies on haven demand as the foreign exchange market turned risk averse after a proposed deal to avert the US fiscal cliff fell flat.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: IntercontinentalExchange has agreed to pay NYSE Euronext a $750 million break fee in the event the US derivatives market operator fails to gain antitrust approval for its $8.2 billion takeover of the owner of the New York Stock Exchange.
  • Financial Times: Investors pulled $4.1 billion out of bond funds in the third week of December.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Property company Regus has tabled a £40 million bid for MWB Business Exchange, London's largest serviced office provider.
  • Financial Times: Holcim has raised SFr375 million ($410m) by selling stakes in cement companies in Thailand and Guatemala, as new chief executive Bernard Fontana presses ahead with his shake-up of the Swiss cement maker.
  • Financial Times: General Electric has announced a long anticipated deal to acquire the aviation business of Italian group Avio from private equity group Cinven for €3.3 billion, one of the largest foreign investments in Italy for a decade.
  • Financial Times: Aviva will make a £2.3 billion writedown after agreeing to sell its US arm for less than half its book value, the biggest disposal so far in a wide-ranging effort to bolster its solvency.
  • Financial Times (Lex): GE / Avio – purchase of Italian aviation business gives conglomerate greater control of its supply chain, and may revive consolidation trend.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Olam – neither side seems to have the advantage in the battle between short seller Muddy Waters and the Singaporean commodities trader.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Food and farmland – there are conflicting views on the amount of land that will be needed to grow crops worldwide.

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