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Thursday Papers: BoE edges towards decision on rate rise

Thursday Papers: BoE edges towards decision on rate rise

Top stories

  • Financial Times: The Bank of England is moving closer to a rate rise after some members of the interest-rate setting Monetary Policy Committee indicated they stand ready to vote for an earlier-than-expected increase.
  • Financial Times: China and Russia have clinched a $400 billion gas supply deal that provides Moscow with a crucial new export market and stronger ties with its eastern neighbour as Europe attempts to reduce its reliance on Russian supplies.
  • The Guardian: Retailers enjoyed their best month for a decade in April, with sales up 6.9% on the same month a year ago, providing further evidence of recovery and raising the prospects for an early interest-rate rise.
  • Financial Times: AstraZeneca is battling to shore up shareholder support for its decision to resist Pfizer’s £69.4 billion takeover approach as the US drugmaker makes a last-ditch push to revive the stalled deal.
  • Financial Times: EBay is asking all of its nearly 150 million registered users to reset passwords after revealing that hackers were able to access passwords, phone numbers, addresses and other personal data on the online retail site.
  • The Daily Telegraph: BP is planning to ask the United States’ highest court to revise a catch-all compensation deal it struck in 2012 for its Deepwater Horizon disaster.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Fat Face has abandoned its £110 million UK IPO after lack of demand for retail shares.
  • Daily Mail: Lloyds has joined £5 billion lawsuit against Royal Bank of Scotland over 'misleading' rights issue.
  • Financial Times: Spotify has doubled its number of paying subscribers over the past 18 months to 10 million, giving the Swedish digital music service a formidable lead ahead of rivals such as Beats Music and Deezer.
  • Financial Times: Thousands of New Yorkers who unlawfully rent out their homes using Airbnb could soon face legal action, after the travel site agreed to hand over some of their personal information with the state’s top prosecutor.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: The UK productivity rate is better than that of all other members of the Group of Seven leading economies apart from the US, according to a new study looking at 25 years of manufacturing performance.
  • Financial Times: The UK’s financial watchdog has warned people about unauthorised companies offering “free pension reviews” after plans to introduce impartial retirement guidance were announced in the Budget.
  • Financial Times: China will allow local governments to sell bonds for the first time in two decades in a big step towards tackling a looming crisis in public finances and reining in the shadow banking sector that municipal authorities rely on for funding.
  • Financial Times: Warm winter weather and higher wholesale gas prices hit annual profits at the retailing arm of SSE, Britain’s second biggest household energy supplier.
  • Financial Times: The companies investing in Israel’s offshore gasfields are negotiating major supply deals that could soon see the country export in large volumes via pipeline to neighbouring Egypt and Jordan.
  • Financial Times: Dubai luxury hotel group Jumeirah has signed a deal to manage a 70-hectare luxury resort in Mauritius, as the emirate’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum revives his long-held strategy for building a global hospitality empire.
  • Financial Times: Carpetright’s founder and executive chairman, Lorf Harris, will in September quit the company after 26 years, as the retailer attempts to recover from three profit warnings in six months.
  • Financial Times: Christopher Bailey has set his sights on expanding in Japan in his first results as chief executive of Burberry, as the British luxury label reported an 8% rise in full-year earnings.
  • Financial Times: Australia’s Woodside Petroleum has pulled out of a $2.7 billion deal to buy 25% of Israel’s offshore Leviathan gasfield after a shift in the project’s commercial priorities.
  • Financial Times: Netflix is pushing deeper into Europe with plans to launch its streaming video service in Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland and Austria by the end of 2014, the company said.
  • Financial Times: Hong Kong authorities have interviewed JP Morgan Chase’s former head of investment banking in China, as they investigate whether the bank bribed government officials by hiring their relatives.
  • Financial Times: The former managing director of Leeds United, David Haigh, has been arrested in Dubai on suspicion of financial irregularities during the recent sale of the English Championship club.
  • Financial Times: BHP Billiton is ready to ask Australia’s government to intervene if a potential week-long strike by workers at one of the country’s ports threatens iron ore shipments.
  • Financial Times: Helios Towers Africa, the infrastructure company backed by funds of George Soros, Madeleine Albright and Jacob Rothschild, is seeking about $500 million to take part in the largest ever auction of telecoms towers in the region.
  • Financial Times: Commerzbank has suspended two employees in its currency division for allegedly trying to manipulate exchange rates, in a move that pulls Germany’s second-largest lender into the global foreign exchange investigations.
  • Financial Times: AP Møller-Maersk raised its profit guidance for both the world’s leading container shipping line and the Danish conglomerate as a whole as it posted stronger-than-expected first-quarter results.
  • Financial Times: TripAdvisor has defended its integrity in the wake of a probe by Italy’s antitrust watchdog into allegedly fake reviews posted on the holiday website, saying it was confident in its anti-fraud detection systems.
  • Financial Times: FirstGroup has dropped its pledge to pay a dividend this year and will concentrate instead on its turnround plan, which was hampered by the severe winter weather hitting its school buses business in the US.
  • Financial Times: Britvic, the maker of Fruit Shoot and Tango soft drinks, hailed a “milestone” in its expansion across the US and reported a strong interim performance in France and resilience in the UK.
  • The Independent: ITV has come under fire over chief executive Adam Crozier’s multi-million pound pay package from a powerful American union which accused the British television giant of a “culture of greed”.
  • Daily Express: The pound rose to its highest level in five years after fresh evidence of economic recovery re-ignited the debate about when interest rates might rise.
  • The Guardian: The UK's largest retailer, Tesco, is to ban sweets and chocolates from its checkouts after a survey of customers showed overwhelming support for the move; research for Tesco found that 65% of shoppers wanted confectionery removed from checkouts to help them make healthier choices when shopping.
  • The Guardian: The Labour Party has urged the UK's competition body to include the energy watchdog, Ofgem, in an expected inquiry into the power sector.
  • The Guardian: Lloyds Banking Group has blamed the closure of a call centre in Warrington – part of an announcement of 645 job cuts – on customers preferring to bank online; call volumes are down 11% so far this year, although trade unions have warned that the job losses risked damaging customer service.
  • The Guardian: The price war between Qantas and Virgin Australia appears to be over after the Australia's national carrier said it would not add new capacity in the coming months.
  • The Daily Telegraph: China's answer to Twitter lost $47.4 million in the first three months of the year, compared with a loss of $19.2 million in 2013.
  • The Daily Telegraph: General Electric's purchase of Alstom would be "good for France", according to GE CEO Jeff Immelt.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Google's letter to Securities and Exchange Commission has raised expectations that it will embark on a spending spree in Britain with earmarked $30 billion funds for overseas deals.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Finnish power company, Fortum, axed French and Germans from nuclear project to hire Rolls-Royce.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Following on the footspteps of Lloyds, other mortgage providers are expected to tighten borrowing requirements as figures show 36% increase in value of mortgages in one year.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Saga’s backers have failed to drum up enough interest in the cruises-to-insurance group’s listing to secure a £2.5 billion valuation in a sign that investors are becoming more cautious about the companies they invest in; bankers handling the transaction said on Wednesday they planned to price Saga’s offer at between 185p and 205p a share – the bottom of an original 185p to 245p range.
  • Financial Times: Filaret Galchev, the second largest shareholder in cement group Holcim agreed to support the $40 billion merger with France’s Lafarge on the understanding that he could bid to add some of the divested assets to his existing cement portfolio.
  • Financial Times: Shareholders of Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Italy’s third-largest bank by assets, have given the go ahead to a €5 billion capital raising in a step that effectively lifts the threat of nationalisation from the bank.
  • Financial Times: Drambuie, the Scottish liqueur that kept up the spirits of Bonnie Prince Charlie, is to be sold for the first time in a century; the MacKinnon family that owns the brand, can hope to capitalise on the booming cocktail market and a thirst for heritage brands from Asian companies looking for international expansion.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Gazprom / China: bear hug.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Bank conduct: fine times.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Club Med: sunburn.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Maersk: naut yet.
  • Financial Times (Lex): UK Takeover Panel: code game.

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