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Thursday Papers: Deloitte faces grilling over RSA

Thursday Papers: Deloitte faces grilling over RSA

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Top shareholders in RSA are demanding explanations from the insurer’s former auditor Deloitte for failing to spot accounting irregularities at its Irish arm which have damaged investor confidence in the FTSE 100 company.
  • Daily Mail: Marks and Spencer lost £178 million from its stock market value in the day’s trading session, which saw shares fall by 10.8 pence or 2.39% to 441.5 pence, as leading City broker UBS slashed its profit forecasts for the embattled retailer.
  • Financial Times: Brazil has chosen Sweden’s Saab to supply its next generation fighter jet, snubbing France and the US and handing the small Scandinavian defence company one of the emerging market’s biggest defence deals.
  • Financial Times: US companies are spending more on buying back their shares than at any time since the financial crisis; companies in the S&P 500 index repurchased $123.9 billion in shares in the third quarter of 2013, taking the total value of buybacks over the past 12 months to $448.1 billion – the highest since 2008, according to data provider FactSet.
  • Financial Times: Three senior bankers have been arrested and charged with offences related to an alleged €7.2 billion fraud involving Anglo Irish Bank, the defunct lender at the centre of Ireland’s banking crash.
  • The Guardian: Facebook Inc chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and dozens of banks must face a lawsuit accusing the social media company of misleading investors about its health before its $16 billion initial public offering, a federal judge said.
  • Financial Times: After just a day of deliberations, a jury has convicted Michael Steinberg, a former SAC Capital portfolio manager, of five counts conspiracy and securities fraud for trading shares of Dell and Nvidia after learning confidential earnings results in 2008 and 2009 from his research analyst.
  • The Guardian: Kurt Mix was convicted of deleting text messages from his cellphone to obstruct a federal investigation of the Gulf of Mexico spill.
  • The Independent: Taxpayers lost at least £230 million from the sale of a 6% chunk of state-backed Lloyds Banking Group to the private sector, according to a National Audit Office report.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Mobile giant Vodafone attacks 'lack of understanding' about corporation tax as it reports 19% fall in direct taxes overall.
  • The Guardian: BP has reported a "significant oil discovery" in the Gulf of Mexico, its first major find since the deadly rig explosion that triggered the worst environmental disaster in US history.

Business and economics

  • Daily Mail: EasyJet is braced for a fresh row with founder-shareholder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou after dishing out £5.5 million in share bonuses to a clutch of executives.
  • Financial Times: China has blocked the country’s Bitcoin exchanges from accepting new inflows of cash, a move that imperils the much-hyped virtual currency in its biggest market.
  • Financial Times: JP Morgan Chase’s investment banking co-heads banned their staff from using multi-bank instant messaging services on Wednesday, the latest sign of banks clamping down on a tool blemished by its use in market manipulation.
  • Financial Times: Ed Balls will on Thursday instruct colleagues to start identifying spending cuts in a “zero-based spending review” which he says will help a Labour government put Britain’s budget back into surplus.
  • Financial Times: The developing world is suffering from more credit rating downgrades than promotions for the first time since the financial crisis; Fitch Ratings has lifted its assessment of the creditworthiness of 10 developing countries in 2013, but has lowered it for 11 states.
  • The Independent: London’s West End has stolen Hong Kong's crown as the world’s most expensive office market after a 14% rise in costs this year, a leading property agent said.
  • The Guardian: US government scientists have for the first time connected the BP oil disaster to dolphin deaths in the Gulf of Mexico, in a study finding direct evidence of toxic exposure.
  • Financial Times: A German-backed deal on Europe’s banking union suffered a blow on Wednesday after the European Central Bank warned it would fail the test of market credibility without streamlined decision-making and better funding.
  • The Independent: The billionaire Reuben brothers are set to cash £600 million from the refinancing of data centre operator Global Switch.
  • Financial Times: Centrica will return £420 million to shareholders following the sale of three gas-fired power stations owned by its US subsidiary Direct Energy.
  • The Daily Telegraph: British Airways announces passengers can use mobile phones and iPads during takeoff and landing - but only in "flight safe" mode.
  • Financial Times: General Electric expects its revenue growth to accelerate next year as the US economy continues to strengthen, the US manufacturing and financial group told investors on Wednesday.
  • Financial Times: General Mills stock lost 2.4% to $48.38 after the company said its full-year profit could come in at the lower end of its forecast.
  • Financial Times: Net income of FedEx grew 14% to $500 million in the three months to the end of November, on revenues up 3% to $11.4 billion, compared with the same quarter last year, when Superstorm Sandy affected the company’s results; earnings per diluted share rose 13% to $1.57.
  • The Guardian: Car parts suppliers warn 30,000 jobs hinge on keeping Toyota in Australia.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The British government has approved plans for a 1.3 km quay and facilities to build and assemble offshore wind turbines on the south bank of the Humber.
  • Financial Times: US legislators are calling for further investigation of the multibillion-dollar data broker industry for its practice of selling information that identifies and scores financially vulnerable individuals.
  • The Independent: Media giant Reed Elsevier is set to join forces with London’s biggest university, University College London, to share knowledge and technology on data and analytics.
  • Financial Times: The downturn in the European auto industry and difficult conditions in South America have put future profitability targets at Ford “at risk”, the US’s second-biggest carmaker by sales has warned.
  • Financial Times: ConvergEx, a leading transactions services provider, has agreed to pay $150 million and its Bermuda subsidiary has pleaded guilty to allegations it “fleeced” investors, including pension funds and institutional investors, by repeatedly overcharging them through hidden fees.
  • Financial Times: The group that owns The Times newspaper has lost more than £500 million in the past decade; Times Newspapers Limited, which operates The Times and The Sunday Times, reported a pre-tax loss of £24.4 million for the year ending June 2013.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Daily Telegraph: RM2, a fledgling manufacturing company backed by Invesco and with City grandees Paul Walsh and Sir Stuart Rose on its board, heads towards £278.3 million Aim market flotation.
  • Financial Times: Aston Martin has reached an agreement with Mercedes-Benz under which the German carmaker will supply engines in exchange for as much as a 5% stake in the British sports car company.
  • Financial Times: Norway has agreed to buy 16 AgustaWestland search and rescue helicopters for more than £1 billion, in another blow to Eurocopter, a division of pan-European aerospace and defence company EADS.
  • The Guardian (Comment): It's encouraging the US has a budget, but the economic ignorance continues in Washington, especially among Republicans.
  • The Guardian (Comment): Organised crime has taken a hold on Britain's food, banking and other industries, which are now effectively beyond the rule of law.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): The moral contours of QE depend on your angle of vision. But would you rather be surrounded by mass unemployment?
  • Daily Mail (Comment): Ben Bernanke marked the end of his tenure with the start of the 'taper' as the winding down of QE money-printing in America is known.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Returning cash: If companies are returning more cash to investors because there are fewer opportunities to invest, that is bad news for share prices
  • Financial Times (Lex): Ford: The US automaker’s international operations did not seem so important. Until now
  • Financial Times (Lex): Bitcoin: The fall in Bitcoin’s market capitalisation – to $9bn – sounds like a bubble popped by the ultimate test of government hostility
  • Financial Times (Lex): European oil services: French companies are the latest to struggle in a sector that used to outperform, but one that has had a terrible year

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