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Thursday Papers: Ex-chancellors warn of housing bubble danger

Thursday Papers: Ex-chancellors warn of housing bubble danger

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Three former chancellors of the exchequer - Lord Lawson, Lord Lamont and Alistair Darling - have urged George Osborne to rethink his Help to Buy programme, with the OECD also calling on the government to scale back the mortgage support scheme.
  • The Guardian: Barclays will announce on Thursday that it is cutting up to 8,000 investment banking roles – almost a third of the division's workforce – as it retreats from one of the most controversial parts of its business.
  • The Independent: Lord Myners has called for a radical overhaul of the embattled Co-operative Group if the 150-year old institution wants to survive; he warned the Co-op Group's board was "not competent to do the duties required of it" and recommended a complete shake-up of governance to "save" the embattled organisation.
  • Financial Times: David Cameron has told Pfizer he wants stronger assurances of its commitment to UK science as he left open the option of extending government powers to intervene in the US drugmaker’s £63 billion takeover approach for AstraZeneca.
  • Financial Times: Alstom rebuffed the French government saying it was not interested in taking over General Electric’s “niche” freight train business as part of a $13.5 billion deal to sell its energy division.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Tony Hayward to be named Glencore Xstrata chairman; former BP chief Tony Hayward to step down from Genel Energy in due course for permanent role at FTSE 100 commodities giant.
  • The Guardian: HSBC said it was on alert for the Bank of England to intervene in the housing sector amid growing concern that a collapse in the booming London market could threaten Britain's economic recovery.
  • Financial Times: Mondelez International and DE Master Blenders 1753 have agreed a deal to create a global coffee powerhouse with annual sales of more than $7 billion, and challenge market leader Nestlé.
  • Financial Times: Russian president Vladimir Putin on Wednesday called on pro-Russia groups in eastern Ukraine to postpone a planned referendum on independence, fuelling hopes of an easing of the crisis that has threatened to tear the country apart.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: The government’s Help to Buy 2 scheme has led to a quadrupling of the number of mortgage products on offer to borrowers with very small deposits.
  • Financial Times: Sweden’s central bank sounded the alarm on the Nordic country’s huge household debt burden amid an acrimonious debate on whether it should instead be focusing more on fighting deflation.
  • Financial Times: Countries around the world need to lower barriers to the global trade in services, the OECD said on Wednesday as it released a new index highlighting the significant obstacles still in place, particularly in emerging economies.
  • Financial Times: Dubai’s state holding company has for the first time revealed financial results, as the Gulf emirate seeks to tempt investors back to its reviving economy; the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), owner of many of Dubai’s corporate jewels, such as the Emirates airline, the airport duty-free business and Emaar, a property developer, unveiled the detailed numbers as part of a move to raise about $750 million in its first Islamic bond issue.
  • Financial Times: HSBC has suffered a fall of 20% in pre-tax profits in the first three months of the year, reflecting the impact of “challenging market conditions” in its investment banking activities.
  • Financial Times: Investors have scoffed at Fiat Chrysler’s five-year turnround plan - questioning the credibility of chief executive Sergio Marchionne’s goals and how he will manage to pay for them.
  • Financial Times: The chief executive of Veolia, the world’s biggest water and waste utility by sales, shot down rumours that the company was in merger talks with rival Suez Environnement, as the group reported a fall in first-quarter revenue.
  • Financial Times: Repsol has drawn a final line under the Spanish energy group’s ill-fated entanglement in Argentina, with the sale of its remaining 12% stake in YPF for $1.26 billion.
  • Financial Times: BSG Resources is preparing arbitration proceedings against Guinea’s president and government after the mining group had a licence revoked in the west African country because it was accused of corruption.
  • Financial Times: The details of more than 1 million customers of Orange have been stolen by hackers in the second such breach in just three months at France’s largest telecoms group.
  • Financial Times: Patton Boggs, the leading Washington law and lobbying firm, has agreed to pay $15 million to Chevron, the oil group, to settle a long-running legal battle over allegedly fraudulent damages claims for pollution in Ecuador.
  • Financial Times: SoftBank, the Japanese technology group, has warned of a less profitable year ahead, after seeing its annual operating profit jump more than 40% year on year.
  • Financial Times: King Digital Entertainment indicated on Wednesday that the popularity of its hit game Candy Crush Saga has peaked, sending its shares down 13% as the London-based company reported its first quarterly results as a public company.
  • Financial Times: Shares in Tesla Motors fell by 6% in after-market trading yesterday as Wall Street grew impatient for clearer evidence that plans for future generations of its electric vehicles and a giant battery plant were on track.
  • Financial Times: Experian shares fell 6% yesterday after the data analytics group warned about the negative effects of the Brazil World Cup and a reorganisation of its US consumer business.
  • Financial Times: J Sainsbury insisted it could withstand the escalating price war in the grocery sector as it announced a 5.3 % increase in underlying pre-tax profit for the year to March.
  • Financial Times: Buoyant equity markets and an uptick of initial public offerings drove Numis to record revenues in the past six months, reflecting strong performance for UK equities.
  • Financial Times: Whole Foods shares dropped nearly 19% on yesterday - their largest one-day fall in more than five years - after the upmarket US grocer warned of increasing competition in natural and organic foods from mainstream rivals.
  • Financial Times: Vodafone has sought international arbitration in its long-running $2.6 billion tax dispute with the Indian government, following the cancellation of conciliation talks earlier this year.
  • Financial Times: By 2018 a quarter of all non-food sales in the UK will be made online, according to PwC, putting logistics companies under great pressure to adapt their businesses as fast as ecommerce develops.
  • Financial Times: Record London sales coupled with rising numbers of emerging market art collectors propelled Sotheby’s to a better than expected first quarter, three days after it conceded a board presence to its largest shareholder, activist investor Dan Loeb.
  • Financial Times: From banks to beer and cigarettes, companies are feeling the pain from their Russian operations as Moscow’s stand-off with the west over the crisis in Ukraine takes a heavier economic toll.
  • Daily Mail: Car sales on road to beat 1980s record as new figures show 26th consecutive month of growth.
  • Daily Mail: EasyJet is to use robot drones to check its planes for damage, as part of an effort to reduce maintenance downtime by embracing new technology.
  • Daily Mail: Policymakers at the Bank of England will leave their monetary stance unchanged tomorrow amid growing pressure to consider rate rises earlier than the expected spring 2015 horizon.
  • Daily Mail: Durex and Reckitt Benckiser shareholders revolted against lavish executive pay.
  • Daily Express: Legal & General shrugged off concerns over a hit from a shake-up of the UK pensions system as it posted record quarterly results.
  • The Guardian: A House of Lords committee has urged changes in the law to fast-track fracking and ensure property owners cannot delay drilling under their land.
  • The Guardian: House prices are expected to continue rising through the summer after sector figures showed Britain's year-long property boom has failed to attract enough sellers to meet demand.
  • The Guardian: Lloyd's of London, the world's oldest and biggest insurance market, has for the first time called on insurers to incorporate climate change into their models.
  • The Guardian: An independent Scotland that votes to keep the pound would be forced into an unstable currency regime resembling the dollarisation seen in countries such as Panama, new research has concluded.
  • The Guardian: Congressional investigators are examining whether General Motors chief executive Mary Barra and other senior executives were more involved than they have publicly acknowledged as the automaker considered how to deal with a deadly ignition switch issue linked to at least 13 deaths, three sources familiar with the probe say.
  • The Guardian: Virgin Media has nudged back into revenue growth, adding 15,000 paying television customers and more than 40,000 broadband subscribers.
  • The Independent: Janet Yellen, the head of the US Federal Reserve, refused to give a timetable for when the Fed will allow interest rates to rise back toward normal levels yesterday, despite giving a generally upbeat outlook on how the US economy will expand faster this year than it did in 2013.
  • The Independent: The appointment of former banker Sir Win Bischoff to lead Britain's accounting and corporate governance watchdog was described as "the City looking after City insiders" at a hearing of the Treasury Select Committee yesterday.
  • The Independent: A sales slowdown in China and the US at designer Hugo Boss was off-set by its success in dressing women in Europe, the German fashion group revealed.
  • The Daily Telegraph: German industrial giant Siemens says it will not be forced into a white knight bid for Alstom while unveiling a major restructuring.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: OneSavings Bank has announced plans to list on the London Stock Exchange and raise £41 million, in the first of a series of flotations by “challenger” banks seeking to raise money and compete with established high street lenders.
  • Financial Times: ITV is ready to pay up to $800 million to acquire Leftfield Entertainment Group the producer of Real Housewives of New Jersey.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Carlsberg: probably the most puzzling brewer in eastern europe.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Alibaba: sale of the century.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Fiat: European upturn cannot come soon enough for carmaker.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Whole Foods: there are plenty of places to buy quinoa these days.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Mondelez: Coffee deal distracts from snack group’s eroding growth prospects.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Casino: a split could be what the French supermarket chain needs.
  • Financial Times (Comments): Alibaba IPO shows foreign investors able to skirt restrictions.

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