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Thursday Papers: Fresh stand-off looms after US cliff deal

Thursday Papers: Fresh stand-off looms after US cliff deal

Top stories

  • Financial Times: The last-minute deal over the US fiscal cliff triggered a lift in equity markets around the world; but the rally may not last long as the White House and Republicans are already positioning themselves for a series of even greater confrontations over the budget in the early months of the year.
  • Financial Times (Editorial): In the end, the US president got the better of a mediocre deal.
  • Financial Times: Bank of America is ramping up mortgage and corporate lending after two years of focusing on capital levels and cost-cutting under chief executive Brian Moynihan.
  • Financial Times: Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings has given the renewable energy industry a new year boost by agreeing to spend up to $2.5 billion on what is set to be the world’s biggest solar photovoltaic operation.
  • The Independent: The British government's levy on the banks will raise only £1.8 billion in the current financial year, much less than the £2.5 billion figure repeatedly trumpeted by David Cameron and George Osborne.
  • Daily Mail: House prices in Britain are still artificially high according to economists, despite a report revealing that the property market is set for the longest slump since records began.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Defence companies, including BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin, competing for a £1.5 billion contract to replace Britain’s military air traffic infrastructure will submit proposals over the next few days.
  • Financial Times: Shell is gearing up for a crucial test of its Arctic equipment this month as the oil major’s plans to drill off the north coast of Alaska suffer fresh setbacks.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Emirates, the ambitious Dubai carrier, will move within touching distance of becoming the world’s biggest airline this year, research suggests.
  • Financial Times: Research In Motion, the struggling Canadian manufacturer of the BlackBerry family of smartphones, paid rival Nokia €50 million to settle a patent dispute between the two companies related primarily to WiFi networking.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The familiar four-fingered and three-dimensional shape of a KitKat, created in 1935 in York, has been ruled as exclusive to Nestle following the latest stage of a long-running legal battle.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Nationwide Building Society plans to raise more than £500 million of capital early this year in response to regulatory demands for UK lenders to strengthen their balance sheets.
  • Financial Times: US banks and other large cross-border companies will retain a key tax break covering billions of dollars in foreign income under this week’s fiscal cliff deal.
  • The Daily Telegraph: A group of leading British investors has secured a pledge from the European Commission that it will intervene to deal with fears that bank accounting rules are “dangerously flawed”.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Vodafone "seriously" considered setting up as a full-scale retail bank, its chief executive Vittorio Colao has revealed.
  • Financial Times: China’s gambling mecca hit a lucky streak in December with Macau casino revenues jumping 19.6% year-on-year, to a record $3.5 billion for the month, marking a positive end to a year of slowing growth in the industry.
  • Financial Times: Sales of downloaded music, video and games passed the £1 billion mark for the first time last year as more British households took advantage of broadband connections and smartphones.

Business and economics

  • The Guardian: One of David Cameron's favourite business leaders, WPP advertising group boss Sir Martin Sorrell, has intervened in the Starbucks tax controversy, suggesting the contributions made by multinational companies to the public purse are "a question of judgment".
  • Financial Times: Oil prices strengthened as traders cheered the last-minute deal on the US fiscal cliff.
  • The Guardian: Car sales in France and Spain in 2012 fell to their lowest levels for at least 15 years, with December registration data underscoring the challenges facing the broader European economy.
  • Financial Times: New figures from Fitch Ratings show that US money market funds raised their exposure to eurozone banks by 8% as of the end of November compared with the previous month, the fifth consecutive monthly increase.
  • The Guardian: The British Markit/CIPS Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index rose to a 15-month high of 51.4 in December from an upwardly revised 49.2 in November – a far stronger increase than any predicted in a Reuters poll of 24 economists.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Portugal's President Anibal Cavaco Silva has ordered a legal inquiry into the country’s austerity policies and threatened a showdown with creditors over the draconian terms of its EU-IMF bail-out.
  • Financial Times: Shares in AirAsia, listed in Kuala Lumpur, fell about 27% last year, underperforming the Datastream Asian airlines index significantly.
  • Financial Times: Rosneft and Gazprom lead production increases from Soviet era fields to secure Russia place alongside Saudi Arabia in league of crude oil output.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Nomura has quietly shelved a proposed $150 million fund-raising for an Indonesian client that involved companies controversially sold out of one of Bumi’s key assets.
  • Financial Times: Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors, which together rank fifth in global car sales, warned that this year would be their slowest in a decade as the stronger Korean won threatens export competitiveness.
  • Financial Times: John Lewis has said its total sales rose 14.8% to £684.8 million in the five weeks to 29 December, compared with the year earlier period; excluding new stores, sales rose 13% year on year.
  • The Daily Telegraph: A total of 194 retailers fell into administration last year, according to accountancy firm Deloitte; this compares to 183 in 2011 and is an 18% rise on the 165 in 2010.
  • Daily Mail: Stricken CD-seller HMV is in crunch meetings with its lenders as it tries to avoid falling into the hands of its banks, which could happen if it fails a crucial financial health check due later this month.
  • Financial Times: Two-thirds of companies in the FTSE 100 have websites that are difficult to use on smartphones, a study shows, in a sign that UK blue-chips are failing to keep pace with mobile internet adoption.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: CVC Capital Partners, the European private equity group that is preparing to raise up to €11 billion for a buyout fund this year, is to buy Cerved Group, a corporate intelligence and rating agency based in Milan; the deal values the company at about €1.13 billion.
  • Financial Times: A consortium led by Posco and China Steel has agreed to take a 15% stake in a Canadian iron ore mine owned by ArcelorMittal for $1.1 billion, as the Asian steelmakers seek greater control over their supply of raw materials.
  • The Daily Telegraph: International Mining and Infrastructure Corporation has confirmed it has submitted a takeover approach for Afferro Mining.
  • Financial Times: Avis Budget Group, the US car rental chain, has agreed to buy car-sharing network Zipcar for nearly $500 million.
  • The Guardian (Comment): With another year of stagnation staring us in the face, it is now time to look for a real alternative to the current economic strategy of austerity and wait-and-see.
  • The Guardian (Comment): Chuka Umunna, the shadow business secretary, has suggested that the UK adopt the US initiative Small Business Saturday, which once a year urges consumers to shop at local independent stores. Is this a good idea?
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): 2013 will be another non-year. Let’s pray that 2014 will be better. It couldn’t be worse. Could it?
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): If bonds are a bubble, why haven't they already burst?
  • Daily Mail (Comment – Alex Brummer): Could the New Year put Great back into Britain?
  • Financial Times (Lex): Bank of America: the rebounding US bank still needs to prove to investors that it can keep its past firmly in the past.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Posco and China Steel have bought a stake in a mining company from ArcelorMittal but the deal will do little to solve steel industry’s weaknesses.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Russia’s new restrictions on beer sales continue to make Carlsberg, which has invested heavily in the country, look vulnerable.
  • Financial Times (Lex): US payroll tax: shares of companies that depend on the working-class consumer conspicuously affected by budget deal.

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