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Thursday Papers: IMF’s Lagarde under formal investigation

Thursday Papers: IMF’s Lagarde under formal investigation

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, has been placed under formal investigation by a French court on suspicion of negligence in a political scandal that dates from her time as finance minister under former president Nicolas Sarkozy.
  • The Daily Telegraph: More than 100 Scottish business leaders 'wanted to sign pro-UK letter but feared SNP backlash', claimed Gavin Hewitt, former Scotch Whisky Association chairman, adding that businessmen feared planning applications would be stonewalled by SNP councils.
  • The Guardian: George Osborne will miss his target of doubling UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020 because the government has failed to take the radical action needed, a leading business lobby group, British Chambers of Commerce, has said.
  • Financial Times: A Royal Dutch Shell-led consortium is close to selling several Nigerian oilfields for about $5 billion to domestic buyers, as foreign companies retreat from sub-Saharan Africa’s oldest oil industry.
  • Financial Times: Alibaba has posted a surge in mobile revenues and raised its internal valuation to $140 billion as the Chinese ecommerce giant prepares for one of the most eagerly anticipated flotations in years.
  • Financial Times: Migrants to Germany from other EU states may have child benefit capped at levels paid in their home countries, under proposals being considered by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government in response to popular concern over migration from eastern Europe.
  • Financial Times: Foxtons’ shares slid by more than 11% on Wednesday after the London estate agency chain forecast a cooling-off in the capital’s booming housing market.
  • The Guardian: The global insurance industry covered $21 billion (£12.7 billion) of losses from disasters in the first half of 2014 as fewer natural catastrophes kept claims below their long-term average.
  • The Guardian: Ryanair has launched a business service in the airline's latest move to revamp its image and catch up with travellers' demands for better treatment.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Sainsbury's sales slid as Morrisons fought back and Aldi and Lidl continued the expansion.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Most homes changing hands in the British property market are now selling at a discount, according to new figures, as tighter mortgage rules and the prospect of rising interest rates cool potential buyers’ ardour.
  • Financial Times: The City has warned that an independent Scotland would find funding itself harder if the state carried out an “irresponsible threat” to walk away from its share of UK national debt.
  • Financial Times: Wealthy Russians are cooling on London’s luxury houses, leaving Italians as the only major group of buyers increasing their share of the market.
  • Financial Times: Royal Bank of Scotland’s efforts to clean up its image under a new chief executive suffered a blow on Wednesday as the UK regulator exposed a litany of failings in the lender’s mortgage business.
  • Financial Times: British mobile money company Monitise has signed a partnership agreement with IBM in the latest sign that technology groups are pushing further into the lucrative financial services sector.
  • Financial Times: Spanish retailer Zara has withdrawn a child’s “sheriff” shirt hours after launching it following a public outcry that the stripy top with a yellow star over the left breast resembled clothing worn by inmates in Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust.
  • Financial Times: Russia’s largest aluminium and steel companies reported their first profits in more than a year on Wednesday as a weak rouble, higher prices and tough cost-cutting measures helped the country’s metals sector shine despite slowing domestic growth and geopolitical uncertainty.
  • Financial Times: Tiffany & Co has raised its profit forecast for the second time in less than six months, after sparkling second-quarter sales in the Americas and Asia Pacific boosted the US luxury jeweller’s earnings by 16%.
  • Financial Times: South Korea’s competition watchdog is investigating the country’s four largest commercial banks over possible interest rates collusion, adding to a growing list of probes globally into the alleged rigging of various financial prices and benchmarks.
  • Financial Times: The European Central Bank has stepped up preparations for a fresh move to combat deflation by appointing BlackRock to advise on a possible bond-buying scheme.
  • Financial Times: Tim Hortons took out a double-page ad in Canada’s largest national newspaper on Wednesday featuring two identical cups of coffee and the words, “before” and “after”.
  • Financial Times: Tesco’s wounds from the supermarket price war deepened on Wednesday after industry figures showed a 4% fall in quarterly sales at the UK’s largest supermarket chain, which last month ousted its chief executive.
  • Financial Times: Tesco’s wounds from the supermarket price war deepened on Wednesday after industry figures showed a 4% fall in quarterly sales at the UK’s largest supermarket chain, which last month ousted its chief executive.
  • Financial Times: James Fisher, the marine services business, shrugged off the strength of sterling to record another double digit profit increase.
  • Financial Times: A Department of Justice review into the antiquated US music licensing system is highlighting the tension between digital music services and publishers, who claim they are being left behind by innovations in music consumption.
  • Daily Mail: Shares in ASOS have recovered some of their sharp losses of recent months with a jump of 17 per cent today on rumours that a US bid for a big stake is in the wings.
  • Daily Express: Gamblers using smartphones to play roulette and poker helped 888 achieve record revenues but profits fell in the first half.
  • The Guardian: Qantas has suffered a huge $2.8 billion loss in the wake of the airline’s profit-draining battle with rival Virgin and another poor performance from its international division.
  • The Guardian: The US budget picture will likely worsen in coming months as companies wait until next year to see what actions Congress will take on taxes, a report from the Congressional Budget Office showed on Wednesday.
  • The Guardian: Matalan has donated less than $120,000 (£72,000) to a UN-backed compensation fund for victims of the Rana Plaza factory disaster in Bangladesh, far less than the amount called for by workers' rights campaigners.
  • The Guardian: Spain's retail fashion chain Desigual – best known for its signature bright and clashing prints – has reported profits of €66 million in the first quarter of the year, 48% up on the same period in 2013.
  • The Guardian: Snapchat, the popular mobile app which allows users to share photographs that are automatically deleted within seconds, has been valued at a staggering $10 billion.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Apple set to unveil iWatch alongside iPhone 6 'on September 9'; the wearable device could allow users to control lights and garage doors wherever they are in the house.
  • The Daily Telegraph: FBI is investigating alleged Russian cyber attack on Wall Street as major US financial institutions reportedly targeted by sophisticated high-level cyber-attack amid suspicions that operation was launched in retaliation for sanctions over Ukraine.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Outlook for French business remains bleak, while a key consumer gauge in Germany suggests Europe's biggest economy will "shift down a gear or two at least".

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Commerzbank has sold a shipping portfolio worth €160 million as the lender continues to wind down assets in its so-called bad bank.
  • Financial Times: Fonterra, the world’s biggest milk supplier, is tying up with one of China’s biggest infant formula makers as part of a global partnership aimed at capitalising on growing demand in the mainland’s $15 billion baby milk market.
  • Financial Times: The battle for Brazil’s telecoms market is set to intensify after one of the country’s largest phone companies signalled it may buy a stake in Telecom Italia’s local mobile business.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Tiffany: stay classy.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Orbitz: travel sick.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Brazilian telecoms: Oi vey.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Shareholder value: controlling interests.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Boral: a house in order.

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