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Thursday Papers: M&S profits plunge 62% amid sweeping store closure plans

Thursday Papers: M&S profits plunge 62% amid sweeping store closure plans

Top stories

  • Daily Mail: Marks & Spencer’s profits dived 62% to £66.8 million in the year to 31 March as it racked up a huge bill for store closures.
  • Daily Mail: Barclays chairman John McFarlane is keen on a £61 billion mega-merger with rival bank Standard Chartered, which is likely to split Barclays’ boardroom.
  • Financial Times: The “max fac” customs deal with EU favoured by Brexiters will cost business an additional bureaucracy costing of up to £20 billion a year.
  • The Guardian: NHS needs an additional £2,000 a year in tax from British households to cope with the demands of an ageing population, according to a new report.
  • The Guardian: Uber will stop its self-driving car programme in Arizona after a fatal accident that killed a pedestrian there in March.

Business and economics

  • The Guardian: US President Donald Trump has said that a trade deal with China is “too hard to get done” in the current framework.
  • Daily Express: Nationwide became the first major lender to enable homeowners to keep borrowing until they die by launching an interest-only retirement mortgage.
  • The Times: Vedanta chairman Anil Agarwal has played down concerns about the environmental record of the company’s copper plant in southern India yesterday, after at least 11 protesters were shot dead by police.
  • Financial Times: Uber cut its losses in the first quarter as the ride-hailing company looks to improve financial outlook ahead of expected initial public offering in 2019.
  • The Times: Pre-tax profit at Jaguar Land Rover fell by £100 million to £1.5 billion due to falling demand for diesel cars and increased investment in new vehicles and technology.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Eurozone’s economic growth slowed to an 18-month low in May raising fears there will be no rebound from the weak first quarter.
  • Daily Express: A disappointing UK consumer price inflation release for April pressured pound to new one-year low.
  • The Guardian: Dairy Crest is planning to sell £70 million worth of new shares to institutional investors to partly fund an £85 million expansion of its cheese factory in Cornwall.
  • Financial Times: Turkish lira fell to almost TL5 to the dollar yesterday, intensifying pressure on Ankara to raise interest rates barely a month ahead of crucial elections.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Takeaway website Just Eat has roped in Dragons’ Den star Sarah Willingham to help the restaurants that use the site to grow and become more profitable.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Water utility Severn Trent is planning to spend £100 million in a programme that will include leak-detecting robots, after earning financial rewards from the industry regulator for beating its delivery targets.
  • Daily Mail: London property market suffered worst annual slowdown since September 2009 amid March’s cold weather with the average house prices across the UK falling by 0.2% compared to February.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Britvic reported more than 16% decline in pre-tax profits in the six months to 15 April after a new growth in its Robinsons and Pepsi brands failed to offset the costs of closing its Norwich site.
  • Financial Times: Fortis Healthcare, one of India’s biggest healthcare companies, lost a key board member after its shareholders voted overwhelmingly to remove Brian Tempest.
  • Financial Times: A bank regulator appointed by Trump is pushing US banks to expand into short-term, small dollar lending.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The boss of Qatar Airways has warned that the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar might set a precedent that could spread to other parts of the world including Europe.
  • The Guardian: A 37.6% of Bovis Homes’ shareholders revolted over the pay package it awarded its interim chief executive; but the remuneration report was passed with the backing of 62.4% of investors.
  • Financial Times: Sony’s new chief executive is planning to position data and artificial intelligence at the centre of the company’s survival strategy to combat onslaught from the likes of Amazon and Google.
  • The Daily Telegraph: British banking app Revolut is moving ahead with the cryptocurrencies push with its investments in Ripple and Bitcoin Cash, despite the Bitcoin boom waning.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The beleaguered German banking giant Deutsche Bank is considering cutting 10,000 staff globally, putting City jobs in firing line.
  • Financial Times: Lloyds’s of London has got an approval to open a subsidiary in Belgium, which will allow the insurance market to continue doing business in EU after Brexit.
  • The Guardian: Arcadia Group owner Tina Green, the wife of Sir Philip Green, received £25 million from the retail empire last year despite a near wipeout of profits at its flagship Topshop brand.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Topshop has posted a multi-million pound loss in its last financial year, becoming the latest retailer to have taken a battering from tough conditions on the high street.
  • Financial Times: Babcock International is in discussion with BAE Systems and other potential partners about a joint UK bid to build Britain’s next big naval base.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Times (Tempus share tips): BUY Babcock; BUY Bakkavor.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Questor): U+I’s shares are still held back by the sins of its past – buy before they recover.
  • The Times: Rio Tinto is in talks to sell its interest in Grasberg copper mine complex near Timika in Indonesia for a rumoured $3.5 billion.
  • The Guardian: Activist investor TCI, which owns a $5 billion-plus stake in 21st Century Fox, has told the board to fairly evaluate Comcast’s $60 billion bid against Disney’s $52 billion offer.
  • Financial Times: The UK and Ireland-based bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair has acquired fantasy sports site FanDuel.
  • Financial Times: Struggling UK DIY chain Homebase has attracted bids from a number of turnround investors, including Alteri Investors and Hilco.
  • Financial Times: Pershing Square, an activist hedge fund owned by Bill Ackman, has acquired a $1 billion stake in Lowe.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): Marks & Spencer's duo of chairman Archie Norman and chief exec Steve Rowe run out of time.
  • The Guardian (Comment): Barclays' smoke and mergers will not deflect tough questions.
  • The Independent (Comment): There is a perception that the bank must do "something" in response to the presence of activist investor Ed Bramson on its shareholder register, but a big deal is unlikely.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): M&S sends out SOS as its troubles grow much deeper.
  • The Times (Comment): Oil investors fear Opec will turn taps back on.

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