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Thursday Papers: NY regulator opens currency probe

Thursday Papers: NY regulator opens currency probe

Top stories

  • Financial Times: New York’s top banking regulator has demanded documents from more than a dozen banks, opening a new front in the sprawling global investigation into alleged foreign exchange manipulation.
  • Financial Times: Google ended its three-year tangle with antitrust regulators on Wednesday, as Brussels largely cleared the company’s practice of overriding its own algorithmically chosen results to put paid-for links at the top of its pages.
  • The Guardian: British Business Secretary Vince Cable has insisted it is "almost certain" that an independent Scotland would need its own currency and warned that Royal Bank of Scotland would move to London in the wake of a breakaway.
  • Financial Times: A surprise slowdown in Twitter’s user growth knocked more than $6 billion off the messaging platform’s market capitalisation in after-hours trading on Wednesday, even though its revenue and net loss of $512 million for 2013 was better than expected.
  • Financial Times: Sony is closing in on a sale of Vaio to Japan Industrial Partners – a private equity venture backed by Bain Capital and Mizuho Securities – after several strategic buyers balked at taking on the personal computer business, according to a person familiar with the process.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Apple is facing a €1.5 billion patent trial in Germany.
  • The Independent: The decision to appoint Stephen Hester as RSA Insurance boss has reduced the likelihood of a takeover of the troubled group and a fire sale of any its assets, analysts claimed on Wednesday.
  • Financial Times: Aston Martin is recalling almost 18,000 cars – 75% of the cars it built since 2008 – after discovering a Chinese supplier used fake materials in its cars’ accelerator pedals.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Net income of Walt Disney rose a third from $1.38 billion to $1.84 billion in the first quarter.
  • Financial Times: Swedish Bank SEB’s operating profit in the fourth quarter was 79% higher than the year before at SKr5 billion; another Swedish bank, Handelsbanken, said its operating profit increased 6% in 2013 on the previous year, to SKr18.1 billion.
  • The Guardian: Swatch Group - the world's biggest watch company - has unveiled a better-than-expected 20% jump in annual profits to Sfr1.9 billion, beating estimates for Sfr1.6 billion in a Reuters poll.
  • Daily Mail: Shares in GlaxoSmithKline rose 25.5 pence to 1579.5 pence on Wednesday after the drugs giant said its sales decline was ‘starting to stabilise’ in China, where the firm has been rocked by a damaging bribery and corruption scandal.
  • Daily Express: GW Pharmaceuticals increased revenue over the three months to 31 December to £7.5 million compared with £5.2 million the previous year; it posted a net loss after tax of £2.8 million compared with a £2.1 million profit last time.
  • Financial Times: Loans amounting to €625 million made by Anglo Irish Bank to a group of wealthy individuals in 2008 “broke Irish company law”, a state prosecutor told a court in Dublin on Wednesday, as the biggest legal case in the nation’s corporate history began.
  • The Guardian: Netflix is committed to spending almost $3 billion on TV and film content in 2014 and more than $6 billion over the next three years, as the cost of securing international rights and commissioning new shows continues to mount on the streaming giant's balance sheet.
  • Financial Times: Giant ships could have to wait longer before they can ply their way through the Panama Canal after talks between the canal’s authority and the Spanish-led consortium building new locks broke down, throwing the $5.2 billion expansion project into disarray days before the canal celebrates its centenary.
  • Financial Times: More than a quarter of the loans extended last year to middle-market US companies – the beating heart of corporate America – were issued by shadow banks that fall outside the realm of traditional finance.
  • Financial Times: Water shortages have put the US oil and gas industry on a “collision course” with other users because of the large volumes needed for hydraulic fracturing, a group of leading investors has warned.
  • Daily Mail: Publishing group DMGT pulled in revenues of £472 million during the quarter – an increase of 6% - in the three months to the end of 2013, boosted by the strength of MailOnline and its business-to-business division.
  • The Guardian: Virgin Atlantic is to stop flying to Australia, having decided its Sydney route is no longer economically viable.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Heathrow Airport says it has taken five years to strike a deal with Colombia's national airline over direct flights from London due to a lack of spare hub capacity.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Coca Cola has taken a 10% stake in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, maker of the Keurig single-serve coffee brewer, for $1.25 billion.
  • The Daily Telegraph: A £20 million bid by Aim-listed Tangiers Petroleum for Australia's Jacka Resources is in disarray after investors force out deal's architects.
  • The Guardian: Manx Telecom, the Isle of Man broadband and mobile operator, has announced plans for a £156 million flotation in London.
  • Financial Times: Lazard’s chief executive Kenneth Jacobs said the regulatory environment was likely to damp high-level bank mergers and acquisitions in the US, despite other macroeconomic factors that could drive an uptick in overall deal activity.
  • Daily Mail: Publishing group DMGT said its property website Zoopla could be sold or floated on the stock market, as it reported rising turnover.
  • The Guardian (Editorial): In the end, if there is not a large output gap to play with, taxes will have to rise. But don't expect any politician to tell you that until after election day.
  • The Guardian (Comment): But in disappointment comes opportunity – and world leaders should seize the chance to pursue more aggressive reforms.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Insular ECB is playing dangerous game of chicken with deflationary world forces.
  • Daily Mail (Comment – Alex Brummer): Could Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King save Centrica?
  • Financial Times (Lex): Twitter: The network’s plans must adjust to its slowing user growth
  • Financial Times (Lex): Rand standing: An EM rebound is worth catching, but not at this price
  • Financial Times (Lex): Under Armour: The brand relies on weekend warriors – and they are fickle
  • Financial Times (Lex): Middle market lending: CLOs returned post-crisis, but other structures have proliferated

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