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Thursday Papers: Oil majors begin evacuation from Iraq

Thursday Papers: Oil majors begin evacuation from Iraq

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Oil majors including ExxonMobil and BP started evacuating staff from Iraq on Wednesday as Sunni militants battled for control of the north’s main oil facility and clashes continued to rage across the country.
  • Financial Times: The US Federal Reserve played down the risk of higher inflation on Wednesday as it cut the monthly pace of its bond buying to $35 billion.
  • The Independent: New members of the Bank of England’s key rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee have left financial markets in a state of confusion over the likely timing of the first rate rise.
  • Financial Times: The World Gold Council, the marketing body for the gold industry, has called a conference “to explore reform” of the global bullion benchmark; the move will put pressure on the four investment banks who run the “fix” - a twice daily auction to set the benchmark – to open the process to external scrutiny.
  • The Guardian: Vince Cable has rebuked the Bank of England on Wednesday for blocking reforms to lending rules that currently favour mortgages over loans to small businesses.
  • The Guardian: London will be the base for the first clearing bank outside Asia for the Chinese currency, supporting Britain's push to be the leading western centre for offshore renminbi trading.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Valeant has launched $53 billion hostle bid for Allergan as the Canadian drug company has taken the directly to Allergan's shareholders.
  • Financial Times: Amazon muscled into the smartphone market on Wednesday, launching a handset called Fire and betting that the ecommerce group’s vast library of digital content would help it take on big-gun rivals Apple and Samsung.
  • The Guardian: General Motors boss Mary Barra was grilled again by Congress on Wednesday as the chairman of the House committee investigating its fatal ignition switch scandal said he continued to believe there had been a cover-up at the car giant.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: China Investment Corporation, the world’s fourth-largest sovereign wealth fund, has been accused by the country’s top auditor of mismanagement, dereliction of duty and poor due diligence just seven years after its inception.
  • Financial Times: Britain still has some way to go before reaping the full benefit in exports from China’s rapid growth but there are hopes the country’s urbanisation and rising middle class will spur demand for British branded goods and services.
  • Financial Times: The International Monetary Fund is expected to sound the alarm over the risk of deflation within the eurozone and to urge the European Central Bank to consider US-style quantitative easing, including “large-scale” purchases of sovereign bonds, to stimulate growth.
  • Financial Times: Argentina has made a key concession in its long-running dispute with a group of so-called holdout creditors after agreeing to a meeting in New York next week to discuss debt repayments that could help the nation avert a looming default.
  • Financial Times: Berkeley, the upmarket housebuilder, has suggested that policy makers should impose targeted rate rises on London and withdraw the Help to Buy scheme in the capital to cool the city’s property market.
  • Financial Times: Regulators around the world are struggling to keep pace with the constantly evolving shadow banking sector, as they grapple with gaps in their understanding of the financial system and inter-agency turf wars play out in key jurisdictions.
  • Financial Times: The shock failure of New World Development’s $2.4 billion plan to take private its Chinese property arm this week has become a financial whodunnit as Hong Kong’s bankers, hedge funds and lawyers struggle to figure out who blocked the vote and whether it marks new risks for takeovers in the territory.
  • Financial Times: By holing AP Møller-Maersk’s plans for a grand European shipping alliance below the waterline, the Chinese government has sent a powerful message that it will not hesitate to block deals deemed detrimental to corporate and consumer interests in the world’s second-largest economy.
  • Financial Times: Rupert Soames, the new chief executive of Serco, has tightened his grip on the global outsourcing business, closing its regional headquarters in Hong Kong and ensuring that its troubled Australian operations come under the closer watch of senior management.
  • Financial Times: Traditional estate agents face being wiped out by the rapid growth of online property portals which make it easier for sellers to market their homes to buyers directly.
  • Financial Times: Hennes & Mauritz is stepping up the pace of its move online and will introduce a full range of shoes as the Swedish purveyor of cheap chic continues its expansion drive.
  • Financial Times: Shares in FedEx, the parcel delivery company, surged in early trading in New York after it published better than expected results for the year to 31 May and announced a bullish forecast for the current financial year.
  • Financial Times: GW Pharmaceuticals, a British company developing a cannabis-based epilepsy drug for children is aiming to raise another $150 million after a ninefold increase in its share price over the past year.
  • Financial Times: The Irish government is to raise the maximum amount of tax levied on offshore oil and gas production to 55% but has stopped short of setting up a national oil company along the lines of Norway’s Statoil.
  • Financial Times: Business groups have flagged up concerns that tough rules aimed at stemming money laundering are hampering flows of trade finance; the International Chamber of Commerce said that rising legal risks had prompted a number of large banks to terminate their correspondent banking relationships, which was damaging access of some firms to trade and export finance service.
  • Financial Times: New accounting rules on the way European banks book losses could mean they need to put aside more capital, adding to the pressure they already face from regulators.
  • Financial Times: US share buybacks and dividend payments climbed to a record level in the first quarter of 2014, as companies chose to boost shareholder returns in the absence of robust revenue growth.
  • Financial Times: Asia is on the brink of overtaking North America as the largest wealth management market in the world, as growth in the number of millionaires worldwide accelerated further last year; the number of individuals with at least $1 million in investable assets increased 15%, to 13.7 million, over the past year, according to the latest World Wealth Report by Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management.
  • Financial Times: Reliance Industries, India’s largest private sector company by revenue, has increased its investment in a long-awaited telecoms division to Rs700 billion ($11.6 billion), as part of its plan to reshape the country’s mobile industry.
  • Financial Times: Mike Ashley has muscled in alongside Sir Philip Green to become a shareholder of Australian online business MySale, picking up a 4.8% stake in the business.
  • Financial Times: One of Russia’s largest energy projects would struggle if the west followed through on threats to sanction technology exports to the Russian oil and gas industry, according to a senior executive at Total, the French oil major that is a partner in the project.
  • Financial Times: Shares in Premier Foods fell more than 9% on Wednesday after the maker of Mr Kipling cakes and Bisto gravy warned that sales of its key “power brands” will be below forecast.
  • Financial Times: Centaurus, the London event-driven hedge fund bought earlier this year by Fortress, has opened its new European-focused event and activism fund to outside investors as its founders seek to profit from an increase in mergers and capital raisings in the continent.
  • Financial Times: Helena Morrissey, known as an advocate of increasing the number of women in British boardrooms, has been named the new head of the UK’s investment management lobby group; Morrissey, who is chief executive of Newton Asset Management, will chair the newly formed Investment Association.
  • Daily Mail: Online retailer N Brown has reported strong sales as brands such as Figleaves.com, Simply Be and Jacamo helped group revenues to jump 2.6 per cent in the 15 weeks to June 14.
  • Daily Mail: Wealthy young Britons have the same problems as the rest of the country when it comes to planning their retirements, wildly underestimating the amount they need to get their desired income; a study of Europe's 'mass affluents' - those with between €75,000 and €750,000 to invest - by BlackRock Global Investor has highlighted a massive gulf between expectation and reality among British yuppies.
  • Daily Mail: The government has yet to prove its flagship Help to Buy mortgage guarantee policy is providing value for money, an influential committee of MPs has found; the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) warned the scheme has created a ‘medium and long-term risk’ to the taxpayer in the shape of a £10 billion portfolio of loans which will impose a ‘heavy administrative burden’ for decades to come.
  • Daily Express: US fast-food chain McDonald's said it would create 8,000 jobs across its 1,200 UK outlets in the next three years, taking its total workforce to more than 100,000.
  • The Guardian: The number of British households falling below minimum living standards has more than doubled in the past 30 years, despite the size of the economy increasing twofold, a study on poverty and deprivation in the UK claims .
  • The Guardian: Network Rail is tapping into the trend for online shopping pick-up points by announcing plans for click-and-collect stores at more than 300 stations.
  • The Guardian: Chrysler has become the subject of two investigations involving possible nondeployment of airbags because of potentially defective switches that can be turned off in more than 1.2 million older Jeep, Dodge and Chrysler models, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
  • The Guardian: The company behind the Lidl supermarket chain is set to become western Europe's biggest grocery retailer by 2018 as discounters become mainstream across the continent.
  • The Daily Telegraph: UK shares are trading above historic averages and professional investors fear a correction.
  • The Daily Telegraph: BBC and ITV are battling Arqiva on future of Freeview as the broadcasters get behind existing internet technology developed by Freesat as they fear losing audience share amid a growing pay-TV market.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Serco is set to divorce from Northern Rail partner Abellio as the troubled outsourcing company to bid for more UK rail contracts alone.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Lloyds Banking Group is set to value its newly created TSB offshoot at about £1.3 billion when pricing its share offer on Thursday - almost £300 million less than the most recent valuation in its accounts.
  • Financial Times: South African retailer Woolworths’ A$2.2 billion (US$2 billion) agreed takeover of David Jones has been thrown into doubt following the revelation that retail billionaire Solomon Lew has amassed a stake of at least 10% in the Australian department store.
  • Financial Times: Royal Dutch Shell is to sell shares worth up to $750 million in a US pipeline subsidiary as part of new chief executive Ben van Beurden’s efforts to improve capital efficiency at the Anglo-Dutch major.
  • The Independent: Zoopla shares rose more than 4% on their debut after the property website bowed to market pressure and priced its flotation lower than had been anticipated.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Second stock market miss for former Marks & Spencer boss Sir Stuart Rose as Blue Inc shelves £60 million float plans.
  • Financial Times (Lex): H&M: turn the other chic.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Citigroup: pick your battles.
  • Financial Times (Lex): SolarCity: The Shining.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Minority investors: case studies.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Maersk: all at sea.

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