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Thursday Papers: Osborne woos savers and silver-haired

Thursday Papers: Osborne woos savers and silver-haired

Top stories

  • Financial Times: George Osborne on Wednesday unveiled the biggest pensions revolution for almost a century, in a Budget aimed at savers and the grey vote that sent shares in insurance companies into a tailspin.
  • Financial Times (Comment): Budget 2014: How bad are the public finances?
  • Daily Mail (Comment): In his bid to reshape the savings landscape, Osborne has delivered a useful shock to a financial services industry that has grown complacent on the back of outdated pension law that rewarded them.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): ‘The job is far from done,’ said George Osborne. ‘Our country still borrows too much.’ The figures make that abundantly clear.
  • The Guardian (Comment): Osborne's budget is jam today – and damn tomorrow.
  • The Guardian (Comment): The chancellor's claim to be 'winning' is bizarre. He has presided over the longest fall in living standards since the 1870s.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Small and medium-sized firms get £11bn giveaway but bookies and insurers are hit.
  • The Guardian: The US Federal Reserve cut another $10 billion from its economic stimulus programme on Wednesday even as chairwoman Janet Yellen warned that harsh winter weather had hampered the country’s economic recovery.
  • The Guardian: Britain's economy will be back at its pre-crisis level later this year, with growth faster than predicted just a few months ago, according to the latest forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).
  • Financial Times: The British government is pushing EU leaders to back a new energy security plan to wean Europe off Russian energy over the next 25 years by ramping up imports from new sources, including shale gas from the US and natural gas from Iraq.
  • Daily Mail: The British economic recovery is ‘broadening’ but has ‘some way to go’ before it is balanced and sustainable, according to the Bank of England.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: The number of self-employed people in the UK has risen sharply to its highest level since comparable records began in 1992, climbing 211,000 on the previous quarter to 4.46 million.
  • Financial Times: The world's third-largest offshore wind farm, capable of powering a million homes and creating 5,000 jobs, has been cleared for construction off the Scottish coast.
  • Financial Times: Japan’s Toyota has attempted to move on from the most damaging chapter in its history by agreeing a $1.2 billion fine with US prosecutors for its handling of vehicle safety issues.
  • Financial Times: Rogue trader Jérôme Kerviel has been released by a French court from an unpayable €4.9 billion fine slapped on him for unauthorised deals that brought his former employer Société Générale to the brink of disaster.
  • Financial Times: The effect on Europe’s economic ties to Moscow will be front and centre, when EU leaders meet on Thursday evening to discuss the next phase of sanctions on Russia.
  • Financial Times: Mike Lynch, the former chief executive of Autonomy, has accused HP of misleading its shareholders about the $5 billion writedown taken on the acquisition of the UK-based technology group in 2011.
  • Financial Times: Sony has leapt into a technological future last promised in the 1990s, with the pledge that it will bring virtual reality to its PlayStation 4 console.
  • Financial Times: The scandal-hit Co-operative Group has demoted or released the entire management team in place during its phase of debt-fuelled growth and announced a delay to its results.
  • Financial Times: The worst of China’s luxury crackdown has passed, according to Samsonite, the premium luggage maker that warned last year that Beijing’s austerity drive was hurting its high-end sales in the country.
  • Financial Times: The European Commission has fined automotive suppliers almost €1 billion for colluding and fixing the prices of ball bearings, the latest in Brussels’ far-reaching probe into cartels across the industry.
  • Financial Times: Concern is rising about trade at Marks and Spencer as the high street bellwether shed market share over the past three months and two City brokers downgraded their sales and profit forecasts.
  • Financial Times: Inditex said its retail stores worldwide had seen buoyant sales growth in the start of the financial year, and vowed to accelerate its international expansion through the launch of online offerings and by opening as many as 500 high street outlets.
  • Financial Times: Australian regulators are launching a probe into the country’s $168 billion foreign exchange market, as the net widens in the sprawling international investigations into allegations of price-rigging by banks and currency traders.
  • Financial Times: Starbucks wants to almost double its market capitalisation to $100 billion, chief executive Howard Schultz said on Wednesday.
  • Financial Times: Hitachi is to make London the headquarters of its global rail business, underlining its aim to expand in the UK and to make Europe its biggest market.
  • Financial Times: BP signals US return with $42 million Gulf of Mexico bids for drilling rights.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Bank of England officials allegedly agreed there were advantages to sharing client order information to minimise market volatility around daily reference rates.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Google announces it will bring Android to wearable devices such as internet-connected watches that perform similar tasks to smartphones but with fewer interruptions.
  • Daily Mail: Dwindling North Sea oil revenues would leave an independent Scotland in a ‘precarious’ economic position, the UK Chancellor has warned, as he delivered a triple whammy to separatists; these included a cut to aviation taxes and a freeze in duty on spirits, including Scotch whisky.
  • Daily Mail: Booming Bentley yesterday announced 100 new jobs and record profits of £140 million as it revealed it will be exporting its powerful engines abroad for the first time in its history - including to Germany - from next year.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: JP Morgan Chase has agreed to sell its physical commodities business to Mercuria, the Geneva-based trading house, for $3.5 billion, becoming the latest investment bank to scale back its activities in the sector.
  • Financial Times: Unilever, the world’s second largest food producer by sales, has issued a £250 million “green bond” - a development that could open a new chapter for this form of financing.
  • Financial Times: Penguin Random House has agreed to buy the trade and consumer publishing arm of Santillana, the Spanish and Portuguese language publisher, for €72 million, as the world's largest publishing house by sales seeks to increase its footprint in emerging markets.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Gold tipped to hit $1,400 on Russia fears and ETF buying.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Tencent: Chat apps are a numbers game, so watch the marketing.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Bookmakers: UK gaming stocks just got cheaper but they are still a gamble.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Annuities: Life insurers will have to innovate to thrive after Budget changes.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Monte dei Paschi: World’s oldest bank clears a big hurdle on its road to recovery.
  • Financial Times (Comment): True focus of political risk this year is in emerging markets.

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