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Thursday Papers: US senators rebuff Credit Suisse stance

Thursday Papers: US senators rebuff Credit Suisse stance

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Four Credit Suisse executives were subjected to three and a half hours of questioning on Wednesday by US senators, who also criticised the Swiss government and the Department of Justice, during a testy hearing in Washington to investigate allegations the bank helped 22,000 US clients avoid tax.
  • Financial Times: Russian President Putin ordered a surprise drill by forces in western Russia, including areas bordering Ukraine while US made clear that any sign of intervention in Ukraine would not be acceptable to Washington.
  • Daily Mail: Small energy firms are to be given new powers to compete with the Big Six suppliers in a move that could see households benefit from more competitive tariffs.
  • Financial Times: Shares in online white goods seller AO.com surged as much as 44% on their London debut on Wednesday, fuelling concerns over the prospects of a fresh breakout of dotcom fever.
  • Financial Times: Tesla Motors, the US electric car manufacturer, announced plans to sell at least $1.6 billion in convertible senior notes to raise funds for a vast new battery factory as its shares hit a record high on Wednesday.
  • Financial Times: The EU’s top competition authority on Wednesday served a tough complaint against Telefónica’s €8.6 billion offer for E-Plus, KPN’s German mobile unit, signalling that the deal would be blocked without big asset sales and concessions.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Political pressure is growing on George Osborne to rein in pay at Royal Bank of Scotland as the taxpayer-controlled bank prepares to grant more than £500 million of bonuses while reporting an annual loss of as much as £8 billion and sacking thousands of staff.
  • Financial Times: European Commission has accepted Visa Europe’s antitrust settlement offer to cap interbank fees for handling transactions, which reduces its cross-border and credit card charges by up to 60%.
  • Financial Times: Scores of foreign banks will meet at the Bank of England on Thursday to discuss proposals that could force some companies to convert their UK retail operations into full subsidiaries or exit the market.
  • Financial Times: Elliott Management, the New York hedge fund, on Wednesday revealed an 11% stake in F&C, the UK asset manager that was the subject of a takeover offer last month.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Ryanair to fly passengers to US for under £10.
  • The Independent: Japanese and US authorities are investigating the abrupt suspension of one of the world's biggest Bitcoin marketplaces - Mt Gox.
  • The Independent: Aeroplane manufacturer Airbus has hailed its transition to a “normal company” after axing a damagingly burdensome political ownership structure.
  • The Guardian: Qantas has announced it will cut 5,000 full-time jobs, extend wage freezes and scrap under-performing flight routes as part of a plan to reduce costs by $2 billion over three years.
  • Daily Mail: Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed gross domestic product grew by 0.7% in the final three months of last year.
  • Financial Times: Hays unveiled plans to hire up to 200 consultants in its UK and Ireland business over the next year in its biggest recruitment drive since 2007, as it posted a jump in profits in the first half of the year.
  • Financial Times: Henderson Global Investors announced record profits on Wednesday as the laggard among UK listed investment groups turned star performer.
  • Financial Times: Stemcor, one of the world’s largest steel traders, which is majority-owned by the Oppenheimer family will restructure its $1.3 billion debt after a high court judge overruled an objection from one of its creditors.
  • Financial Times: Repsol’s board of directors on late Tuesday voted unanimously to accept a $5 billion settlement offer from the government of Argentina.
  • Financial Times: Repsol’s fourth-quarter earnings released on Wednesday were broadly in line with analysts’ expectations; adjusted quarterly profits dropped almost 20% compared with the previous year, to €252 million.
  • Financial Times: Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer by sales, issued a bullish outlook for 2014 on Wednesday as it expects the football World Cup in Brazil, solid beer consumption in China and a stronger Mexican economy to boost its business globally.
  • Financial Times: Aluminium producer Rusal told a court that it could lose “at the very least tens of millions of pounds” under new regulations from the London Metal Exchange that it has called a breach of its human rights.
  • Financial Times: Three former employees of Barclays - Jonathan Mathew, Peter Johnson and Stylianos Contogoulas - faced criminal charges in court on Wednesday as a result of the UK Serious Fraud Office’s probe into alleged manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate.
  • Financial Times: FXCM, a US forex trading group, has been hit with a penalty for failing to pass on profits to clients as regulators crack down on retail foreign exchange markets.
  • Financial Times: Investors in Allianz are calling on the insurer to take action amid concerns over the health of its US fund business Pimco, following sweeping changes at the top of its management team.
  • Financial Times: Three of Britain’s biggest building societies lent a combined £11 billion to homeowners last year, 50% more than in 2012.
  • Financial Times: Investors and analysts have attacked Tesco’s fresh attempts to turn round its UK business, sending the shares down as much as 5%.
  • Financial Times: Greggs’ pre-tax profit sank 18.9% in 2013, as tough trading conditions and one-off costs resulting from a major strategic review weighed on the UK’s biggest bakery retailer.
  • Financial Times: Taylor Wimpey shares fell on Wednesday after a plan to return cash to shareholders left investors underwhelmed, according to analysts.
  • Financial Times: Shares in Weir Group jumped to a record high after the FTSE 100 engineering company forecast a return to underlying growth in 2014 following a tough year.
  • Financial Times: The €7.3 billion UK loan portfolio of Ireland’s Anglo Irish Bank was sold on Tuesday to a group of mainly US investors in the biggest single transaction involving the bank’s assets since it collapsed in 2009.
  • Financial Times: Abercrombie & Fitch rallied 9% after the company’s fourth-quarter profit topped expectations and the retailer said it would accelerate a share buyback programme.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Daily Express: Co-operative Group yesterday continued the revitalisation of its business by lining up the sale of its agricultural division and reviewing the future of hundreds of its chemist stores.
  • Financial Times: RSA is finalising plans to shore up its balance sheet by as much as £1.5 billion with one of the biggest equity raisings by a UK insurer.
  • Financial Times: US buyout house Blackstone is nearing agreement to buy a minority stake in Italian luxury group Versace.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Royal Bank of Scotland could raise more than £1 billion after announcing the sale of its remaining 28.2% holding in Direct Line.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Rare books dealer Scholium Group reveals IPO plans.
  • Financial Times: Horizon Discovery plans to raise £25 million on the Alternative Investment Market, on top of the £200 million being targeted by Circassia, a specialist in allergy drugs, which announced the biggest UK biotech flotation for years this month.
  • Financial Times (Lex): AB InBev: another round? The brewer struggles to expand faster than world growth.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Repsol: Emerging? Having settled with Argentina, the major must target higher returns.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Quantitative easing may have hampered growth, says Andrew Sentance.
  • Financial Times (Lombard): The Co-op’s retreat from farms is just the first skirmish.

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