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Wednesday Papers: Britain's GDP surpasses pre-recession peak

Wednesday Papers: Britain's GDP surpasses pre-recession peak

Top stories

  • The Daily Telegraph: Britain has reached the “symbolic milestone” of clawing back all the losses it suffered during the Great Recession; the level of UK GDP is approximately 0.2% above where it was in January 2008, according to The National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
  • Financial Times: Britain’s energy regulator has demanded the largest power suppliers explain to customers why a decline in wholesale gas and electricity prices has not led to lower fuel bills in a move that threatens to reignite the political row over energy costs.
  • The Guardian: Britain's economy could be as much as £65 billion bigger – almost 5% – when new GDP figures are published in September incorporating items such as prostitution and drug dealing under new statistical rules.
  • The Guardian: The World Bank has cut its growth forecast for the global economy in 2014 following a weak start to the year in both rich and poor countries; bad weather in the US, tension in the Ukraine, the slowdown in China and political strife in countries such as Turkey will all delay an expected pick-up in activity, the bank said in its half-yearly Global Economic Prospects.
  • The Independent: The Bank of England is set to unleash an army of intelligence experts and licensed hackers to probe the defences of Britain’s biggest banks as its steps up efforts to combat cyber crime.
  • Financial Times: The European Commission is preparing to launch a formal investigation into Apple’s Irish tax affairs, marking a significant step up in the global crackdown on tax evasion.
  • Financial Times: Google is spending half a billion dollars on a start-up that makes and launches satellites, in order to improve the accuracy of its mapping service and eventually expand internet access around the world.
  • Financial Times: Valeant Pharmaceuticals is preparing to take its bid for Allergan direct to shareholders after its latest $53 billion offer was rejected by the maker of Botox.
  • Financial Times: Following a landmark decision by the US Federal Aviation Administration this week, BP, the oil major, will start inspecting the pipelines at its remote Prudhoe Bay field in Alaska using drones manufactured by Nasdaq-listed AeroVironment.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Demand for risky mortgages is reaching five-year high as more buyers with small deposits are taking out loans worth over 3.5 times their income.
  • The Guardian: Icap, the world's biggest money broker, on Tuesday denied accusations by the European commission that it had breached competition law in relation to Libor.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: The UK public spending watchdog has delayed the publication of a highly critical report into plans to slash the size of the army because of a row with the Ministry of Defence over its main findings.
  • Financial Times: Britain’s workplace Pensions Regulator will give employers more flexibility to make up deficits in company pension schemes after businesses complained the regulator hadn’t paid enough attention to their need to fund business growth.
  • Financial Times: Borrowers turned to fixed-rate mortgages in the first quarter of the year, as speculation about the timing of the UK’s first interest rate rise since 2007 intensified; official data showed 81% of mortgage advances were at fixed rates, a jump of more than 10 percentage points on the same period last year.
  • Financial Times: China Mobile’s near $1 billion plunge into post-military coup Thailand this week highlights the lengths to which the state-run Chinese mobile telecoms group is going as it seeks fresh avenues for growth amid intensifying competition at home.
  • Financial Times: Lane Clark & Peacock, an actuarial consultancy, forecasts companies will transfer at least £10 billion of pension liabilities to insurers through such arrangements, allowing them to lift the headaches caused by volatile pension liabilities in return for a fee.
  • Financial Times: Christos Angelides, product director of Next, is leaving the high street fashion chain to become president of Abercrombie & Fitch, the struggling US retailer.
  • Financial Times: India’s car industry has returned to growth following a long period of decline, an early sign of a turnround in Asia’s third-largest economy as Narendra Modi, the new pro-business prime minister, takes over in New Delhi; car sales grew 3.1% year-on-year this May to 148,577 units, the first month of expansion since February, according to data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, a trade body.
  • Financial Times: Ford will continue to build small cars in Germany after striking a new agreement with unions in the country that it says will save it $80 million a year.
  • Financial Times: Barclays’ top-ranking banks analyst is to leave the group, the latest in a line of senior departures; Simon Samuels, who has headed Barclays’ European bank research team for the past five years, after a 12-year career at Citigroup, is expected to move into a range of non-executive and advisory positions within the financial and regulatory sphere.
  • Financial Times: Malaysia Airlines has enough cash to remain operating for about 12 months, the country’s sovereign wealth fund said on Tuesday, amid signs that Malaysian passenger traffic has started to stabilise after the initially disastrous impact of missing flight MH370.
  • Financial Times: China is conducting a review of potentially anti-competitive behaviour in the world’s largest car market, the commerce ministry said on Tuesday, as new sales data showed that foreign brands were continuing to acquire market share at the expense of their struggling domestic rivals.
  • Financial Times: Sony, the Japanese consumer electronics group, is beefing up its PlayStation 4 game player as it seeks to capitalise on an early lead over arch-rival Microsoft in the latest generation of games machines.
  • Financial Times: Moody’s, the rating agency, warned that the telecoms industry could see limited benefits from sector consolidation because of its need to address competition concerns.
  • Financial Times: Index Ventures, the European investment group that backed Candy Crush-maker King Digital and online takeaway marketplace Just Eat, has raised €400m to invest in early stage technology start-ups.
  • Financial Times: Singapore’s three biggest banks are ramping up hiring to capture a surge in demand from western multinationals wanting to use local banks - rather than global rivals - as they expand in the fast-growing markets of Southeast Asia.
  • Financial Times: Multinational companies are suffering from “compliance fatigue” in the face of increasingly aggressive enforcement and record fines from prosecutors and regulators around the world.
  • Financial Times: Coca-Cola aims to battle falling fizzy drinks sales in mature markets with a naturally sweetened soda that will have its European launch in the UK, the September rollout comes amid intensifying efforts by the British government and public health officials to tackle the increasing problem of obesity.
  • Financial Times: BSkyB launched a fresh offensive for TV and broadband subscribers against rival BT on Tuesday when it announced the launch of a television channel dedicated to European football.
  • Financial Times: The chief executive of Spirit Pub Company has welcomed plans to regulate pub groups more closely after the government’s proposals proved less cumbersome than the industry had feared.
  • Financial Times: Uncertainty over the pub sector is lifting with the long awaited publication of the government’s proposed statutory code, but implementation may distract Vianet’s pub company customers for some time to come, the Aim-listed group’s chairman predicted.
  • Financial Times: Oxford Instruments set a positive tone for the rest of 2014 following a tough year for the maker of nanotechnology products, during which it was squeezed by weak government spending on scientific research.
  • Financial Times: BHP Billiton, the mining group formed by one of the industry’s landmark mergers, is considering the sale of almost all of the businesses that Billiton brought to that deal – refocusing the Anglo-Australian company on BHP’s core operations from before the 2001 tie up.
  • Daily Mail: Fuller, Smith & Turner has taken a stake in a pizza and cider chain for more than £7 million; the London brewer and pub owner bought a 51% share in The Stable, which has six sites in the South West of England, for £7.3 million.
  • Daily Mail: The majority of Scottish oil workers back independence, according to a survey of the industry.
  • Daily Mail: Almost seven years since the start of the financial crisis, banks are still under fire for not lending enough to small and medium-sized companies; small businesses complain that they are being forced to jump through hoops or are turned down point blank by their banks.
  • Daily Express: The pound hit an 18-month high against the euro yesterday as the fastest expansion in industrial output for more than three years showed Britain’s economy “firing on all cylinders”.
  • Daily Express: US billionaire Wilbur Ross has sold his entire shareholding in Bank of ­Ireland after helping to bail it out during the eurozone crisis.
  • The Guardian: Quirky fashion brand Ted Baker has announced an 18% leap in sales as British fashion chains enjoyed their first full quarter of growth in four years.
  • The Guardian: A quarter of groceries could be sold online by 2030 - five times current levels - according to a report which suggests all supermarkets will have to shrink their stores as shoppers buy from home.
  • The Guardian: Adidas, Primark and Zara are among a host of western brands accused of profiting from a supply chain that pays garment workers in eastern Europe and Turkey poverty wages and tramples over their labour rights.
  • The Guardian: Lamprell has suffered a big pay revolt at its annual general meeting - the third year in a row that shareholders have rebelled against pay deals at the oil rig builder.
  • The Guardian: General Motors plans no more employee dismissals relating to the company's handling of a defective ignition switch linked to at least 13 deaths, chief executive Mary Barra said on Tuesday.
  • The Daily Telegraph: AIG has named UK-born Peter Hancock as new CEO; Hancock played a key role at the US insurance giant since it was bailed out by the US government during the financial crisis.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Former Rabobank trader has pleaded guilty to Libor manipulation; Takayuki Yagami pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Analysts believe Lonmin risks running out of cash towards the end of the year due to strikes in South Africa.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Euronext will be valued at as much as €1.75 billion following the European exchange operator’s initial public offering later this month.
  • Financial Times: Imperial Tobacco is to spin off its south European logistics arm via an initial public offering on the Spanish stock market as it seeks to focus on its core cigarettes business.
  • Financial Times: The board of EFG Hermes said it was discussing the tender offer by a consortium led by Naguib Sawiris, the Egyptian telecoms entrepreneur, to buy an 18% stake in the Cairo-based regional investment bank.
  • Financial Times: WPP’s research arm Kantar has acquired a majority stake in Precise Media, one of the UK’s largest media monitoring agencies, in a deal that values the company at about £70 million.
  • Financial Times: The board of EFG Hermes said it was discussing the tender offer by a consortium led by Naguib Sawiris, the Egyptian telecoms entrepreneur, to buy an 18% stake in the Cairo-based regional investment bank.
  • Financial Times: DigiPlex, the datacentre operator backed by private equity billionaire Bill Conway, has issued its first public bonds to finance the next step of its expansion strategy.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Hepatitis C: Gilead’s Odyssey.
  • Financial Times (Lex): RadioShack: liquidity discount.
  • Financial Times (Lex): China metals: The bezzle shrinks.
  • Financial Times (Lex): China Mobile: True calling?
  • Financial Times (Lex): GoDaddy: No-go domain.

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