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Wednesday Papers: Facebook faces Federal Trade Commission probe

Wednesday Papers: Facebook faces Federal Trade Commission probe

Top stories

  • Financial Times: US Federal Trade Commission is set to question Facebook about how Cambridge Analytica gained access to the social network users’ personal data; meanwhile, the UK political consultancy, which worked for US President Donald Trump’s election campaign, suspended its chief executive Alexander Nix.
  • The Times: A group made up of some of the City’s largest investors has attacked Aviva over its controversial plan to cancel £450 million of preference shares, which pay 8.5% annually and are mainly owned by pensioners and charities.
  • The Daily Telegraph: EU leaders have given an “appropriate access to financial services markets" to UK in draft guidelines on their relationship post-Brexit; however, City's preferred mutual recognition model was not on the cards as Chancellor Philip Hammond said he wasn't keen on the system.
  • Financial Times: GKN would consider restructuring its aerospace business to focus on the lucrative aero-engines if the company became successful in fending off hostile bidder Melrose Industries.
  • Financial Times: US President Donald Trump on Tuesday pointed to growing arms sales to Saudi Arabia as a sign of warm relationship between him and Mohammed bin Salman; he also privately pushed the Saudi crown prince to resolve the protracted dispute with US ally Qatar.
  • The Times: US imposed anti-dumping duties of nearly 150% on imports of carbon and alloy steel wire rod from Britain, further escalating the trade dispute between the two countries.

Business and economics

  • The Guardian: Inflation in UK declined further to 2.7% in February, down from 3% in January, which reflects a small dip in both petrol and food prices, spiked earlier after Brexit vote.
  • Daily Mail: After years in the doldrums, North Sea is set to see a resurgence with more than £5 billion of oil and gas projects being approved; that is likely to result into a 5% increase in production to up to 640,000 barrels of oil per day.
  • Daily Express: The Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represents retail giants such as Walmart, has appealed to US President Donald Trump to reconsider imposing tariffs on China’s exports as it could adversely affect finances of American families.
  • Daily Express: US has banned Venezuela’s petro cryptocurrency, which was launched back in February this year and thought to help save the crumbling Venezuelan economy.
  • Daily Mail: UK house prices declined in January this year but were still 4.9% up on last year due to some of the biggest price surges in relatively isolated island areas, according to the data the Office for National Statistics and Land Registry.
  • The Times: Amazon surpassed Alphabet as the world’s second largest public company by value last night after the shares of Google owner slipped by 0.4% to $1,095.80, valuing it at $761 billion; Amazon added 2.7% to reach a market capitalisation of $768 billion.
  • The Guardian: UK house builder Bellway is set to build more than 10,000 homes in 2018 for the first time, defying industry-wide material shortage and weaker pound; the company said it was benefiting from low interest rates and mortgage availability.
  • Financial Times: UK biotechnology company Oxford Nanopore has raised £100 million from investors in the Asia-Pacific region for commercial expansion; after the new investment, the company was valued at £1.5 billion.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Polyus Gold, Russia’s largest gold producer that raised $400 million when it relisted in London in 2017, is hoping that UK’s geopolitical tensions will not hamper its expansion plans in Russia.
  • Daily Mail: Budget fitness chain The Gym Group is weighing the possibility of opening clubs on sites vacated by collapsed retailers Toys R Us and Maplin.
  • Financial Times: Advertising agency Publicis on Tuesday announced a three-year strategic plan to transform its marketing model, which includes increasing headcount, up to €1.5 billion in bolt-on acquisitions and €450 million in cost savings.
  • The Times: Virgin Money has entered into a deal with Standard Life Aberdeen, in which the Scottish company will take a 50% stake in Virgin Money’s investment unit to boost the two companies’ retail asset management services.
  • Financial Times: The fast-growing low-cost airline Norwegian Air Shuttle has put some aircraft and its frequent flyer scheme up for sale in a bid to shore up its finances.
  • Financial Times: An investment group led by Tencent, the Chinese internet and social media giant, and Allianz X, the insurance group’s digital investment unit has raised $160 million for N26, the fast-growing German online bank and a flagship start-up in the Berlin fintech sector.
  • Daily Mail: Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver may have to shell out £6.7 million to creditors after his upmarket steak restaurant Barbecoa collapsed into administration.
  • Daily Mail: Struggling mother-and-baby retailer Mothercare has appointed KPMG to advise on cash crisis talks with lenders to stave off a total collapse.
  • Daily Mail: Banknote maker De La Rue yesterday issued a surprise profit warning, sending its shares more than 13% lower; the company also announced an unexpected departure of its finance chief.
  • The Guardian: Billionaire James Packer has resigned as director of his casino empire, Crown Resorts, citing mental health reasons.
  • Financial Times: Finance director of AP Moller-Maersk, Jakob Stausholm, has unexpectedly resigned after the company decided to split his responsibilities for IT and digital affairs from the finance role; this unnerved investors.
  • The Guardian: Online grocer Ocado saw its profit plunge by a whopping £1.5 million after it was forced to cancel tens of thousands of orders due to Severe weather and poor driving conditions.
  • Daily Mail: Shares of online gambling company 888 plunged on Tuesday after it said it may pull out of Germany following a court ruling that clamped down on internet betting firms; shares lost 6.6% and ended the day at 276.2p.
  • The Daily Telegraph: German authorities have raided BMW’s landmark Munich base as well as a satellite site in Austria in a probe over cheating pollution controls.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Engineering services company Wood Group reported a pre-tax loss of $30 million for 2017 due to a string of one-off costs linked to its £2.2 billion takeover of Amec Foster Wheeler; the company, however, vowed to return to growth this year.
  • The Guardian: The work and pensions committee will question partners from PricewaterhouseCoopers on Wednesday over the accounting firm’s role in the collapse of Carillion; PwC advised Carillion’s directors on managing their pensions liabilities from 2012 to 2017.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Google has unveiled a $300 million three-year plan to revive media industry; the Google News Initiative would be rolling out new features to help boost publishers' subscription numbers.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Daily Telegraph (Questor): BUY Mediclinic; HOLD Alumasc; HOLD Manx Telecom.
  • The Times (Tempus share tips): HOLD Ocado; HOLD Enquest.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary has agreed to buy a stake in LaudaMotion, an airline owned by of three-times Formula One world champion Niki Lauda; the deal has secured O’Leary a fleet of Airbus aircraft.
  • The Times: Switzerland-based FTSE 100 mining group Glencore has agreed to acquire two Australian coalmining projects from Rio Tinto in a $1.7 billion deal.
  • The Times: Technology group IQE that supplies parts for Apple devices revealed yesterday that sales within its licensing unit fell from £6.7 million to £1.9 million last year after allegations from short sellers.
  • Financial Times (Comment): China’s Hollywood dreams still beguile investors; forecasts for entertainment consumption in China are dazzling, but picking companies is tougher.
  • Daily Mail (Comment): Melrose flies into trouble as its pension pledges and knowledge of defence are questioned.
  • The Guardian (Comment): Cambridge Analytica data scandal has knocked 10% off share price so it is right to ask how the boss is running the firm.

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