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Wednesday Papers: GM dividend underlines US car recovery

Wednesday Papers: GM dividend underlines US car recovery

Top stories

  • Financial Times: General Motors on Tuesday announced that it was resuming dividend payments for the first time since its government-managed bankruptcy in 2009; the company will pay a 30 cent a share dividend on 28 March.
  • Financial Times: JP Morgan Chase kicked off Wall Street’s earnings season with lower quarterly profits of $5.3 billion - down 7% - as the legal costs that have plagued the group for two years continued to take their toll.
  • The Guardian: Labour will on Wednesday demand that the government prevent bailed out Royal Bank of Scotland from paying out bonuses more than twice the size of its bankers' salaries and call for a repeat of the bonus tax.
  • Daily Mail: Clive Adamson, director of supervision at the Financial Conduct Authority has been accused of ‘disturbing inaccuracies’ while giving evidence to MPs about the near collapse of the Co-op Bank.
  • Financial Times: Royal Dutch Shell will sell some of its North Sea oilfields as part of a $15 billion divestment programme over the next two years overseen by its new chief executive Ben van Beurden.
  • The Independent: Credit Suisse has become the latest investment bank to introduce new guidelines, urging junior staff to stay away from the office on Saturdays.
  • Financial Times: US regulators on Tuesday gave into the demands of community banks, which complained they could face $600 million in losses because of a provision in the Volcker rule.
  • Financial Times: Zapp, a smartphone app allowing shoppers to pay for purchases direct from a linked account, will be made available to 18 million UK bank customers this year - in the latest sign that the banks are gearing up for rapid adoption of mobile payment systems.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Barratt Developments continued to feel the effects of government stimulus as it said buyers had reserved more than 7,000 homes in the six months to the end of last year worth a total of £1.3 billion - up 71% on the same period of last year.
  • Financial Times: Ashmore’s shares fell 11.9% to 360.3 pence on Tuesday, one of the biggest daily falls over the past 12 months, as its assets under management fell to $75.3 billion at the end of December compared with $78.5 billion at the end of September.
  • Daily Mail: Shares in AstraZeneca jumped 2.5% on Tuesday after the Anglo-Swedish group said it would return to growth faster than the City had expected.
  • The Guardian: Aberdeen Asset Management has been forced to publish additional information about its pay policies in an attempt to quell shareholders' concerns before its annual meeting tomorrow.
  • Financial Times: Google will launch its flagship Moto X smartphone in the UK, France and Germany to try to snatch a greater share of the handset market.
  • Financial Times: Facebook has signed a deal with Yandex to allow Russia’s largest online search engine to display public data from Facebook users in a deal to strengthen the Russian company in the face of the growing dominance of social media.
  • The Independent: HMV's flagship store on London's Oxford Street - the largest music shop in the world - has closed its doors for the last time.
  • Financial Times: Europe has agreed its biggest overhaul of securities markets since the 2008 crisis, extending its regulatory reach into off-exchange dealing, commodity speculation and the new technologies that have transformed the speed of modern trading.
  • Financial Times: François Hollande launched a bid to revitalise Europe’s second-largest economy and rescue his faltering presidency by promising a landmark €30 billion payroll tax cut for French companies.
  • Financial Times: Nasdaq OMX has terminated its long-term stewardship of a critical piece of US stock market infrastructure that suffered a high-profile glitch in August, crippling share trading for three hours.
  • Financial Times: A US court ruled on Tuesday that the Federal Communications Commission over-reached its powers in imposing “net neutrality” rules on internet service providers, restricting their ability to offer preferential access to internet content companies willing to pay for higher speed or higher quality access.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Car giant Ford has told the UK it would be "cutting its nose off to spite its face" by exiting the EU.
  • The Independent: Shares of Moss Bros jumped 15.75 pence to 90 pence - a level not seen since September 2005 - after the suit hire and retailer unexpectedly said it will boost its dividend.
  • The Guardian: Qinetiq, the company spun out of the Ministry of Defence research department, is on the move after reports of a deal with Pakistan.
  • Financial Times: Fitness First is muscling in on the higher end of the UK gyms market with a £50 million rebranding programme, amid increasing signs of low-cost operators increasing their market share.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Punch Taverns will press ahead with plans to restructure its £2.3 billion debt pile despite a warning from senior lenders that they would reject the proposals.
  • The Independent: Online food delivery specialist HungryHouse has raised $88 million from US investors in a bid to catch up to rival Just Eat.
  • Financial Times: PageGroup’s gross profits in the UK - which account for a quarter of the company’s total gross profits - rose 5.1% year on year in the past three months of 2013.
  • Financial Times: Nestlé, the world's biggest food company, has admitted to making a strategic error in India by ignoring more affluent consumers, and pursuing buyers of cheaper sweets and noodles.
  • The Daily Telegraph: London's landmark skyscraper, the Shard, is set to be joined by a third tower.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: A potential £2 billion flotation by Britain’s largest cement maker Lafarge Tarmac could be delayed after the Competition Commission confirmed that it would force the company to sell assets in the UK.
  • Financial Times: The valuation of Square, the payments company led by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, has soared to $5 billion after a private placement that allowed insiders to sell some $135 million worth of its shares, sources said.
  • Financial Times: Advisers to Suntory Holdings have put up a spirited defence of the $16 billion price tag for Beam Inc, in a deal that will vault the Japanese drinks maker to the world number three while stretching its balance sheet as rarely before.
  • Financial Times: Permira and Ardian are considering listing Europe’s largest online travel company in Madrid, highlighting investor enthusiasm for Spain as the country’s recovery gathers pace.
  • The Guardian (Editorial): It's a smart move of Mr Miliband to recognise that the squeezed middle now describes pretty well the whole middle class.
  • The Guardian (Comment): François Hollande offers little to assuage the fears of those who think France is the most vulnerable country in the eurozone.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Falling inflation is welcome – but can't be used as an excuse for keeping rates at zero.
  • Daily Mail (Comment – Alex Brummer): Cost of living crisis? What cost of living crisis? Labour’s knee-jerk response to every set of economic numbers may soon need revising.
  • Financial Times (Lex): JP Morgan: Buying into the bank is one way to play recovery but it comes with warnings.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Google / Nest: Internet giant’s margins at risk as it moves into capital-intensive businesses.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Bank Rakyat: Microfinance market continues to grow at a healthy clip in Indonesia.
  • Financial Times (Lex): IG Group: Spread betting specialist is moving into cash equities.

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