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Wednesday Papers: IMF gives Osborne a growth boost

Wednesday Papers: IMF gives Osborne a growth boost

Top stories

  • Financial Times: George Osborne was given a significant boost on Tuesday after the International Monetary Fund retreated from its criticism of his austerity policies and predicted Britain will grow faster than any other rich economy this year.
  • Financial Times: A new “leverage ratio” will force the eight largest US banks to hold a minimum of 5% equity to total assets to absorb losses in a crisis and proposes adopting a more stringent way of calculating the rule.
  • The Guardian: An independent Scotland would face an immediate debt repayment of £23 billion to the UK Treasury, equivalent to more than a third of its entire spending, an economics thinktank has warned.
  • Financial Times: A US jury has hit two drug companies, Takeda, Japan’s biggest drugmaker and Eli Lilly, its former US partner, with a record $9 billion fine for hiding an alleged link between a best-selling diabetes medicine, Actos, and bladder cancer.
  • The Independent: The Financial Conduct Authority came under fresh attack after the insurance industry’s chief representative told MPs that vital trust between industry, government and regulator was damaged by its disastrous handling of a probe into old life-insurance policies.
  • The Guardian: The board of Britain's largest independent co-operative society has voted not to support the reform proposals drawn up by Lord Myners to shake up the scandal-hit Co-operative Group of supermarkets, funeral homes and pharmacies.
  • The Guardian: Phone makers Samsung and HTC have reported discouraging first-quarter results, with Samsung recording its second year-on-year decline in operating profit and Taiwan's HTC suffering its third loss in three quarters.
  • The Independent: The Royal Bank of Scotland is helping hundreds of businesses across Britain draw up “zero hours” contracts for their employees, potentially making thousands of people’s jobs less secure.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: Shares in the most recently listed internet companies have fell below their launch prices yesterday, as investors expressed concerns about the same businesses they had clamoured to buy in to at their initial public offerings.
  • Financial Times: A flaw has been discovered in an encryption method used on about two-thirds of all websites, including Google, Amazon, Yahoo and Facebook, potentially exposing web traffic, user data and stored content to cyber criminals.
  • Financial Times: UK skills providers have won contracts worth more than £1 billion to run 16 further education colleges in Saudi Arabia, helped by a government unit designed to boost exports of British education.
  • Financial Times: Political rhetoric against foreign property buyers risks damaging London’s status among the world’s most attractive cities, one of Asia’s biggest developers has warned.
  • Financial Times: The UK’s Serious Fraud Office has estimated it will need to spend around £18.5 million – over half its annual budget – fighting a damages claim brought by two property entrepreneurs who were the subject of a botched SFO probe.
  • Financial Times: Global trade has failed to rebound as sharply as expected in the first three months of this year because of the eurozone’s fragile recovery and slowing growth in emerging economies, the head of the World Trade Organisation has warned.
  • Financial Times: Europe’s top court has ruled that EU law forcing telecommunications companies to store customer data for up to two years was illegal, a decision that will lead to a change to privacy laws.
  • Financial Times: The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday said a stronger recovery in rich countries such as the US and UK had sharply reduced the risks of another global downturn.
  • Financial Times: France’s new prime minister Manuel Valls has promised more than €11 billion in extra tax cuts for businesses and households, saying the need to boost fragile growth and job creation must take precedence over EU-enforced austerity.
  • Financial Times: CVC has emerged as the frontrunner to take control of Deoleo, Spain’s biggest olive oil producer, in a controversial auction that has prompted members of the Spanish government to raise concerns about the company falling into foreign ownership.
  • Financial Times: HSH Nordbank, one of Germany’s few remaining state-owned Landesbanks, is set to reveal its worst set of results since 2008 on Thursday, with an annual net loss close to €800 million.
  • Financial Times: Hornby, the maker of model trains, Corgi toys and Scalextric sets, has issued its third profit warning in less than two years after being hit by £1.2 million in losses.
  • Financial Times: Universal Music Group has acquired Eagle Rock Entertainment, the UK-based producer and distributor of music programming featuring bands including The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and The Who.
  • Financial Times: Bacardi is on the hunt for a new chief executive as Ed Shirley stepped down after just two years at the family-owned spirits company.
  • Financial Times: Südzucker blamed a further “deterioration” in the European sugar and ethanol markets for a severe profits warning that saw a fifth sliced from its market valuation and its share price drop to a three-and-a-half year low.
  • Financial Times: Sotheby’s has attacked Daniel Loeb’s record as a director of public companies, as it stepped up its defence against the activist investor’s attempt to force his way on to its board of directors.
  • Financial Times: Citigroup plans to close nearly 30% of its retail branches in South Korea as its revenues and profits in the country continue to deteriorate.
  • Financial Times: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it was levying the maximum available fine – $7,000 per day – on GM for failing to provide answers to a third of the 107 questions it sent the company in March.
  • Financial Times: Bank of New York Mellon faced down shareholder angst over costs, profitability and executive pay at its annual meeting, with Gerald Hassell, its chairman and chief executive, rejecting calls to spin off the company’s asset management business.
  • Financial Times: Comcast is positioning itself as a limited player in a dynamic media and technology industry dominated by Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon, as the US media group attempts to convince regulators to approve its bid for rival cable operator Time Warner Cable.
  • Financial Times: The new chief executive at Cargill has had a difficult first quarter on the job as losses in electricity trading and disruptions to corn exports helped contribute to a 28% decline in quarterly profit.
  • Financial Times: Shares in Sports Direct closed more than 9% lower after owner Mike Ashley sold £200 million worth of shares.
  • Financial Times: Tesco is coming under renewed pressure after a fall in sales in recent weeks and a fresh executive departure from the UK retailer.
  • Financial Times: Ferrexpo showed few ill effects from the crisis over Russia’s annexation of Crimea as it increased output from its iron ore mines in Ukraine.
  • Financial Times: The cost of alleged misconduct at banks has in recent years overtaken the provisions to cover bad loans in what is described as an “extraordinary change” by Sir Win Bischoff, the former Lloyds Banking Group chairman.
  • The Guardian: Heavy discounting on clothing, shoes and electrical goods by duelling retailers helped trigger the fastest fall in prices in Britain's shops in more than seven years last month.
  • The Guardian: Large windfarms can knock as much as 12% off the values of homes within a 2km radius, and reduce property prices as far as 14km away, according to research by the London School of Economics.
  • The Guardian: An increase of more than 25% in Britain's aid budget lifted financial help to the world's poorest countries to record levels in 2013.
  • The Guardian: The pace of Britain's economic recovery accelerated in the first quarter, with growth of 0.9% between January and March according to the National Insitute of Economic and Social Research.
  • The Independent: The budget grocers Aldi and Lidl have upped the pressure on the big supermarkets by swiping shoppers and increasing market share.
  • Daily Mail: Upbeat economic news has triggered speculation that interest rates will rise before general election next year.
  • Daily Mail: Russia faces large capital outflows and a strike by overseas investors as a result of its interventions in the Ukraine crisis, the IMF has warned.
  • Daily Express: John Vitalo, the head of Barclays’ Middle East and North Africa business, is to be the new chief executive of Atlas Mara as former Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond head-hunted one of his former senior colleagues to run his new African financial services business.
  • Daily Express: Convinience store group McColl’s is ramping up its expansion plan as more fresh vegetables and wine on its shelves have helped sales to soar.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Tablets have helped drive UK mobile advertising past £1 billion.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The lastest figures released by the Financial Conduct Authority show banks are not compensating small businesses as fast as expected for their rate swap scandal.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Alibaba Group, the Chinese ecommerce group, has buught a 20% stake in a Chinese internet TV company for more than $1 billion.
  • Financial Times: Henry Jackson, the man behind the takeover of collapsed electricals group Comet, is eyeing bingo group Gala Bingo that was seeking to sell its bingo business for about £250 million since last year.
  • Financial Times: Coatue Management, the “Tiger cub” hedge fund headed by Philippe Laffont, is returning $2 billion of its $7 billion flagship fund to investors, after suffering heavy losses in a rout of technology stocks last month.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Ladbrokes to buy Australian website Betstar as bookmakers have been seeking to expand beyond the UK as they come under increasing regulatory and tax pressure in Britain.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Iran: foreign investment is a way off, but worth considering.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Takeda: drug companies prove resilient in the face of large fines.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Sports Direct: owner cuts his stake leaving shareholders feeling sore.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Südzucker: Europe’s largest sugar producer hit by high costs and low prices.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Samsung: chips and cash explain why it is analysts’ top tech pick globally.

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