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Wednesday Papers: StanChart expansion grinds to a halt

Wednesday Papers: StanChart expansion grinds to a halt

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Standard Chartered, one of the most successful growth stories in global banking for a decade, has called a halt to its grand expansion as it seeks to conserve capital amid the worst drop in profits for more than 12 years.
  • Financial Times: A dispute over two warships France is building for Russia is threatening to overshadow a high-stakes meeting of EU foreign ministers that is expected to discuss toughening sanctions against Moscow following the downing of a Malaysian airline which left 298 dead.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Europe has enough spare capacity in liquefied natural gas (LNG) to meet a large part of the region’s needs if Russia retaliates against the latest EU sanctions by restricting gas supplies.
  • The Guardian: Allegations about the way Royal Bank of Scotland treats its small businesses have resurfaced after senior executives from the bailed-out bank were accused of being "wilfully obtuse" when giving evidence to MPs.
  • The Independent: Shares in Royal Mail has touched their lowest level since October’s privatisation as it delivered the gloomy news that revenues at its crucial parcel division are being threatened by strong competition from Amazon.
  • Financial Times: Up to 25 more US companies are considering relocating overseas to cut their tax bills this year, a Democratic senator has warned, as he assailed investment bankers for encouraging the idea.
  • The Guardian: Britain's factories are taking on workers at the fastest rate in more than 40 years amid rising orders but manufacturers are increasingly concerned that geopolitical tensions will weigh on business, the CBI said.

Business and economics

  • Financial Times: India’s Supreme Court has given detained tycoon Subrata Roy permission to leave prison for a few hours a day to negotiate the sale of three trophy hotel properties, including the Grosvenor House in London.
  • Financial Times: Britain and other non-euro states are at risk of losing their influence over financial legislation as single currency members pursue their banking union project, respondents to a UK Treasury review have warned.
  • Financial Times: The UK’s public finances have barely improved in a year, despite four successive quarters of economic growth.
  • Financial Times: HM Revenue & Customs has been lambasted by an influential MP for its “unacceptably poor” management of its multibillion IT outsourcing contract, after the government’s spending watchdog said it had spent more than twice as much as initially expected.
  • Financial Times: Big companies and City firms are re-examining existing deals with Russia and backing away from new business as fears mount of tougher western sanctions against Moscow in the wake of the downing of the Malaysian civilian airliner.
  • Financial Times: Four years after the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill was signed, US banks are more stable and better capitalised. But this has come at the cost of a sluggish economy caused by reduced access to, or more expensive, mortgages, business loans and other forms of credit, the banks say.
  • Financial Times: Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s new chief executive, promised to narrow the US software company’s efforts in mobile phones, the Xbox games console and Bing search engine, as he sought to persuade Wall Street that he was bringing more discipline to its strategy.
  • Financial Times: Deutsche Bank has been criticised for regulatory reports that were “low quality, inaccurate and unreliable”, in a private letter from the New York Federal Reserve concerning the US operations of the German bank.
  • Financial Times: McDonald’s reported second-quarter sales and profits that missed analysts’ expectations in the latest sign that the restaurant chain is still struggling for growth.
  • Financial Times: Declining US military spending reduced second-quarter revenues for Lockheed Martin, the world’s biggest military contractor by sales, by 1% – but the company still recorded net earnings up 3% and increased its forecasts.
  • Financial Times: Petropavlovsk offered hope that it could renegotiate part of its debt following talks with bondholders and banks – a step that would ease the financial burden on the miner of Russian gold.
  • Financial Times: Brussels is weighing whether to reopen its draft antitrust settlement with Google, in a move that leaves the carefully crafted deal in danger of collapsing amid political backlash in Europe.
  • Financial Times: President Vladimir Putin has ordered the Russian government to consider breaking Gazprom’s monopoly on pipeline gas exports by allowing other producers to export from new fields in eastern Siberia and the far east.
  • Financial Times: Arm’s royalties grew only 2% in the second quarter in dollar terms, as the Cambridge-based chip designer blamed sluggish demand for smartphones on mobile operators moving to sell off older 3G handsets before they push new 4G devices.
  • Financial Times: Shares in IG Group surged more than 8 per cent as the international online trading business unveiled a hefty full-year dividend increase on the back of strong cash flows and balance sheet.
  • Financial Times: Canary Wharf, London’s second financial district, is set for a big expansion after the local council gave the go-ahead for the construction of more than 3,000 homes.
  • Financial Times: The Blue Note Milano, with links to the legendary Greenwich Village venue, has become the first jazz club to list its shares on a stock exchange, joining a surge of small Italian companies seeking funding from private investors as Italy’s deep financial crisis holds back bank lending.
  • Daily Mail: Nationwide and Santander have become the latest major lenders to tighten their mortgage rules; brokers fear it could lead to prudent borrowers being given smaller home loans.
  • Daily Mail: Savers are continuing to suffer the devastating effects of the Bank of England’s cheap lending to banks and building societies - even though these loans ceased at the end of last year; those with savings in high street accounts earned £5 billion less interest than two years ago, when the Funding For Lending scheme first began, yet, the money in savings accounts has risen by nearly 10 per cent, from £911 billion to £999 billion.
  • Daily Mail: Banks are to be investigated over the way they treat customers complaining about mis-sold paid-for packaged current accounts; Financial Conduct Authority is to probe concerns that customers are unfairly rejected when they raise issues over these deals.
  • Daily Mail: New complaints about payment protection insurance mis-selling dropped drastically in the last three months, according to new data.
  • Daily Express: Premier said first-half sales fell 6.1% to £364.4 million as the mainstream supermarkets faced competition from discounters.
  • The Guardian: Wealthy Russians who bought properties in London's richest neighbourhoods last spring have seen the value of their holdings increase by more than a third, as a result of contrasting fortunes between the two countries, according to figures published on 22 July.
  • The Independent: Coffee giant Starbucks has been dragged into the latest food scandal to hit China after it confirmed some of its chicken products were contaminated.
  • The Independent: Russian oligarchs have lost more than $14 billion since the start of the year as Russia's richest men brace for new sanctions following the fatal crash of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 in eastern Ukraine.
  • The Independent: Supermarket Lidl responded to claims that its structure is opaque by revealing it paid more than £25 million to the UK taxman last year.
  • The Daily Telegraph: US technology giant Apple CEO has revealed that he is "incredibly excited" about upcoming releases, after results show sales of iPhones and iPads could be losing momentum.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Shareholders have questioned the pay-off for the outgoing Tesco boss Philip Clarke.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The Saudi kingdom's move to open its $580 billion stock market to direct foreign investment has offered access to some of the world's biggest companies for the first time.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • Financial Times: Nick Leslau, the property entrepreneur, has agreed to sell one of his listed property companies, Max Property Group, to Blackstone Real Estate Partners in a £448 million deal, but insists that he is not calling the top of London’s commercial property market.
  • Financial Times: WH Group, the world’s largest pork producer, has cut its targeted valuation to $11.7 billion as it launches its second bid to list shares on the Hong Kong stock exchange; the Sino-US company will now sell shares at HK$6.20 each, below its previous target of at least HK$8, according to two people familiar with the process.
  • Financial Times: Cath Kidston, the British designer famed for her eponymous chintzy prints and accessories, has sold down some of her personal stake in the brand to finance expansion in Asia, targeting 100 stores in China.
  • Financial Times (Lex): WH Group: third little piggy.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Bank M&A: Strategically Important.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Saudi Arabia: get riyal.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Apache Corp: acres and dollars.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Credit Suisse: cutting edges.

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