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Wednesday Papers: Walmart’s online challenge to Amazon falters

Wednesday Papers: Walmart’s online challenge to Amazon falters

Top stories

  • Financial Times: Walmart’s challenge to the might of Amazon in ecommerce sputtered over the holiday period, sending its shares tumbling; its US online sales rose just 23% in the three months to the end of January - a sharp deceleration after growth of more than 50% in the previous three quarters.
  • The Daily Telegraph: The Opec cartel is to forge a permanent alliance with a Russia-led bloc of producers by the end of the year, aiming to regain control of the world crude market with a super-combine of unprecedented scale and reach.
  • The Times: HSBC has spent $28 million on advice about the impact of Brexit, revealing for the first time the costs that businesses face in managing Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.
  • The Times: Investors in Booker Group have been told by a second shareholder advisory group to vote against a planned £3.7 billion takeover by Tesco as doubts about the deal continue to mount.
  • Financial Times: The UK’s financial watchdog faced the embarrassing revelation on Tuesday that its incoming chairman invested in a film partnership that revenue authorities have argued was a tax-avoidance scheme.
  • Financial Times: British farmers will “need access” to workers from around the world after Brexit and there is a “compelling” case for a new seasonal agricultural workers scheme (SAWS), said Michael Gove.
  • Financial Times: Latvia’s central bank governor said corruption allegations levelled against him were false as the Latvian government denounced a “smear campaign” against the Baltic state.

Business and economics

  • The Guardian: GMB union says it expressed doubts about DHL’s ability to run operation from single warehouse and KFC was warned it would face delivery problems months ago, it has been claimed, as the company tries to grapple with a worsening chicken supply crisis that has forced almost half of its outlets to remain closed.
  • The Guardian: Bans around the world on single use plastic items such as carrier bags will dent growth in oil demand over the next two decades, according to BP.
  • The Times: The collapse in productivity in advanced countries over the past decade was caused by pre-crisis bubbles in financial services and housing and a sharp drop in wages after the recession, according to McKinsey Global Institute.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Asda toasted a fourth consecutive quarter of sales growth today but revealed its profits had slipped in the run up to Christmas as it cut prices amid fierce competition in the grocery market.
  • Daily Mail: Shares in Intercontinental Hotels Group fell this morning after the group said it would not pay out any additional capital to investors this year, despite unveiling better-than-expected profit, as it announced investments to speed up growth.
  • Daily Mail: Shares in homewares retailer Dunelm slumped almost 10% this morning as it revealed profit margins had come under serious pressure.
  • The Times: BHP Billiton said yesterday that it was willing to listen to investors over proposals to drop its dual listing structure.
  • The Times: Stuart Gulliver signed off yesterday after seven years as chief executive of Britain’s biggest bank by unveiling annual results in which profits more than doubled.
  • Financial Times: Orange has voted to renew the mandate of chief executive Stéphane Richard for another four years despite pressure on him from a long-running fraud scandal.
  • The Times: Richard Parry-Jones, GKN's highest-ranking non-executive board member behind Mike Turner, the chairman, quit as the company attempts to fight off a £7 billion takeover by Melrose, the industrial conglomerate.
  • The Guardian: Betting group William Hill has been fined £6.2 million by the gambling industry regulator for failing to protect consumers and prevent money laundering.
  • Financial Times: The largest development organisation in the Muslim world, the Islamic Development Bank, is set to ramp up its fundraising activities and form a partnership with the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to address a yawning infrastructure gap in African and other developing countries.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Daily Telegraph (Questor share tips): AVOID Vodafone; BUY Sky.
  • The Times (Tempus share tips): BUY Dunelm; HOLD Walmart.
  • Financial Times: US chipmaker Qualcomm has bowed to investor pressure and raised its bid for NXP Semiconductors, hoping a new $44 billion offer to buy the Dutch company will seal the longstanding deal and bolster its own defences against a hostile takeover bid from Broadcom.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Lloyds is planning to unveil a £1 billion share buyback in its results tomorrow, in what could be the first in a series of cash returns from Britain’s biggest bank.
  • Financial Times: Albertsons plans to buy drugstore chain Rite Aid in a deal that hastens the consolidation rippling through the grocery industry as companies try to out-manoeuvre the rising threat of online competitors like Amazon.
  • Financial Times: Temenos is in advanced discussions to buy the UK’s Fidessa, as the Swiss banking software group joins the fight to supply data and trading tools to the world’s capital markets.
  • The Times: Commitments to the future and editorial independence of Sky News have been strengthened by 21st Century Fox as it seeks to secure regulatory approval for the takeover of Sky.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Go-Ahead, the FTSE 250 company which runs the Govia Thameslink franchise that includes Southern, has taken a 10% stake in Frankfurt-based Mobileeee for €300,000 (£264,900).
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Warning signs are flashing red as Trump stumbles towards his threatened trade war.
  • The Daily Telegraph (Comment): Eight out of 10 cats agree: Gulliver era at HSBC was more hit than miss.
  • Financial Times (Comment): US gunmakers bet on Hillary Clinton and lost.

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