Newspapers: The Times, Independent, FT, Telegraph, Guardian, Mail, Express, Herald 090916

The Times

Ministers ‘must act to avert slump in business spending’: The government must urgently start producing new policies to encourage business investment which is ready to slump after the EU referendum, the trade association for chartered accountants urged.

High street suffers seven-month itch: High street sales fell for the seventh consecutive month as fashion retailers showed no sign of stopping their alarming slump.

Qataris let Sainsbury’s stake fall over Argos deal: Qatar Investment Authority’s stake in J Sainsbury has fallen by 3% after the sovereign wealth fund declined to pour money into new shares to help to fund the grocer’s purchase of Home Retail Group.

Nationwide pulls out of lifetime Isas: Nationwide Building Society has dealt a blow to the government by refusing to co-operate with its plans for a new savings product.

Virgin Media hits the spot with deal for Arqiva’s wi-fi business: More than 30,000 wi-fi hotspots around the country have been bought by Virgin Media in a deal reckoned to be worth tens of millions of pounds.

Miners plan £30 million golden opportunity: White Rivers Exploration, a South African gold explorer, is set to raise up to £30 million next year with a dual listing in London and Johannesburg designed to help it develop one of the biggest deposits of the metal.

Airline tax damaging tourism, Walsh warns: Airline Bosses are confident that Theresa May will abolish air passenger duty even though it would cost the Treasury £3 billion a year in lost revenues.

Oil surges after hurricane hits shipping: The price of oil rose sharply after an unexpectedly big fall in U.S. crude stocks. Analysts attributed the slide in stockpiles to the impact of Hurricane Hermine, which interrupted shipping routes and affected loading schedules.

Strike to close hundreds of post offices: Many of Britain’s main post offices will be closed next Thursday after thousands of union members voted to strike over pensions, job losses and creeping privatisation.

The Independent

U.K. economy continues Brexit bounce back according to latest jobs and housing figures: Britain’s economy continued its bounce from the initial shock of the Brexit vote with two positive jobs and housing surveys, both of which had pointed to a gloomy outlook only last month.

Post office workers to strike this month in protest over ‘relentless’ cuts: Thousands of Post Office workers will stage a 24-hour strike later this month in disputes over branch closures, job cuts and pensions.

Brexit latest: French and German firms will suffer without Britain’s expertise says banking Boss: Firms from France to Germany could lose access to the region’s biggest financial hub, making it harder for them to borrow money or buy derivatives to protect against currency swings and fluctuating interest rates, Anthony Browne, British Bankers’ Association Chief Executive, told a commons select committee.

Uber drivers must go it alone in battle for employee rights, says court: In a victory for Uber, a court said drivers for the most part have to resolve claims against the company individually and not through a class action lawsuit.

Number of people on zero-hours contracts jumps by 20% in a year: The number of people estimated to be on controversial “zero-hours” work contracts has jumped by 20% in a year, according to the Office for National Statistics.

iPhone 7: Super Mario game announcement sends Nintendo shares soaring 18% in minutes: Nintendo’s surprise announcement that its popular game franchise Super Mario Bros would debut on Apple’s new iPhone caused its shares to jump by as much as 18%, before falling back slightly, on Thursday on hopes the firm had at last embraced mobile gaming.

Financial Times

EasyJet Chief critical of legacy rivals’ approach: The Chief Executive of easyJet on Thursday accused some of Europe’s legacy airlines of irrational behaviour, saying they were adding “deeply unprofitable” routes amid lacklustre economic growth on the continent.

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Wells Fargo hit with record fine over secret accounts: Wells Fargo has been hit by the U.S. consumer finance watchdog’s largest fine to date after regulators found staff racing to meet sales targets secretly opened millions of accounts without customers’ knowledge.

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Monte dei Paschi Chief Fabrizio Viola agrees to step down: Fabrizio Viola, Chief Executive of Italy’s Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the world’s oldest bank, has agreed to step down, less than two months after the lender emerged as the biggest loser from this summer’s European bank stress tests.

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Polish lenders bid for Raffeissen unit: Raiffeisen has received bids for its Polish subsidiary from the country’s state-owned market leader, and a bank owned by a state-controlled insurer — demonstrating Warsaw’s drive to secure more domestic control of its banking industry.

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Barclays strikes mobile payment deal with Australian bank: Barclays has struck a landmark deal with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia that will allow millions of customers to send near-instant payments across countries using just a mobile phone number.

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Alstom Chief summoned by French ministers: The Chief Executive of Alstom has been summoned to a meeting with the French finance and industry ministers to explain himself after the company announced it would stop making trains at its Belfort factory in eastern France.

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Apple’s U.K. price rises blamed on Brexit currency shift: Apple raised prices on some of its products in the U.K. on the same day as it unveiled the latest iPhone in a move blamed by analysts on the sharp drop in sterling following Britain’s vote to leave the EU.

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Airbnb unveils anti-discrimination policies: Airbnb on Thursday announced a new raft of policies to fight discrimination at the home-sharing platform, after user complaints and academic studies found bias against non-white users.

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Lex:

Wells Fargo: magic tricks: Wells Fargo, which cultivates a down-home reputation, has resisted that temptation. Yet it turns out to have been working on some magic tricks of its own, creating 2 million bank and credit card accounts out of thin air. On Thursday the bank was fined $185 million for opening customer accounts without their knowledge. Some 5,300 employees have been fired.

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Micro Focus/HPE: foraging for profits: U.K. software group Micro Focus fills its bag this way. With considerable skill, too; over the past three years operating profits have doubled. Its shoulders will soon sag with the weight of its latest find, the software division of Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

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Zoopla: a creditable second: Online commerce is about network effects. Coming first counts most. Zoopla, a U.K. property search portal that bought price comparison site, uSwitch, overturns this rule.

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Lombard:

Autonomy books in to the old folks’ home: Autonomy is going home. And, in some ways, the controversial Cambridge software group is also going into a home. Micro Focus, the FTSE 100 group that is acquiring the company as part of a $8.8 billion deal with Hewlett Packard Enterprise of the U.S., likes to bring together software businesses that have retired from active growth.

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Blooming Ada: Legal & General has a new pin-up. It is Ada Lovelace, the 19th century mathematician credited with the first machine-ready algorithm. She now features in L&G presentations on a push into tech investment.

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The Daily Telegraph

ECB’s Mario Draghi has run out of magic as deflation closes in: The ECB is close to exhausting its ammunition and appears increasingly powerless to do more under the legal constraints of its mandate.

Murdochs’ Fox Empire boosted by sharp increase in fees from Sky: Sky has revealed it paid an extra £123 million in programming fees last year to its biggest shareholder 21st Century Fox, where its Chairman James Murdoch is Chief Executive.

Tullett Prebon and Icap get watchdog’s blessing for £1.1 billion deal: Tullett Prebon has passed a crucial hurdle in its plan to take over arch-rival Icap’s telephone-based broking business, after the competition regulator gave its blessing to the £1.1 billion deal.

Fyffes snaps up a second Canadian mushroom business in a year: Fyffes, the Irish fruit producer, has bought its second Canadian mushroom distributor in a year as it continues to pursue a strategy of growth through acquisition.

Thomas Cook eyes affluent Chinese with Fosun tie-up: Thomas Cook launched its joint venture with Chinese mining-to-insurance conglomerate Fosun in Shanghai called Thomas Cook China, which will offer 90 packages to more than 40 destinations, including holidays in Europe, the Americas and South East Asia, as well as travel within China.

Monitise pins hopes on new software after revenues fall by a quarter: Struggling bank technology firm Monitise has posted a 25% slump in yearly revenues and larger losses as it prepares to reinvent itself with a new IT platform.

Genus steps up R&D in genetically-engineered livestock: Gene editing technology will be “transformational” for Genus, its Chief Executive said as he announced that the livestock genetics business will ramp up spending on R&D this year.

The Questor Column:

Fundsmith boosted 13% by Brexit, should you lock in gains?: Over the past three months the S&P 500 index has gained 4%, compared with 11.8% for a U.K. tracker that follows it, the sterling iShares S&P 500 exchange-traded fund. One actively managed fund that has enjoyed the same effect is the hugely popular Fundsmith Equity fund. Its recent spectacular gains – 13.3% in the past three months – are largely due to the weak pound, as the fund has 61% of its assets in U.S. shares. Even its U.K. holdings have benefited indirectly as their share prices have been boosted as a result of their large overseas earnings, now more valuable in sterling terms. Investors in Fundsmith or similar funds may, if they believe that the pound will strengthen, consider locking in the gains they have made since the referendum and perhaps awaiting an opportunity to buy back in more cheaply. If the pound did weaken further, you would miss out on any future currency-powered gains from Fundsmith. Investors who wanted to get back in would be forced to bite the bullet and buy at a higher price, effectively taking a loss. Questor advocates buying into quality funds with solid management and holding for the long run. Fundsmith appears in our “Telegraph 25” list of top funds and investment trusts, and very much follows a Warren Buffett-style buy and hold philosophy, centred on high-conviction bets on quality companies. If, as some fear, Britain risks a fully-fledged run on the pound, the London stock market is certain to suffer, but investors who hold overseas shares can expect rises there to balance out the losses. Fundsmith Equity at 289p +0.3p. Questor says “Hold”.

The Guardian

Philip Hammond to make autumn statement on 23 November: Philip Hammond will present his first budget statement as Chancellor of the Exchequer on 23 November, setting out how the government will use tax and spending plans to shore up the U.K. economy after the vote to leave the EU.

Confidence in housing market rising after Brexit vote, say surveyors: Confidence is returning to the housing market after the initial shock of the Brexit vote and there are signs that prices and sales will rise in the coming months, according to the latest monthly report from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics).

U.K. jobs market rebounds in August: The U.K.’s jobs market bounced back in August after a rise in full-time jobs that made up some of the ground lost in June and July.

Home rents rose to an all-time high in July: The average monthly rent for a home in England and Wales rose to an all-time high of £846 in July, amid strong demand for let accommodation.

Labour plans radical overhaul of HMRC: Large companies should publish their tax returns and whistleblowers who expose financial wrongdoing must have protection under the law, a Labour party-commissioned report into reforming tax collection has proposed.

MEPs offer support to convicted LuxLeaks whistleblowers: More than 100 members of the European parliament have signed a letter of support for two whistleblowers convicted by a Luxembourg court of leaking information about secret tax rulings to journalists.

Daily Mail

Bio-mass energy lifts profit hopes at haulage firm Stobart Group: Stobart Group is boosting its energy business and said it is in line to hit full-year profit forecasts.

Property portal Zoopla upbeat for full year outlook as listings reach 925,000 in a year, and uSwitch provides boost: Property portal Zoopla was upbeat on its full year prospects as homes listed on its website hit 925,000 in the year to August, while uSwitch also provided a boost.

Ecclestone girls to share £500 million windfall as Formula One is sold to U.S. media tycoon: The two daughters of Bernie Ecclestone are set to share a £500 million windfall from the sale of Formula One to an American media tycoon.

Shares in Micro Focus surge as its £6.6 billion Hewlett Packard acquisition shows U.K. tech can still pack a punch: Shares in Micro Focus soared by 16% after the U.K. firm agreed to buy the software arm of Hewlett Packard Enterprise for more than $8.8billion (£6.6billion).

Dixons Carphone sees ‘no detectable’ Brexit impact as sales at the electricals retailer jump 4% over summer: Dixons Carphone clocked up a healthy rise in sales over the summer as the merged electricals and mobile phones giant said it has not seen signs of a Brexit hangover.

Daily Express

Get receipts for contactless payments or risk overpaying, shoppers told: Shoppers have been urged to ask for receipts when making contactless payments amid concerns they could be overcharged without realising.

EU’s zombie banks: ECB is destroying Europe’s finance hubs, warns leading investment bank: European banks are slipping into a terrifying zombie state of decline thanks to the European Central Bank (ECB), a leading investment bank has warned.

Europe’s stock markets plunge amid fears ECB has run out of tools to save Eurozone: The European Central Bank (ECB) has shocked markets by taking no action to prop up the Eurozone, despite warning signs the economy is struggling to cope with Britain’s vote to leave the European Union (EU).

The Scottish Herald

Leading North Sea player targets further cost cuts as it highlights challenging conditions: Leading North Sea oil and gas player EnQuest has warned of the need to make further savings on manpower costs and to curb activity as the crude price plunge continues to take a heavy toll on the area.

Fintech company Beeks launches cloud-based trading market: Linwood-based financial technology company Beeks Financial Cloud is targeting global growth after unveiling a system designed to allow mid-sized financial institutions to execute instantaneous online trades.

North-east dairy farmers hope for new investment: Dairy farmers in the North-east are hoping to attract investment in a proposed new milk processing facility following the decision of Muller Wiseman to close its Aberdeen plant.

New board members for Clydesdale Bank: Timothy Wade and Fiona MacLeod have been appointed as independent non-Executive Directors of Clydesdale Bank. They also join the board of the bank’s parent group CYBG, and CYB Investments.

Oil services firm makes bumper profit on sale of boats amid North Sea downturn: Vroon Offshore Services, the Dutch-owned firm which operates North Sea emergency response boats, made a £13.2 million profit on the sale of vessels last year when the company shrunk its fleet in response to the North Sea downturn.

Asda deals earn £26 million for Scottish producers: MORE than £26 million has been generated in Asda stores by 25 Scottish food companies, after they participated in the supermarket’s Supplier Development Academy (SDA), delivered in partnership with Scotland Food & Drink.

Gore-tex maker grows profits after cutting Scottish jobs: Clothing firm WL Gore & Associates U.K. has grown profits for 2016 by 31% to £17 million, in spite of turnover falling by three% to £112 million.

Home businesses contribute £6.1 billion to Scottish economy: More than half of all Scottish businesses are home based, and contribute more than £6 billion to the country’s economy.

Morton Fraser lands two more SIPP provider clients: Law firm Morton Fraser has been appointed to provide commercial property advice to the customers of two further pensions providers.

Morrisons aims to cut queues with new checkouts promise: Morrisons has pledged to open extra checkouts if a customer has more than one person ahead of them in a scheme that has proven successful for rival Tesco.

The Scotsman

Life sciences firm Arrayjet in £650k cash injection: Roslin-based Arrayjet, which specialises in microarray printing services used for medical screening, said it has secured six-figure funding to help it harness global demand and accelerate innovation.

Chemist chain Lindsay & Gilmour expands in Edinburgh: One of Scotland’s longest established pharmacy operators has expanded its footprint and secured a multi-million-pound financing package.

‘Flawed’ IT farm payment system under fresh attack: The computer system charged with controlling the support payments for Scottish farmers received more criticism.

Coal-fired Drax ‘pours £120 million into Scots economy’: Drax Group, the coal-fired power company that is also fighting the corner for biomass in the U.K.’s energy market, says it contributed £120 million to Scotland’s economy last year and supported 1,700 jobs across the country.

Scottish firms extend reach with London agreement: The Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) said a delegation of 50 business influencers from its network opened the markets at the London Stock Exchange.

City A.M.

World Bank lays bare the $5 trillion cost of dirty air: A landmark study from the World Bank has found deaths as a result of air pollution cost the world more than $5 trillion (£3.8 trillion) a year.

MasterCard hit with record £14 billion bill as 46 million customers could win compensation: MasterCard is being sued for £14 billion in the largest legal claim in British history over allegations it used its market dominance to overcharge millions of U.K. customers.

The European Parliament has appointed Guy Verhofstadt as its representative on Brexit matters: Influential MEP Guy Verhofstadt has been appointed as the European Parliament’s (EP) point man for Brexit negotiations.

U.K. named as best G20 country for starting a digital business: Britain scored the highest marks for digital business environment – which includes regulation such as recruitment practices, tax frameworks, time taken to start a business and legal efficiency – in accountancy firm EY’s G20 Digital Entrepreneurship Barometer, which looked at five categories.

Leading Channel Islands pub group raises glass to £118 million takeover by Caledonia Investments: Caledonia Investments completed its deal to gulp up leading Channel Islands pub Owner and brewer The Liberation Group for a tasty £118 million.

 

 

 

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