Nearly 50,000 companies face collapse as ‘debt storm’ hits Business

Thanks for joining me. Airlines have been told to inspect another type of Boeing aircraft after the dramatic mid-air blowout earlier this month.

The US Federal Aviation Administration told airlines to examine the door plugs of Boeing 737-900ER planes “to ensure the door is properly secured”.

Boeing said it “fully supports the FAA and our customers in this action.” 

5 things to start your day 

1) Labour’s North Sea drilling ban will bring forward rig closures, warns Enquest chief | Oil executive argues plans will cost jobs and increase dependency on imported energy

2) Help to Buy revival will only fuel house price inflation, Hunt warned | Jeremy Hunt is also exploring plans to introduce a 99pc mortgage to let first-time buyers onto the property ladder with just a 1pc deposit

3) Record number of female chief executive departures blamed on ‘tall poppy syndrome’ | Female chief executives are much more likely to quit their jobs as a result of personal reasons, and are also more likely to be fired

4) Unloved London stock market to beat US and EU in 2024, City predicts | Comparatively cheap UK stocks are poised for a comeback amid falling inflation

5) House prices and economy to get boost from easing inflation | Falling interest rates and an end to the energy price shock to drive growth

What happened overnight 

Shares were mixed in Asian markets after Wall Street returned to record heights on Friday, while Hong Kong’s benchmark dropped nearly 3pc, hovering near a 15-month low.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 1.6pc, or 583.68 points, to 36,546.95, while the broader Topix index rose 1.4pc, or 34.89 points, to 2,544.92.

The Bank of Japan started a two-day policy meeting on Monday, and was expected to keep its ultra-low interest rates unchanged.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 2.8pc to 14,877.50. The index has shrunk more than 10pc this year, its worst start to a year since 2016. The Shanghai Composite index was down 2.5pc at 2,760.73.

China’s commercial banks kept their loan prime rate unchanged Monday amid downward pressure on the yuan, disappointing investors who anticipated measures to stimulate the economy. Last week, the People’s Bank of China surprised markets by keeping its medium-term lending facility rate unchanged.

In South Korea, the Kospi fell 0.4pc to 2,476.14. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.8pc to 7,476.60. In Bangkok, the SET was down 0.6pc, while in Taiwan the Taiex gained 0.8pc.

On Friday, the S&P 500 rallied 1.2pc to its record of 4,839.81. The Dow Jones Industrial Average set its own record a month earlier, and it gained 1.1pc to 37,863.80. The Nasdaq composite jumped 1.7pc to 15,310.97.

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This notice was published: 2024-01-22 08:41:30


JP Morgan boss receives record payout Business

Thanks for joining me. JP Morgan paid its chief executive his highest ever salary at the bank as its profits and share price outperformed its peers.

Jamie Dimon received $36m (£28.4m) for 2023, a 4.3pc increase on the previous year. 

5 things to start your day 

1) Hunt plots tax cuts as inflation crisis eases | Chancellor admits voters are ‘very angry’ about high levies

2) Thousands of jobs at risk under net zero plans at Britain’s biggest steelworks | Tata steel plans to decarbonise by replacing its blast furnaces with green technology

3) Norfolk couple win battle against Louis Vuitton over ‘absurd’ name dispute | ‘David and Goliath’ fight ends in victory for gardening business

4) Ben Marlow: One fleeting Christmas won’t restore faith in the Royal Mail | Company’s misplaced optimism does little to distract from a pervading sense of decline

5) Matthew Lynn: Sunak’s pride has allowed Labour to steal the show at Davos | Britain’s main champion missed the chance to turn the country’s fortunes around

What happened overnight 

Asian shares bounced back, buoyed by a rally in global chipmakers, while the yen was set to end the week with heavy losses as investors pared back bets the Bank of Japan would soon abandon its uber-easy policies.

Taipei-listed shares of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) surged 6.3pc after the chipmaking giant projected 2024 revenue growth of more than 20pc. Its U.S. shares soared nearly 10pc overnight, fuelling a broad tech rally on Wall Street.

Tokyo stocks closed higher on Friday, led by the gains in chip-linked shares, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 index adding 1.4pc, or 497.10 points, to 35,963.27, while the broader Topix index ended up 0.7pc, or 17.94 points, at 2,510.03.

Data showed Japan’s core consumer inflation slowed for a second straight month in December, adding to speculation that the BOJ is not in a rush to tighten its ultra loose monetary policy.

The yen lost 0.2pc to 148.48 per dollar, having fallen almost 2.5pc for the week to the lowest level since early December.

Chinese stocks slipped again after bouncing off five-year lows a day before on signs of state support. Chinese bluechips fell 0.3pc while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index eased 0.2pc.

Wall Street bounced back on Thursday and regained almost all the losses it suffered earlier in the week.

The S&P 500 rose 0.9pc, to 4,780.94, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 leading American companies 0.5pc, reaching 37,468.61. The Nasdaq Composite index, which heavily features technology shares, jumped 1.3pc, ending up at 15,055.65.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury bonds rose again Thursday, to 4.13pc from 4.11pc late Wednesday indicating less confidence over imminent interest rate cuts. But the move was milder than earlier in the week, when it jumped up from 3.95pc.

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This notice was published: 2024-01-19 06:47:22


Housing market bounces back as mortgage price war boosts sales Business

By the end of December, the average rate on a two-year fixed rate mortgage was 5.94pc, down nearly a whole percentage point from the peak reached over the summer.

Lenders have slashed mortgage rates even further so far this year, with deals now available below 4pc from high street lenders.

Tarrant Parsons, Rics senior economist, said: “Supported by an easing in mortgage interest rates of late, buyer demand has now stabilised, and this is expected to translate into a slight recovery in residential sales volumes over the coming months.”

Read the latest updates below.

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This notice was published: 2024-01-18 06:41:39


FTSE 100 plunges after shock rise in inflation Business

Thanks for joining me. Inflation rose to 4pc in December, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Mortgage borrowers have been watching the figure closely, as the Bank of England has raised interest rates to 16-year highs in an effort to bring the rate of inflation in Britain back to its 2pc target.

5 things to start your day 

1) Two of Britain’s biggest investments banks combine amid London stock market slowdown | Racehorse tycoon and former Barclays boss Rich Ricci leads City deal

2) Why the Red Sea crisis signals a new era for interest rates | With instability as the new normal, money managers are preparing for another long war

3) Tories should prioritise economy over migrant bill to win votes, says George Osborne | Former chancellor says Rishi Sunak must ‘double down’ on his economic message

4) Jeremy Warner: Hooked on cheap money, the Tories have wasted 14 years in power | Party only has itself to blame as it careens towards seemingly certain defeat

5) Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: The West is protecting China’s vital interests in the Red Sea | Xi Jinping is free-riding off UK and US naval forces’ defence of global trade

What happened overnight 

Asian equities fell sharply after a series of data pointed to a patchy recovery in China, while the dollar was near a one-month high as traders dialled back bets of early interest rate cuts.

China’s economy last year grew at one of its slowest rates in more than three decades, official figures showed on Wednesday, as it was battered by a crippling property crisis, sluggish consumption and global turmoil.

The figures actually beat Beijing’s target but will still pile fresh pressure on officials to unveil more stimulus measures to kickstart business activity and get the country’s army of consumers spending again.

China’s National Bureau of Statistics revealed that gross domestic product expanded 5.pc to hit 126 trillion yuan (£14 trillion) last year.

Tokyo stocks ended lower, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 index gaving up 0.4pc, or 141.43 points, to 35,477.75, while the broader Topix index lost 0.3pc, or 7.60 points, to 2,496.38.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.3pc to 7,393.10. South Korea’s Kospi dropped 2pc to 2,447.09. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dove nearly 3.1pc to 15,381.84. The Shanghai Composite shed 0.9pc to 2,868.96.

Wall Street slipped on Tuesday in a disappointing return to trading following a three-day holiday weekend in America.

The S&P 500 fell 0.4pc, closing at 4,765.98. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 leading US companies dropped 0.6pc to 37,361.12. The Nasdaq Composite index, which is heavily skewed towards technology shares, dropped 0.2pc, closing at 14,944.35.

Yields rose in the bond market after US Fed official Christopher Waller said in a speech that “policy is set properly” on interest rates. Following the speech, traders pushed some bets for the Fed’s first rate cut to happen in May instead of March.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury climbed to 4.06pc from 3.95pc late on Friday.

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This notice was published: 2024-01-17 09:19:10


Oil breaks $80 a barrel after Yemen air strikes Business

Thanks for joining me. Britain’s economy grew in November, the latest data from the Office for National Statistics show.

Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 0.3pc in a boost to Rishi Sunak’s pledge to grow Britain’s economy as he gears up for a general election later this year.

5 things to start your day 

1) Global trade in the cross hairs as Red Sea crisis rages | Houthi attacks on commercial shipping are already impacting supply chains

2) Dyson criticises ‘perverse’ ruling after losing £150m battle with Brussels | British company loses damages claim in decade-long dispute over energy labels

3) China built more solar panels in 2023 than entire world in 2022 | Beijing drives breakneck expansion in bid to hit peak CO2 emissions by 2030

4) Ambrose Evans Pritchard: China’s relentless quest for growth is a toxic feedback loop of its own making | Vast overinvestment is self-destructive – and intolerable for the global economy

5) Ben Marlow: Vanity projects risk tripping up Marks & Spencer after remarkable resurgence | Talk of empire building is enough to give investors sleepless nights
What happened overnight 

Oil prices surged after US and UK forces launched strikes against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen following attacks on ships in the Red Sea, fuelling worries about a wider conflict in the crude-rich region.

Brent futures jumped 2pc to $79 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 2.1pc to $73.55.

Tokyo stocks ended higher, extending gains from the previous day’s session when the benchmark Nikkei index closed above 35,000 for the first time since 1990.

The Nikkei 225 closed up 1.5pc, or 527.25 points, at 35,577.11, while the broader Topix index added 0.5pc, or 11.36 points, to 2,494.23.

China’s blue chips and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index were mostly flat. 

In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 top American companies finished up less than 0.1 percent at 37,711.02. The broad-based S&P 500 fell 0.1px to 4,780.24, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite index was unchanged at 14,970.19.

Steve Sosnick of Interactive Brokers noted the importance of new inflation figures for the US, which were higher than expected. “The CPI was not a good number,” he said. But it “wasn’t bad enough to give us a real reason for a sell-off either. And that’s why we were sort of muddling around at slightly lower levels.”

The yield on 10-year US Treasury bonds declined yesterday by five basis points to 3.98pc.

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This notice was published: 2024-01-12 11:28:25


World faces ‘brutal’ backlash from Red Sea crisis Business

Robert Walters has axed hundreds of staff as it battles a slowdown in hiring around the world.

The recruitment consultancy said it had axed about 220 roles in the last three months of last year, taking its total headcount down to 3,980.

The company reported a 13pc slowdown in fee income to £91.4m as companies around the world have had their hiring plans derailed by higher interest rates.

Chief executive Toby Fowlston said: “Despite the challenging macro-economic conditions, the group has delivered a resilient fourth quarter and FY23 profit before tax will be in-line with market expectations.”

Robert Walters’ struggles comes as Britain finds itself in the grip of the longest slump in jobs vacancies on record as higher interest rates knock the labour market. 

A total of 949,000 positions were advertised in the three months to November, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which was down almost a quarter of a million from the number of posts advertised a year ago. 

Rival recruiter Hays announced on Tuesday it had axed 650 jobs across its workforce as it tried to offset what it called a “clear slowdown” in the labour market.

5 things to start your day 

1) American regulator approves Bitcoin funds but warns of risks | Investors should remain cautious about Bitcoin’s dangers, the regulator’s chairman has said

2) The bond vigilantes who could punish Britain’s debt binge | ‘The kindness of strangers’ is set to play a decisive role as a general election looms

3) M&S to edge Waitrose in battle of the middle-class supermarkets | Strong festive sales puts grocer on track to overtake rival

4) Channel 5-owner is takeover target for Silicon Valley billionaire’s heir | A deal would scupper a mega-merger being discussed between Warner Bros and Paramount

5) Claire Coutinho vows to build nuclear energy plant to power six million homes | Energy Secretary heralds ‘biggest expansion’ for 70 years after setting out roadmap

What happened overnight 

Asian stocks rose ahead of US inflation data that could influence the Federal Reserve’s thinking on rate cuts, while the crypto world got a boost after exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to track bitcoin were approved in the United States.

Japan’s Nikkei breached 35,000 for the first time since February 1990 in a blistering start to the year, after rising 28pc in 2023, its strongest yearly performance in a decade. 

The Nikkei closed up 1.8pc, or 608.14 points, to 35,049.86 while the broader Topix index added 1.6pc, or 38.39 points to 2,482.87.

Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, Manila and Jakarta were also well up.

In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 top American companies rose 0.45pc, to 37,695.73, while the S&P 500 gained 0.57pc, closing at 4,783.45. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite index added 0.75pc, reaching 14,969.65.

The yield on benchmark 10-year US Treasury bonds advanced one basis point to 4.03pc.

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This notice was published: 2024-01-11 12:08:36


Germany's property crisis 'about to get worse' – latest updates Business


The outlook for Germany’s construction sector is grim for 2024, according to two prominent research institutes, in a further bad sign for the nation’s struggling property industry.


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This notice was published: 2024-01-10 10:39:25


EDF plans to extend operations at four UK nuclear plants – latest updates Business


EDF plans to extend the life of four of its nuclear reactors as Britain aims to shore up its energy security.


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This notice was published: 2024-01-09 10:27:32


Buying a house is not that difficult, says NatWest chairman Business

House prices bounced back further last month as lower mortgage rates fuelled a revival in the property market.

The average home increased in value by 1.1pc in December compared to November, according to the Halifax house price index.

It was the third monthly gain in a row after six consecutive falls before that.

It means a typical home is worth £287,105, up more than £3,000 on the previous month.

The increase in prices comes as lenders cut mortgage rates amid expectations that the Bank of England will cut interest rates this year, with several major banks starting the year by offering rates below 4pc. 

However, Kim Kinnaird, director at Halifax Mortgages, said: “The growth we have seen is likely being driven by a shortage of properties on the market, rather than the strength of buyer demand. 

“That said, with mortgage rates continuing to ease, we may see an increase in confidence from buyers over the coming months.”

Halifax said that overall property prices increased by 1.7pc in 2023 but predicted prices will fall by between 2pc and 4pc this year.

5 things to start your day 

1) Car market permanently smaller because of WFH and net zero | Industry chiefs do not expect new car sales to ever return to their pre-pandemic peak

2) US warship among vessels attacked in Red Sea | A UK-owned ship was hit by rocket fire, while several other commercial vessels were targeted off the coast of Yemen

3) Crackdown on ‘phantom’ net zero energy projects fails | Queue for grid connection grows even longer after surge in speculative schemes

4) Telegraph can be protected from Abu Dhabi by ‘editorial trust’, claims bidder | Plans to safeguard editorial freedom provide no guarantees, NUJ says

5) Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Fed rate cuts come too late to avert a fresh wave of US bank failures | Further stress in commercial property could push another tier of lenders over the edge

What happened overnight 

Asian shares mostly declined, after a mixed finish on Wall Street, although export-related Tokyo stocks got a boost from a weakening yen.

Benchmarks rose in Tokyo but fell in Sydney, Seoul, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

The yen has weakened amid speculation that the Bank of Japan might go slowly on changing its lax policy stance as it assesses the impact of Monday’s major earthquake in central Japan.

The US dollar rose to 145.23 Japanese yen from 144.63 yen. The euro fell to $1.0930 from $1.0947. It dropped 0.4pc to 184 to the pound.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.3pc to 33,377.42.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.9pc to 16,490.92, while the Shanghai Composite sank 1pc to 2,926.32.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed nearly 0.1pc to 7,489.10. South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.4pc to 2,578.08.

American shares are having a tricky start to the year, with the S&P 500 experiencing its worst new year since 2015 with three consecutive days of decline.

The index lost 0.3pc to end at 4,688.68 points on Thursday, while the Nasdaq Composite index (heavily weighted towards technology companies) lost 0.6pc, closing at 14,510.3. The Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 leading US companies was flat at 37,440.34.

The yield on 10-year US Treasury bonds jumped to 4pc in a sharp reversal from last week, when the benchmark note slid to a five-month low of 3.78pc on recent data showing inflation by some measures had declined close to the Fed’s 2pc target.

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This notice was published: 2024-01-05 08:53:27


Chinese wages plunge as economy faces growing crisis Business

Thanks for joining me. British executives have urged the Bank of England to cut interest rates as soon as possible to boost the economy as “depressed” confidence sank to a four-year low.

The Institute of Directors’ (IoD) latest economic confidence index, which measures bosses’ optimism about the UK economy over the year ahead, sank to its lowest level since August in December.

The reading of minus 28, down from minus 21 in November, was close to the 2023 low point of minus 30 recorded in June.

It showed bosses ended 2023 in a “relatively depressed place,” according to IoD director of policy Roger Barker.

He said: “In the coming months, the Bank of England will be considering its next step in term of interest rates. 

“Based on the evidence of this survey, an early cut in interest rates would be justified in terms of helping to kick-start business confidence.”

Money markets are betting that the first interest rate cut by the Bank of England will happen by May.

5 things to start your day 

1) Marks & Spencer crowned ‘Christmas winner’ by investors | Retailer’s shares hit five-year high as turnaround efforts pay off

2) Part-time work hits the City as flood of deals slows to a trickle | Overstaffed firms seek to cut costs amid slowing revenue growth and declining profits

3) ‘Lazy’ broadband engineers blamed for exposing hospitals and banks to cyber attacks | Rush to roll out full-fibre sparks fears that security measures are being overlooked

4) Britain faces fresh inflation headache as Maersk suspends shipments | Disruption risks driving oil prices and shipping costs higher in wake of Houthi attacks

5) Jeremy Warner: The Eurozone isn’t about to collapse – it’s worse than that | A once acute, life-threatening illness has given way to a chronic, long-term condition

What happened overnight 

Asian shares dropped after Wall Street and the City of London started 2024 with a slump.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1pc to 16,618.50, influenced by a 2pc drop in technology shares, while the Shanghai Composite index gained 0.1pc to 2,966.13.

Prices of Chinese gaming companies rose, with Tencent Holdings and Netease both adding over 1pc following local reports that a senior official responsible for overseeing China’s gaming industry had been dismissed after the release of draft regulations last month spurred a meltdown in gaming stocks just days before Christmas.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 1.4pc to 7,523.20. South Korea’s benchmark slumped 2.3pc to 2,607.31 after hovering around a 19-month high Tuesday amid the short-selling ban.

Bangkok’s SET lost less than 0.1pc and India’s Sensex was down 0.4pc.

Japanese markets remained closed for the New Year holiday.

The S&P 500 index of American shares fell 0.6pc yesterday to 4,742.83. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 leading US companies rose 0.1pc to 37,715.04 and the Nasdaq Composite index, heavily weighted towards technology shares, fell 1.6pc to 14,765.94.

The dollar rose against major currencies as the yield on 10-year Treasury bonds rose rose 7.3 basis points to 3.933pc – an indication that the markets were a little less confident yesterday of interest rate cuts in 2024.

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This notice was published: 2024-01-03 11:39:47