The Business: Monday March 3 2014

Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday

RUSSIA FACES ECONOMIC ISOLATION

Russia faces the prospect of economic isolation over its gradual invasion of Crimea, says the Financial Times. “The Russians have miscalculated here,” said a US administration official, adding that Moscow’s economy is “quite vulnerable” to sanctions. The G7 leaders have issued a joint statement condemning Russia’s “clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine”. David Cameron and Barack Obama say there must be “significant costs” if Russian continues.

TESCO PRICE WAR FRIGHTENS FARMERS

Tesco is due to fire the opening salvo in a supermarket price war today – much to the anxiety of Britain’s farming community. Britain’s biggest supermarket chain is expected to slash the cost of four pints of milk from £1.39 to £1, heaping pressure on the other members of the ‘big four’. Although the chain insists the price cut will have “no impact” on what it pays to its 650 dairy famers, the farming industry is anxious over the wider effect the price cut will have on their income.

BUFFETT’S FIRM REPORTS RECORD PROFIT

Warren Buffett’s investment firm has reported a record profit for 2013. Berkshire Hathaway made $19.5bn (£11.6bn) last year, up from $14.8bn (£8.8bn) in 2012. In a letter to shareholders, a delighted Buffett wrote: “On the operating front, just about everything turned out well for us last year - in some cases very well.” He conceded that his firm underperformed the S&P 500 share index for the fifth year in a row, adding: “We have underperformed in 10 of our 49 years.”

NERO JOINS BOSTON COFFEE PARTY

British chain Caffè Nero is poised to challenge the mighty Starbucks on its own home turf, reports The Times. Caffè Nero will announce today that it plans to open its first American store, in Boston, next month. Further outlets in and near the city are already in the pipeline. The announcement comes after the company announced that it had secured a new £275m debt financing package to enable it to “spread its wings” overseas and enter the “at home” coffee market.

QUOTE OF THE DAY… YEUNG ‘NOT A WITNESS OF TRUTH’

“I find the defendant not a witness of truth. I find that he is someone who is prepared to, and did try to, lie whenever he saw the need to do so.” A Hong Kong judge on Birmingham City FC owner Carson Yeung, who was found guilty of money laundering.

LONDON HOTELS SET FOR RECORD HIGH

London hotels are set to enjoy a record breaking year thanks to relaxed visa rules and a series of major events in the capital and the south-east, says the Daily Telegraph. With the economic recovery also strengthening the hoteliers’ hands, the revenue per available room in London is forecast to rise by 3.8% to an all-time high of £117.10 in 2014, according to PwC’s annual European hotels report. Chinese visa rules have been relaxed and events such as the Farnborough Air Show will also draw numbers.

THE NUMBERS... AT 0730 GMT


FTSE-100: down -0.01 to 6809.70
Dow Jones: up +0.30 to 16321.72
Dax: up +1.08 to 9692.08
Cac-40: up +0.27 to 4408.08
Nikkei: down -1.27 to 14652.23
Hang Seng: down -1.43 to 22510.73
US dollar: buys €0.72540 and £0.59700
Sterling: buys $1.67480 and €1.21470
Oil: $109.08 up +0.1