The Business: Thursday April 3 2014

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

LONDON HOUSE BOOM TO UNRAVEL?

The boom in London house prices could “unravel” as it faces a double-hit of a strengthening pound and the Bank of England rushing through interest rate rises next year, says Europe’s largest investment bank. Deutsche Bank expects interest rates to increase by 1% by the end of next year. As central banks rein in loose monetary policies, Britain’s housing market could crash as the tidal wave of foreign buyers calms.

SPORTS DIRECT SCRAPS £72.5M SHARES PLAN

A revolt by institutional investors has forced Sports Direct to scrap its plan to hand Mike Ashley shares worth more than £72.5m, says The Times. It is the second time the retailer has had to cancel a proposed reward scheme for its billionaire executive chairman. Shareholders, half of whom needed to approve the motion, were reluctant to hand him further control of the company. He already owns a 72% stake in Sports Direct.

CHANNEL 5 BIDS EXPECTED TO BE LOW

Bids for Channel 5 are expected to be less than half the £700m price tag suggested by owner Richard Desmond, claims the Daily Telegraph. Sources say any second round bids are likely to be between £200m and £300m, after prospective buyers were allowed fuller access to the broadcaster’s accounts. It is believed the accounts reveal that much of Channel 5’s success has relied on its close ties with Desmond’s other assets, including the Daily Express.

VODAFONE TO CREATE 1,400 JOBS

Vodafone will create 1,400 UK jobs this year as it opens 150 new outlets, reports Sky News. The £100m expansion is part of its £1bn investment commitment. The company, which has 19m customers in the UK, pledged last summer to increase its UK expenditure here by 50%, as it battles against strong competition from the likes of O2 and EE. David Cameron said of the news: "It is a sign that our long-term economic plan to create jobs and build a stronger, more competitive economy is working."

QUOTE OF THE DAY… HEATH ON THE EU DEBATES

“Does anybody really think that investment banks will move the bulk of their HQs and staff to Paris or Frankfurt, to be hit by financial transaction taxes and Francois Hollande’s 75 per cent top rate of tax? Yeah, right.” City AM’s Allister Heath on the lessons big business must learn from the Clegg/Farage debates.

AMAZON LAUNCHES SET TOP BOX

Amazon has unveiled a $99 television set top box that will give the user instant access to more than 200,000 films and television series, reports The Guardian. The website’s DVD business is now in decline as more people download films. In response, the company launched its Fire TV device in New York yesterday, as it eyes a scrap with Apple and Google to become the television distributors of the future.

THE NUMBERS... AT 0730 GMT


FTSE-100: up +0.10 to 6659.04
Dow Jones: up +0.24 to 16573.00
Dax: up +0.20 to 9623.36
Cac-40: up +0.09 to 4430.86
Nikkei: up +1.11 to 15112.16
Hang Seng: up +0.10 to 22546.05
US dollar: buys €0.72680 and £0.60080
Sterling: buys $1.66460 and €1.20980
Oil: $104.72 down -0.9