The Business: Thursday March 13 2014
Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday
Morrisons has announced a pre-tax loss of £176m for last year – down from an £879m profit the year before. The supermarket chain incurred one-off costs of £903m. Morrisons chairman Ian Gibson said: “The fact that we do not yet have a meaningful presence in online and convenience - the two fastest growing channels in the grocery market - have clearly held us back, and the overall performance of our core business has been disappointing."
Panasonic has said it will pay expatriate workers living in China pollution compensation. Japanese firms frequently pay their staff extra for living overseas, but Panasonic are the first firm to explicitly pay more because of China’s terrible pollution problem, according to the BBC. Last week it was announced that air quality was below national standards in almost all of China’s cities last year. The country has declared a “war on pollution”.
King, the company behind the wildly popular mobile game Candy Crush Saga, will raise $530m when it floats on the New York Stock Exchange later this month, with an initial public offering of $7.6bn, the Guardian reports. Only a month ago, King’s valuation was put at $5.5bn, but the buoyant stock market and a new dotcom fever have apparently persuaded the company to price its shares at between $21 and $24 each.
G4S will pay the UK government £109m for overcharging on a contract for electronically tagging criminals, but it remains barred from central government work. The troubled security company reached the settlement over claims it charged for tagging criminals who were overseas, in prison or dead. G4S also announced yesterday it made a £342m loss in full-year results, the Daily Telegraph reports.
“‘This time is different’ are probably the four most dangerous words in investing. When you buy an asset that is valued at 200 times annual profit, you are effectively saying that I will make back my money in 200 years. That requires not just a massive leap of faith but a giant leap into the dark." David Kuo, investment director of Motley Fool, comments on the current exuberance over dotcom flotations in the Independent.
Barack Obama is expected to issue an executive order today to force businesses to pay employees overtime when they work more than 40 hours a week. It is the latest attempt by the US president to confront corporations that have enjoyed soaring profits even as wages have stagnated, the New York Times reports. The move is a challenge to Republicans who say they will block another proposal to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10.
FTSE-100: down -0.97 to 6620.9
Dow Jones: down -0.07 to 16340.08
Dax: down -1.28 to 9188.69
Cac-40: down -1 to 4306.26
Nikkei: down -0.1 to 14815.98
Hang Seng: down -0.56 to 21779.29
US dollar: buys €0.71704 and £0.59985
Sterling: buys $1.66709 and €1.19538
Oil: $108.32 down -0.2