The Business: Thursday March 6 2014

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

SHELL WARNS SCOTS ON VOTE

Shell, Barclays and Lloyds have warned Scotland against voting for independence, reports the Daily Telegraph. The three FTSE 100 companies believe there are economic risks if Scotland goes it alone. Ben van Beurden, chief executive of Shell, said: “We’d like to see Scotland remain part of the United Kingdom”, saying he values “the continuity and stability” of the UK. Lloyds said independence could have a “material impact” on funding, while Barclays warned of “instability”. 

UK FIRMS HIRING AT RECORD PACE

British companies hired at the fastest pace on record in February, according to Markit. Private sector firms were taking on staff at a rate of 150,000 in the first quarter. “The brightening outlook has prompted firms to take on staff at a rate not seen before over the PMI surveys’ 16-year history,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit. He said the economic recovery has rolled over into 2014, adding: “There's no end in sight to the good news.”

HOW BANKS DODGE BONUS CAPS

Lloyds and Barclays have dodged EU rules by handing bosses almost £1m in shares, says The Guardian. Barclays has lined up a £18,000-a-week shares payout for its chief executive Antony Jenkins, who earns a salary of £1.1m a year. Meanwhile, over at Lloyds, António Horta-Osório will be handed almost the same size allowance, after receiving a total pay package of £7.5m last year. Last month, HSBC handed its boss £1.7m in shares to dodge the bonus cap.

FOREX: CARNEY TO FACE MPS

Mark Carney will be quizzed by MPs next week over the Bank of England’s alleged involvement in the manipulation of the foreign exchange market. After the central bank suspended one of its employees for breaching “internal control processes” following an internal probe, the Treasury Select Committee prepared to ask Carney how aware the bank was of any foreign exchange manipulation. Executive director Paul Fisher, directly responsible for forex trading, will also appear.

QUOTE OF THE DAY… YOU’RE A MUG TO SAVE

“‘The policy stance has rewarded borrowers and punished savers - the message being sent is, "you're a mug to save."' Financial expert Ros Altmann blasts the BoE’s rock bottom interest rates.

LONDON FAVOURITE CITY OF ULTRA RICH

London has retained its status as the favourite city of the world’s ultra-rich, says The Guardian. Those with £21m or more in assets apart from their main home are known as ‘ultra high net worth individuals’. London was home to 4,224 such individuals in 2013. A report, from estate agents Knight Frank, predicts that within a decade this figure will rise to nearly 5,000. The top six cities in the chart host more ultra-rich people than Latin America and the Middle East combined.

THE NUMBERS... AT 0730 GMT


FTSE-100: down -0.71 to 6775.42
Dow Jones: down -0.22 to 16360.18
Dax: down -0.49 to 9542.02
Cac-40: down -0.11 to 4391.25
Nikkei: up +1.59 to 15134.75
Hang Seng: up +0.56 to 22705.43
US dollar: buys €0.72830 and £0.59830
Sterling: buys $1.67140 and €1.21730
Oil: $107.68 down -1.5