The Business: Tuesday April 15 2014

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

TORIES CHOMP FOR NEW MAIL SELLOFF

Senior Tories are keen to sell the government’s remaining 30% stake in Royal Mail, says the BBC. The 180-day “lock-up” agreed by the government when it privatised the first chunk of the Royal Mail last October expired at the weekend. It is possible the new sell-off could be announced around 22 May, after the Royal Mail publishes its full year results. However, Tories in the coalition wonder if Lib Dem business secretary Vince Cable backs such a sale.

MILD MARCH WEATHER BOOSTS RETAILERS

Demand for spring and summer clothing was boosted by the mild weather in March, resulting in a boost for high street retailers. Sales declined by a gentler than expected 1.7% last month. This allayed fears of a sharp decline due to the late timing of Easter this year. Sales of garments such as women’s ballet pumps and summer dresses performed particularly well, though household accessories and furniture suffered due to the late-Easter factor.

BARCLAYS DITCH PAY CHIEF

Barclays has bowed to pressure from shareholders by ousting its pay chief, Sir John Sunderland. Days before the lender’s annual meeting, Sir John was ditched as the head of its remuneration committee. Expected to succeed him is Crawford Gillies, who holds directorships at Standard Life, Scottish Enterprise and Mitie Group. Barclays hopes that the appointment will dampen fury from leading Barclays investors over a bonus pool increase.

SACHS: THIS IS NO DOTCOM BUBBLE

We are not in another dotcom bubble, claims Goldman Sachs. Despite a crash in technology stocks last week, the investment bank has told clients that the bluechip S&P 500 index would probably recover its losses over the next few months. “We believe the differences between 2000 and today are more important than the similarities and the recent momentum drawdown is unlikely to precipitate a more extensive fall in share prices,” it said in a note.

QUOTE OF THE DAY… IT’S HARD TO PLEASE ASHLEY

“He will always be unhappy with what we’re doing, [is] underwhelmed pretty much constantly with the performance, and challenges everything.” Chief executive of Sports Direct, Dave Forsey, on how Mike Ashley took the chain to new heights.

GOOGLE INCREASES UK AD SPEND

Google increased its UK advertising spending by 50% to £45m last year, says The Guardian. Despite a “digital first” approach to marketing, the technology giant came 31st in a list of top UK advertisers, after it spent £15m on television adverts. This put it ahead of ahead of telecoms firm O2, National Lottery operator Camelot and confectionery firm Mars. The research also revealed that the total amount spent on UK advertising fell by 2.35% compared with a year earlier.

THE NUMBERS... AT 0630 GMT


FTSE-100: up +0.34 to 6583.76
Dow Jones: up +0.91 to 16173.24
Dax: up +0.26 to 9339.17
Cac-40: up +0.43 to 4384.56
Nikkei: up +0.84 to 14027.19
Hang Seng: down -1.38 to 22719.89
US dollar: buys €0.72380 and £0.59820
Sterling: buys $1.67150 and €1.20990
Oil: $108.94 up +1.4