The Business: Tuesday March 11 2014

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

FLOODS BOOST UK JOBS MARKET

A winter of severe floods has delivered a boost to the UK jobs market, according to Manpower, which estimates repair work will be worth about £250m to the construction industry. The wider jobs market is looking equally good: for the first time since 2008, every sector of UK industry is planning to hire staff. James Hick, managing director of Manpower, told Radio 4’s Today programme: "We will see pay rising above inflation soon."

RAINY FEBRUARY HITS RETAIL SALES

Wet weather hit retail sales in February, leading to the first fall since April 2012. Like-for-like sales fell by 1 per cent last month compared to February 2012, following a 3.9 per cent rise in January, the Daily Telegraph reports. Grocery sales proved a dragged on sales, falling by 1.7 per cent over the last three months. But the overall figures hide a buoyant online retail sales sector, which increased by 14.3 per cent.

MERGER TO CREATE TOP BANANA COMPANY

US company Chiquita and Dublin-based Fyffes are to merge, creating a banana giant that will account for 14 per cent of the global market, generate $4.6bn in sales and employ 32,000 people. The deal, which faces investigation by EU, US and Irish regulators, will leave 80 per cent of the banana market in the hands of just three companies, the Guardian reports. The banana industry faces major challenges, including virulent crop diseases and falling prices.

CHINA SLOWDOWN HITS MINING GIANTS

China’s economic slowdown and an increasing supply of iron ore sent the share prices of mining companies tumbling yesterday, the Financial Times reports. Benchmark iron ore for delivery to China is in bear market territory after falling 8.3 per cent yesterday. Shares in Anglo American have fallen more than 7 per cent in the last two trading sessions, while BHP Billiton has dropped almost 4 per cent and Rio Tinto more than 5 per cent.

QUOTE OF THE DAY... A GOOD FIT

"K-Y, as a global leader in intimate lubricants with very high trust score among women, will sit alongside the RB Powerbrand Durex to create a unique portfolio of brands in the sexual well-being category." UK-based Reckitt talks up its purchase of "intimate lubricant" brand K-Y from Johnson & Johnson.

COLORADO TAKES $2M IN POT TAX

Colorado has collected more than $2m in taxes from the sale of recreational marijuana since it was legalised in January this year, the BBC reports. The US state legalised marijuana for medical use in 2012, but pot stores opened for business for the first time in 2014. Including medical marijuana, the state took $3.5m in tax. Other US states are watching developments closely and Washington state is planning to legalise recreational sales this year.

THE NUMBERS... AT 0730 GMT


FTSE-100: down -0.35 to 6689.45 
Dow Jones: down -0.21 to 16418.68 
Dax: down -0.91 to 9265.50 
Cac-40: up +0.1 to 4370.84 
Nikkei: up +0.69 to 15224.11 
Hang Seng: up +0.14 to 22295.66 
US dollar: buys €0.72140 and £0.60119 
Sterling: buys $1.66338 and €1.19996 
Oil: $107.94 down -1.0