The Business: Friday 14 March
Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday
Russia faces “a wave of capital flight and a shattering economic crisis” after Germany swung behind US efforts to impose sanctions on Moscow over its attempt to annex Crimea, according to the Daily Telegraph. A referendum in the Ukrainian territory on Sunday is expected to back secession. Visa bans and an asset freeze targeting individuals are expected as early as Monday and the US and EU will resort to “additional and far-reaching” measures if the situation worsens.
The US has lifted a ban on BP bidding for government contracts. The ban was imposed following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010 which was caused by the explosion of the oil rig Deepwater Horizon. The UK government had intervened on behalf of BP, calling the ban “excessive”, the BBC reports. BP America chairman John Mingé said: “After a lengthy negotiation, BP is pleased to have reached this resolution, which we believe to be fair and reasonable.”
The Bank of England has proposed that British bankers be forced to pay back bonuses up to six years after they have received the money if they are later found to have acted improperly or their employer suffers a severe downturn in its financial performance. The Financial Times says the measure, intended to discourage behaviour likely to jeopardise financial stability, would “appear to be the world’s toughest rules” for bonus clawbacks.
Moody’s has cut the credit rating of Royal Bank of Scotland to Baa1 – just one notch above junk status, the Daily Telegraph reports. The credit ratings agency said it could slash the bank’s rating further. RBS is planning a restructuring program that will see it sell off several of its businesses. Moody’s said the restructuring could “heavily depress” profits and leave RBS unable to “manage unforeseen events... such as further litigation”.
"Do not reply on hope. Hope is a false friend in these markets. It will lead investors ... to ruin." Societe Generale’s bearish strategist Albert Edwards, quoted by Reuters markets correspondent Jamie McGeever.
European investors put 51 per cent of their orders for equities through computers last year, according to a study by market consultants TABB. It is the first time more equity investments have been placed electronically than through human traders, the Guardian reports. The changes are put down to new regulations designed to make trading safer, more transparent and better value.
FTSE-100: down -1.01 to 6553.78
Dow Jones: down -1.41 to 16108.89
Dax: down -1.86 to 9017.79
Cac-40: down -1.29 to 4250.51
Nikkei: down -3.3 to 14327.66
Hang Seng: down -0.88 to 21564.76
US dollar: buys €0.72132 and £0.60195
Sterling: buys $1.66128 and €1.19831
Oil: $106.96 down -0.4