The Business: Monday April 14 2014
Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday
Wages are poised to rise by more than inflation for the first time in almost six years, according to an economic forecaster. EY predicts a "long period of low inflation" means average earnings could rise faster than the cost of living within weeks. The organisation also thinks the UK economy will see "decent but unspectacular" growth of 2.9% this year, and that most of that growth will continue to be driven by consumer spending.
Yet more pressure has been heaped on Tesco boss Philip Clarke as Britain’s largest retailer prepares to unveil another year of falling sales and profits. Tesco is expected to announce profits of £3.2bn on Wednesday – a fall of 9% from £3.5bn last year. Struggling chief executive Clarke has presided over a succession of downgrades since replacing Sir Terry Leahy in 2011. He will face tough questions over why the share prices is at a 10-year low despite £1bn of investment.
The surge in self-employment in Britain is being driven by people working for themselves rather than starting businesses that will create jobs for others, says new research. In a revelation set to spark fresh debate about the country’s entrepreneurial drive, the Trades Union Congress said the figures supported its view that rising self-employment was part of a shift towards insecure work, rather than the result of people starting companies.
House of Fraser has sold a majority stake in its business to the Chinese conglomerate Sanpower in a £480m deal, says the BBC. The acquisition - China's largest foreign retail investment - gives Sanpower an 89% share in the company behind the UK department store chain. Sanpower said it is thrilled to acquire the “iconic heritage brand”, while House of Fraser called the deal an “extremely exciting chapter” in its 165-year history.
Mates condoms could disappear from the shelves after the brand’s Australian owner considers scrapping the name to throw its weight behind a premium brand called Skyn. More than two decades after Sir Richard Branson founded Mates as a budget rival to Durex, it has run out friends among consumers. Sykn, in contrast, has expanded its market share thanks to the softer and more flexible material it uses.
“There are vicious circles where there is so little property for sale that few local home owners are willing to come to market to trade up, exacerbating the shortages and boosting sellers' pricing power.” Rightmove director Miles Shipside on the “ridiculously tight” property market in the south of England.
FTSE-100: down -1.21 to 6561.70
Dow Jones: down -0.89 to 16026.75
Dax: down -1.47 to 9315.29
Cac-40: down -1.08 to 4365.86
Nikkei: up +0.14 to 13979.30
Hang Seng: up +0.00 to 23003.94
US dollar: buys €0.72240 and £0.59750
Sterling: buys $1.67350 and €1.20880
Oil: $107.14 down -0.3