The Business: Monday August 11 2014

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

CARNEY MAY RAISE RATES IN 2014

The Bank of England is to deliver its strongest signal yet that interest rates will rise early next year – and governor Mark Carney may even leave the door open to a possible increase in 2014. The central bank will make its statement as it releases its quarterly Inflation Report on Wednesday. As well as laying down a clear marker on interest rates, the Bank is expected to lower its unemployment forecasts as part of a broad economic update.

SPENDING NEARS FOUR-YEAR HIGH

Personal spending is close to a four-year high, says The Times. Britain’s sunny weather and an exciting summer of sport are believed to have powered an increase in household spending for the tenth consecutive month. Consumer spending increased in six of the eight sectors measured by Visa with the takings in restaurants and bars up 8.1% year-on-year. Rising job vacancies and signs of emerging wage inflation have led some analysts to predict further increases in spending.

COALITION CONSIDERS INHERITANCE TAX REFORM

Savers could be forced to pay inheritance tax while they are still alive, under a new initiative against tax avoidance planned by the coalition. Ministers are targeting wealthy people who use complicated schemes that allow them to drastically lower the amount they will owe after their death. The government may allow HMRC to subject such people to “accelerated payment” laws forcing them to pay up front.

UK HIRING ‘IS AT 16-YEAR HIGH’

The hiring plans of UK firms are at a 16-year high, according to the accountancy firm BDO. A "significant uptick" in recruitment plans by services firms in particular is driving the increase, BDO said. Its survey also found that an increase in the rate of job creation is expected for the rest of the year. However, the BDO says some services firms are citing concerns over a shortage of skilled workers, and turning to "readily available and flexible labour from Europe".

QUOTE OF THE DAY… NATIONALISE THE MOBILE PHONE NETWORK

“So yes, it might sound far-fetched, the sort of proposal that lends itself to endless satire from the triumphalist neoliberal right. But next time you're yelling at your signal-free mobile phone, it might not seem so wacky after all.” Owen Jones, writing in The Guardian, calls for mobile phone companies to be nationalised.

CROWN ESTATE SWOOPS IN MAYFAIR

The Queen’s estate has trumped foreign bids for a prime slice of Mayfair, reports The Sunday Times. The Crown Estate’s £381m bid has landed it a stake in the Pollen Estate. It saw off rival bidders including Almacantar, led by the former Land Securities executive Mike Hussey, and Wheelock, run by the Hong Kong billionaire Peter Woo. The Crown Estate, which has a £10bn portfolio, produced record returns of £267m last year.

THE NUMBERS... AT 0800 BST


FTSE-100: down -0.45 to 6567.36
Dow Jones: up +1.13 to 16553.93
Dax: down -0.33 to 9009.32
Cac-40: down -0.05 to 4147.81
Nikkei: up +2.38 to 15130.52
Hang Seng: up +1.28 to 24642.03
US dollar: buys €0.74640 and £0.59570
Sterling: buys $1.67850 and €1.25300
Oil: $105.00 down -0.0