The Business: Monday August 18 2014

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

UK HOMEOWNERS SLASH PRICES

Britain has changed from a sellers' to a buyers' market as house prices are slashed in the largest-ever summer sale, reports the Daily Telegraph. Asking prices have fallen dramatically this summer as sellers slash their expectations in the face of cooling demand for new homes. The price tag on the average UK property coming to market dropped by 2.9% in the first half of August.

APPS MARKET IS IN DECLINE

Smartphone users’ appetite for apps is in decline, says the Financial Times. Almost one-third of smartphone users do not download any apps in a typical month, according to a report from Deloitte. Almost nine in 10 people also say that they never spend money on apps or other smartphone content. This is causing gloom and anxiety in what has been a technology market hotspot for some years.

CARNEY HINTS AT RATES RISE BEFORE PAY RISE

Interest rates may start to rise before real pay stops falling, Mark Carney has warned. The governor of the Bank of England told The Sunday Times: “We have to have the confidence that real wages are going to be growing sustainably [before rates go up]. We don't have to wait for the fact of that turn to do so.” Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph discusses Carney’s mixed messages today.

QUOTE OF THE DAY… HOW DOES BUFFETT DO IT?

“The spectacular trajectory has been down to three things. First, Buffett’s rare ability to pick good companies to invest in decade after decade; second, his ban on dividends; and third, his absolute refusal to countenance a share split.” The Times' Patrick Hosking on the rise of shares in Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

LASTMINUTE.COM IS ‘SET FOR SALE’

An icon of the first dotcom boom is up for sale, reveals Sky News. The US owner of Lastminute.com is exploring the option of offloading it. Sabre Holdings has appointed bankers at advisory firm Houlihan Lokey to oversee an auction, and has already begun sounding out potential buyers. Private equity firms and rival online travel groups such as Expedia are rumoured to be interested.

MORRISONS CHASES ‘DUSK AND DAWN’

Morrisons is pursuing ‘dusk and dawn’ shoppers in its latest bid to reverse a slump in sales. From this morning, the Yorkshire-based retailer will extend opening hours to 6am -11pm at 230 of its 490 shops, meaning Morrisons stores will be open for 1,600 more hours per week in total. Recent research by YouGov found one in five shoppers prefer to visit supermarkets before 9am or after 8pm.

THE NUMBERS... AT 0730 BST


FTSE-100: up +0.06 to 6689.08
Dow Jones: down -0.30 to 16662.91
Dax: down -1.44 to 9092.60
Cac-40: down -0.74 to 4174.36
Nikkei: up +0.06 to 15326.82
Hang Seng: down -0.23 to 24898.19
US dollar: buys €0.74660 and £0.59800
Sterling: buys $1.67240 and €1.24900
Oil: $103.30 up +1.2