The Business: Monday February 24 2014
Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday
HSBC will announce its highest profits since the start of the financial crisis today, predicts the Daily Telegraph. Fuelled by a surge in mortgage lending as the economic recovery strengthens, the bank’s pre-tax profits will rise 20% to $24.7bn (£14.8bn) in 2012, according to analysts. This will beat its 2007 record of $24.2bn. The lender is also expected to say its increased share of UK mortgage lending for 2013 has risen to 12%.
Stephen Hester is to launch an £800m rescue rights issue to repair the shattered balance sheet at RSA Insurance, says the Sunday Times. The former Royal Bank of Scotland boss, who joined the beleaguered insurer three weeks ago, is expected to push the button on the fundraising bid this week, as full-year results are released. Advisers at JP Morgan and Bank of America Merrill Lynch have been appointed to handle the fundraising.
Richard Desmond has resigned from the board of Channel 5’s operating company. The Independent says this is a further sign that he is preparing to sell the broadcaster. According to Companies House filings, Desmond and two other executives quietly stepped down from Channel 5 Broadcasting Limited at the end of December. Ofcom has formally confirmed that Channel 5 has completed its renewal of its broadcasting licences for another 10 years until 2024, boosting its appeal to bidders.
“For the past 20 years, we have not been the victims of globalisation but of our own business conduct. The West is suffering from a chronic Attention Deficit Disorder. It needs to be addressed.” Daniel Pinto says the West has killed entrepreneurs and replaced them with bureaucrats.
Netflix has struck a deal with America’s biggest internet service provider to help its videos stream faster and more smoothly, says the BBC. The deal will see Netflix servers connect directly to Comcast’s network, shutting out third parties that slow down streaming speeds. Comcast insists that Netflix will not get “preferential network treatment”. The agreement comes just days after Comcast confirmed a deal to acquire Time Warner Cable for about $45bn (£27bn).
Banks must stick to rules on liquidity, says Bank of England governor Mark Carney. As the G20 meeting of finance ministers and top bankers came to an end, Carney said: “We can’t have a system where some [banks] that are pushing back on [new rules] are still reliant ultimately on the State and are getting a massive subsidy from the taxpayer.’’ He also defended his forward guidance policy, saying eventual interest rates rises will “proceed gradually”.
FTSE-100: up +0.37 to 6838.06
Dow Jones: down -0.19 to 16103.30
Dax: up +0.40 to 9656.95
Cac-40: up +0.59 to 4381.06
Nikkei: down -0.19 to 14837.68
Hang Seng: down -1.04 to 22333.51
US dollar: buys €0.72760 and £0.60080
Sterling: buys $1.66480 and €1.21110
Oil: $109.76 down -0.5