The Business: Monday June 23 2014

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

QUEEN’S BANK DENIES BIN LADEN LINK

Coutts, the Queen’s bank, has denied it has links with Osama bin Laden, reports the Daily Telegraph. The private lender issued the denial after customs officials seized 14,000 files containing details of suspected German tax evaders. As European newspapers claimed documents about Bin Laden family members were among those seized, the firm said that it had never “looked after the financial affairs of Osama bin Laden or his immediate family”.

MORRISONS DEEPENS PRICE CUT WAR

The supermarket price war is hotting up as Morrisons announces further price cuts in its latest effort to win back customers, says the BBC. From today, the price of 135 Morrisons products, including flour and oven chips, will be slashed by an average of 14%. It is the latest salvo in a price war among British supermarkets, as they react to the rising challenge of discounters such as Aldi and Lidl. Morrison's chief executive Dalton Philips described the move as “permanent price cuts, not promotions”.

 

JUDGES HIRED FOR TAX CASE TSUNAMI

Plans to recruit dozens of new judges have been put in place to cope with the tidal wave of legal cases against tax avoiders that starts next month, says the Financial Times. Tens of thousands of financiers, celebrities and other users of tax avoidance schemes have been issued with demands to pay tax avoided over the past decade. The £7bn crackdown will follow MPs’ voting last week to press ahead with measures aimed at stopping “aggressive and contrived tax avoidance schemes”.

 

TESCO INVESTOR REVOLT GROWS

Leading Tesco shareholders have protested to the supermarket giant’s senior independent director about strategy and management, as discontent with its chief executive and chairman grows. After the decline in quarterly like-for-like sales accelerated from 3.3% to 4% this month the noose is tightening on chairman Sir Richard Broadbent and chief executive Philip Clarke. Tesco is losing ground to discounters like Aldi and pub chains such as JD Wetherspoon, which offers cheap meal deals.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY… DOVE CALLS FOR ‘EMERGENCY MEDICINE’

“This is more a case of scaling back the emergency medicine as the patient begins their recovery, rather than invasive surgery to deal with a sudden, life-threatening illness.” Doveish Bank of England committee member David Miles joins the ‘rates must rise’ school.

AMAZON IN RAIL PICKUP PROJECT

You will soon able to pick-up your Amazon parcels from railways stations after the online retailer struck a deal with a new click-and-collect company. The firm, Doddle, is a joint venture between Network Rail and currency exchange magnate Lloyd Dorfman. Amazon has been running a trial operation at Milton Keynes station. Doddle says that outlets in London Cannon Street, Woking, Bromley South, Brighton and Chelmsford stations will “open soon”.

 

THE NUMBERS... AT 0715 BST


FTSE-100: up +0.25 to 6825.50
Dow Jones: up +0.15 to 16947.08
Dax: down -0.17 to 9987.24
Cac-40: down -0.48 to 4541.34
Nikkei: up +0.09 to 15363.61
Hang Seng: up +0.02 to 23199.40
US dollar: buys €0.73470 and £0.58660
Sterling: buys $1.70480 and €1.25250
Oil: $114.69 down -0.3