The Business: Monday June 9 2014
Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday
The head of the IMF has asked whether she is required to grovel to George Osborne over the organisation’s incorrect warnings on the UK economy. Christine Lagarde said: “Do I have to go on my knees?” after she was asked whether she has apologised to Osborne for the fund’s criticisms of the coalition government’s economic strategy. She says she now accepts that the growth the UK is enjoying has “resulted” from that strategy.
Optimism among UK manufacturers is higher than any time since the financial crisis, according to the industry body. The EEF found that more UK manufacturers are confident about their growth prospects over the next three months than at any time since the third quarter of 2007. Manufacturers now expect 3.6% growth in 2014, up from 2.7% three months ago. However, the sector’s growth is being largely powered by domestic demand, with exports still weak.
Businesses which failed to pay workers the minimum wage have been ‘named and shamed’ by the government. The 25 employers are the latest offenders to be exposed under new rules that came into effect last October. Between them they owe more than £43,000 to staff and have been ordered to pay fines totalling more than £21,000. Business minister Jenny Willott said: “If employers break the law they need to know they will face tough consequences.”
“A bonfire of European rules would not transform Britain’s economic prospects. The idea that the UK would be freer outside the EU is based on a series of misconceptions”. A report from the Centre for European Reform raises new questions over Britain’s relationship with the EU.
Market fever is in the air as Britain nears a record year for flotation, reports The Guardian. Some 40 companies have already raised £5.7bn this year, according to figures from Thomson Reuters. The total for 2014 to date easily outstrips the previous £4.9bn record for the same period in 2007 and the £2.9bn equivalent of 2006, which went on to be the all-time biggest year for flotation. However, investors are turning increasingly cautious over the valuations placed on companies.
Primark is closing in on an extraordinary deal to buy an entire shopping centre in Birmingham and turn it into a giant store, reports the Daily Telegraph. The £60m deal will see the discount retailer buy the Pavilions shopping centre in Birmingham and convert it into one of the country’s biggest stores. Primark, whose sales grew 14% year-on-year, is in ambitious mood. The deal is expected to be confirmed this week.
FTSE-100: up +0.66 to 6858.21
Dow Jones: up +0.52 to 16924.28
Dax: up +0.40 to 9987.19
Cac-40: up +0.71 to 4581.12
Nikkei: up +0.43 to 15141.36
Hang Seng: up +0.61 to 23090.02
US dollar: buys €0.73260 and £0.59460
Sterling: buys $1.68200 and €1.23240
Oil: $108.75 down -0.0