The Business: Thursday August 7 2014

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

BORIS ‘IN LINE TO BE BUSINESS SECRETARY’

Boris Johnson is in line to be appointed Business Secretary if the Tories win the election, says the Daily Telegraph. Friends say Johnson, who has confirmed he will stand for a seat, would be a natural for the department. “Being a cheerleader for Britain as part of the government and encouraging people to invest here is exactly the kind of thing he could do,” said one. However, chancellor George Osborne, who hoped to replace David Cameron as leader, may have mixed feelings over BoJo’s comeback.

HOUSING: HALIFAX PREDICTS PANIC SELLING

Is panic selling about to sweep the UK property market? According to a report from the Halifax, homeowners will try to cash in on record high house prices before the market begins to cool. Indeed, the stampede may already have begun as home sales during April to June were 21% higher than in the same three months last year. "The Halifax data adds to the current uncertainty over the true state of the housing market," said Howard Archer, chief economist at IHS Global Insight.

WOBBLING EU RECOVERY THREATENS UK

Britain's rallying economy is now growing at its slowest pace in a year as recovery in the eurozone threatens to run out of steam, says the Daily Mail. GDP in the UK rose by 0.6% between May and July, according to data from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. This was the weakest rate of growth since the same three months last year and came as official figures showed factory output rose by just 0.3% in June.

OFCOM: BRITS GLUED TO SMARTPHONES AND TABLETS

The average British adult spends more time glued to smartphones or tablets than they do sleeping, according to a report from the industry watchdog. Ofcom says that the average adult spends eight hours 41 minutes each day gazing at media devices. It also analysed the effect of smart technology on other industries, finding that 84% of adults still have a book collection, down from 93% in 2005, while CDs are collected by about 80% of adults, down from 92% in 2005.

QUOTE OF THE DAY… MURDOCH ‘RESOLUTE’ ON TIME WARNER

“This is our resolute decision. While we remain opportunistic and nimble, we are a strategically complete company and have a clear sense of where we are going.” Rupert Murdoch, in the aftermath of Fox’s withdrawal from the Time Warner bid.

ENERGY MARKET ABUSERS COULD FACE JAIL

Those who manipulate the gas and electricity markets could be sent to jail in the future under government plans. At present, energy regulators can investigate and fine people found breaching rules on energy market abuse but cannot jail them or leave them with a criminal record. The Guardian says the Department of Energy and Climate Change wants to widen those powers to safeguard consumers from unfair practices.

THE NUMBERS... AT 0730 BST


FTSE-100: down -0.69 to 6636.16
Dow Jones: up +0.08 to 16443.34
Dax: down -0.65 to 9130.04
Cac-40: down -0.61 to 4207.14
Nikkei: up +0.32 to 15208.70
Hang Seng: down -0.71 to 24409.70
US dollar: buys €0.74770 and £0.59390
Sterling: buys $1.68400 and €1.25920
Oil: $104.73 up +0.1