The Business: Thursday July 31 2014

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

LLOYDS TAKES NEW £600M PPI HIT

Lloyds Banking Group says it has set aside another £600m provision for mis-selling of payment protection insurance. The announcement comes as the lender posts its half-year results, which showed an underlying profit rise of 32% to £3.8bn, and just days after it was fined £218m by regulators. Bank of England governor Mark Carney blasted Lloyds for “unlawful” behaviour after it emerged its traders had manipulated interest rates.

BRITISH GAS POSTS PROFITS SLUMP

British Gas has posted a considerable drop in profits for the first half of the year due to warmer weather. Owner Centrica said residential supply fell by a quarter to £265m, with operating profit at the parent company down 35% at £1.03bn. The news comes in the wake of industry regulator Ofgem’s claim that the big six energy firms are set to double profit margins over the next year. The industry accused Ofgem of using inaccurate figures.

MURDOCH ‘UNLIKELY’ TO SEEK BSKYB CONTROL

Rupert Murdoch is “very unlikely” to seek full control of BSkyB, say analysts. The media mogul is working on an $80bn takeover of Time Warner. Regulation experts say that if Murdoch’s audacious bid is successful it would make full control of BSkyB, or ‘Sky Europe’, almost impossible on competition grounds. “It would be extremely difficult,” a senior lawyer tells The Telegraph. “The market power calculations would look very different to last time.”

US ECONOMY BOUNCES BACK WITH 4% RISE

The US economy has bounced back robustly with 4% GDP growth in the second quarter, the Commerce Department announced yesterday. The figure beat expectations of growth of just 3%. However, the US economic recovery remains the weakest since world war two. GDP has grown by just 1% in the first six months of the year. A rally in late 2013 was wiped out by one of the harshest winters on record.

QUOTE OF THE DAY… END OF DAYS FOR MOTOR INSURANCE?

“Driverless cars will ultimately mean the elimination of conventional motor insurance.” Insurance boss Andy Haynes says self-driving cars are an existential issue for the insurance industry. 

GLAZERS SET FOR NEW MUFC PAYDAY

The American owners of Manchester United's are set to trouser about $150m (£88.7m) by selling more of their shares in the club on the New York Stock Exchange. A club spokesman told the BBC the Glazer family is selling eight million shares, or about 5% of the business. The Glazers bought United for £790 million ($1.34bn) in 2005. Even after the new sale, the family will remain in control of 80% of the club’s shareholding.

THE NUMBERS... AT 0755 BST


FTSE-100: down -0.50 to 6773.44
Dow Jones: down -0.19 to 16880.36
Dax: down -0.62 to 9593.68
Cac-40: down -1.22 to 4312.30
Nikkei: down -0.00 to 15646.12
Hang Seng: up +0.73 to 24732.94
US dollar: buys €0.74680 and £0.59140
Sterling: buys $1.69090 and €1.26280
Oil: $106.09 down -1.5