The Business: Thursday June 19 2014
Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday
Minutes from the latest meeting of Bank of England policymakers suggest an interest rates rise will happen before the end of this year. The committee held a passionate discussion over the possibility of a 2014 rate hike and registered its “surprise” that markets appeared unprepared for such an event. However, Vince Cable has warned the Bank of England that raising interest rates prematurely could threaten the recovery by choking off business lending.
ExxonMobil, BP and other oil giants began evacuating staff from Iraq yesterday as Sunni militants battled for control of the north’s main oil facility and clashes continued to rage across the country. The Financial Times reports that Exxon has been withdrawing expatriate staff out of its West Qurna 1 field in the south of the country, while BP has taken non-essential employees out of the giant Rumaila field it runs nearby.
Two of Britain’s richest retailers have united in a joint venture in MySale, just days after it floated on the AIM. Mike Ashley has taken a £12m stake in the ‘flash sale’ website, teaming up with Sir Philip Green, TopShop’s billionaire owner. The stock market flotation of MySale this week was overshadowed after a pricing error meant shares closed down on their first day of trading at 187½p, after listing at 226p.
The era of skyscrapers in the City of London is coming to an end, says the man who granted planning permission for a series of towers. Peter Rees, who was the chief planner for the City of London Corporation for 29 years, tells the Financial Times: “The City probably won’t see a vast number of extra towers built. I would predict that the next decade of activity in the City will be the refurbishment of existing buildings.”
“The UK desperately needs a supply-side revolution; one of its central components ought to be the adoption of completely new, ultra-simple tax system, with as much of the present set-up as possible junked.” Allister Heath calls for a flat tax system.
Lidl will become Europe’s largest grocery retailer by 2018, predicts The Guardian. In a report prepared for consultancy firm Planet Retail, author David Gray says: “This is an unprecedented power shift in European retail fuelled by the near unstoppable growth of the discount format.” He says the “readjustment” in Lidl’s favour will be “permanent rather than a temporary blip”, outlasting the economic downturn.
FTSE-100: up +0.17 to 6778.56
Dow Jones: up +0.58 to 16906.62
Dax: up +0.10 to 9930.33
Cac-40: down -0.13 to 4530.37
Nikkei: up +1.37 to 15322.50
Hang Seng: up +0.08 to 23199.28
US dollar: buys €0.73460 and £0.58790
Sterling: buys $1.70080 and €1.24940
Oil: $114.29 up +0.7