The Business: Thursday June 26 2014
Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday
The Royal Family costs the taxpayer 56p per person, says Sky News. The monarchy spent £36.1m of taxpayers' money last year, rising from £31m in 2012/13. Buckingham Palace claims that all of the extra money was spent on maintaining and repairing palaces and castles. The keeper of the privy purse said: "In our view we think that we do as good a job as possible in terms of trying maximise the value for money." The official accounts also showed the total cost of official travel fell by £300,000 to £4.2m.
US prosecutors have announced fraud charges against Barclays alleging the bank falsified documents and failed to protect investors from aggressive trading, reports the BBC. Prosecutors say Barclays misrepresented the kinds of investors that were using the dark pool, demonstrating “a disturbing disregard for its investors in a systematic pattern of fraud and deceit”. The lender says it is taking the allegations “very seriously”.
Banks should have the final say on mortgage lending – that was the message from Royal Bank of Scotland to Mark Carney yesterday. As the Bank of England prepares to introduce new rules aimed at cooling the housing market, RBS chief executive Ross McEwan said: “We should be thinking about [the safety of our bank] before any regulator asks.” House prices have risen 9.9% in the past year, and Carney will announce today new measures to clamp down on risky home loans.
The US economy took a worrying backwards step in the first quarter, reports The Times. The revised 2.9% year-on-year contraction was the sharpest decline in output since the low point of the financial crisis five years ago. An unusually severe winter caused the dip, which analysts are warning will leave Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen less scope to reduce the central bank’s support for the economy.
The owner of Wonderbra has been sold for £320m, says the Daily Telegraph. The US t-shirt company Hanes has bought DBApparel, which also owns lingerie brand Playtex and sportsbra brand Shock Absorber, from the private equity group Sun European Partners. The €400m deal, which is is subject to the approval of European and French work councils, values the business at around 7.5 times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation.
“Leave the gun, take the cannoli, as they say in the payday loan business — or was it The Godfather? What’s 5,853 per cent interest between friends? Pay up, pronto, or . . . Yours, as ever, Chainsaw, Tomato & Cannon.” Writing about Wonga, Alistair Osborne certainly doesn’t hold back with the gangsterial references.
FTSE-100: down -0.79 to 6733.62
Dow Jones: up +0.29 to 16867.51
Dax: down -0.71 to 9867.75
Cac-40: down -1.28 to 4460.60
Nikkei: up +0.28 to 15308.93
Hang Seng: up +0.90 to 23072.73
US dollar: buys €0.73310 and £0.58850
Sterling: buys $1.69940 and €1.24600
Oil: $114.10 down -0.3