The Business: Thursday May 8 2014
Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday
Three former chancellors of the exchequer have urged George Osborne to rethink his Help to Buy programme, reports the Financial Times. As the OECD also calls on the government to scale back the mortgage support scheme, Lord Lawson, Lord Lamont and Alistair Darling said the second phase of the present chancellor’s scheme, which guarantees very high loan-to-value mortgages, risks inflating a future housing bubble.
Barclays will cut up to 14,000 jobs this year as part of a new strategy, the lender has announced. The figure is higher than the 10,000 to 12,000 jobs the bank announced earlier this year that it planned to cut. The news was revealed following a review which aimed to reduce risk in its investment operation and cut excessive costs. The lender will also set up a "bad bank" which will eventually sell or run down non-core operations.
The ban on Indian mango imports will cost UK firms millions of pounds, David Cameron has been warned. The potential damage to businesses was raised in Parliament by Labour MP Keith Vaz, who is campaigning for the Brussels-imposed bar to be lifted. Vaz says that “hundreds of businesses in Leicester and throughout the UK will suffer millions of pounds of losses.” Cameron said: "This is a very serious issue.”
Bank of England policymakers are expected to leave their monetary stance unchanged today despite the growing pressure to consider rate rises earlier than the expected spring 2015 milestone. Rosy economic data and a heating housing market have boosted the cause of those who think the cost of borrowing should rise sooner rather than later. However, the pressure is not expected to sway the hands of the monetary policy committee, which is tipped to keep the bank rate at 0.5%.
“Price skirmishes are an ever-present part of this industry. I don't want to play the old-man card but I've been around for 30 years and seen plenty of this type of activity in years gone by.” Outgoing Sainsbury’s boss Justin King brushes aside the supermarket price war.
UK car sales have reached the level seen in the 1980s, reports The Guardian. New car registrations rose 8.2% in April, to 176,820 vehicles. This marked the 26th month of rising sales and matched the previous longest period of expansion, in the late 1980s. These figures, together with a positive outlook for the UK economy, have prompted the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders to revise its forecasts for new car sales in 2014 from 2.3m to more than 2.4m.
FTSE-100: down -0.03 to 6796.44
Dow Jones: up +0.72 to 16518.54
Dax: up +0.57 to 9521.30
Cac-40: up +0.41 to 4446.44
Nikkei: up +0.87 to 14086.07
Hang Seng: up +0.33 to 21817.47
US dollar: buys €0.71860 and £0.58960
Sterling: buys $1.69620 and €1.21890
Oil: $108.11 up +1.0