The Business: Tuesday July 1 2014
Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday
Commodities, stocks and bond prices rose in unison between January and June for the first time in 20 years, sparking fresh fears over economic instability. The Times reports that in a “rare” and “puzzling” development, stock markets and commodities such as oil, wheat and gold all enjoyed strong runs in the first half of this year. As bonds and stocks tend to move in opposite directions, there is now concern that we could be heading for a new market crash.
Goldman Sachs has issued a bold upgrade to its economic growth forecast for the UK, reports the Daily Telegraph. It now predicts that GDP will grow by 3.4% this year, up from a previous forecast of 3%. The US bank also raised its estimate for 2015 to 3% from 2.7%. Announcing the projections, the bank said it expects "support from the ongoing recuperation of the banking system" but warned that growth could be harmed by currency strength.
EU roaming fees for smartphone users travelling in the EU have been cut by half as new rules come into force, reports the BBC. Starting in 2007, European politicians have ushered in changes over recent years to cut the fees in stages, aiming to eliminate them entirely within months. “This huge drop in data roaming prices will make a big difference to all of us this summer,” said Neelie Kroes, the EU telecoms commissioner.
In a fresh blow to the beleaguered Marks & Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland, the man in charge of the retailer’s push for international expansion is leaving the company. Bolland hopes to open hundreds of stores in western Europe, India and the Middle East but the departure of Jan Heere is a setback in this plan. Laura Wade-Gery, who replaces Heere, is now being spoken of as a future chief executive. She would be the first female to take the top role.
Mortgage approvals fell to an 11-month low in May as the housing market came off the boil, says The Independent. The Bank of England has revealed that there were 61,707 mortgage approvals in May, an 18.7% decline from the January peak and the lowest monthly figure since June 2013. This was also the fourth consecutive month that mortgage approvals have fallen, and came before the Bank announced new curbs last week.
FTSE-100: down -0.20 to 6743.94
Dow Jones: down -0.15 to 16826.60
Dax: up +0.18 to 9833.07
Cac-40: down -0.32 to 4422.84
Nikkei: up +1.13 to 15333.09
Hang Seng: down -0.13 to 23190.72
US dollar: buys €0.73080 and £0.58480
Sterling: buys $1.70280 and €1.24810
Oil: $112.31 down -0.9