The Business: Wednesday April 2 2014
Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday
Average house prices have risen by nearly 10% in the last year, says Nationwide. Year-on-year prices were up 9.5% in March, the biggest annual jump since mid-2010, says the building society. London house prices rose by 18% between the first quarters of 2013 and 2014, and prices in the capital city are now 20% above their 2007 peak, it added. Despite this, there are "tentative signs of moderation", in the market, said Nationwide's chief economist, Robert Gardner.
George Osborne is “profoundly concerned” by the damage that the Financial Conduct Authority’s selective briefing has caused Britain. The Times says the chancellor has written to the FCA chairman, saying: “I expect you and the FCA board to do everything possible to make good that damage.” The regulator has been accused of causing market chaos after telling a journalist last week that it plans to probe life funds.
Britain’s private schools contribute £11.7bn to the economy each year, making them more significant to the GDP than Liverpool’s economy or the BBC, says the Financial Times. Analysis from the Independent Schools Council estimates that Britain’s 2,600 private schools support 275,700 jobs, contribute £4.7bn in tax revenues and £.13bn in added value due to the high academic achievement of its pupils.
Banks will soon allow customers to pay their bills via mobile numbers, says the Payments Council. Customers can register for the new Paym service, which launches on 29 April, from tomorrow morning. The Payments Council says the system will be entirely secure. Under Paym, which is pronounced "pay 'em", anyone wanting to make a payment no longer has to ask for a bank account number and sort code.
Asian stocks followed gains on Wall Street to join a global rally, says the Financial Times. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 jumped 1.3%, while the Hang Seng extended its winning streak to four days, moving up 0.3%. The Shanghai Composite and Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 crept up 0.4% and 0.3% respectively. The gains followed a fine day on Wall Street in which stocks notched record highs to begin the first quarter. A major catalyst was a US report showing manufacturing continues to expand.
“Financial markets should be prepared for the possibility of sharp adjustments in interest rates, exchange rates, valuations of financial instruments, market volatility and liquidity.” Although the outlook is bright, we should prepare for the worst, says Mark Carney.
FTSE-100: up +0.82 to 6652.61
Dow Jones: up +0.46 to 16532.61
Dax: up +0.50 to 9603.71
Cac-40: up +0.80 to 4426.72
Nikkei: up +1.09 to 14953.29
Hang Seng: up +0.22 to 22496.81
US dollar: buys €0.72420 and £0.60120
Sterling: buys $1.66300 and €1.20450
Oil: $105.29 down -2.3