The Business: Wednesday February 26 2014
Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday
Tesco has opened a front against rivals Asda by announcing a multimillion-pound investment in price cuts, reports The Times. In a broad-ranging update to the City aimed at reassuring investors, Britain’s biggest supermarket also conceded that it has scrapped a key profit target set in the aftermath of its profit warning two years ago. With the rise of discount chains in its sights, Tesco said it will pull the trigger on a £200m investment in lowering prices.
A slump in mining shares dragged the FTSE 100 away from a predicted all-time high, reports the BBC. The London market had been tipped to climb towards its record close of 6,930, but actually finished down 35.36 points at 6830.5. Miners fell on concerns about the strength of China's economy, with Fresnillo the biggest faller, down 3%. Meanwhile, the pound rose 0.26% against the dollar to $1.6698 and was up 0.13% against the euro at 1.2143 euros.
The man behind the Twitter account ‘@GSElevator’, which purports to be based on remarks overheard in lifts at Goldman Sachs, has been unmasked. The New York Times reports that John Lefevre lives in Texas and has never worked for the Wall Street lender. The 34-year-old told the newspaper he started it as a "joke to entertain myself". An example of the tweets reads: "Suit #1: 'Was that an earthquake?' Suit #2: 'No, I just dropped my wallet.'"
Ladbrokes has warned of a fall in first-half profits as wet weather helped punters win at the bookies, reports The Guardian. The rainy weather favoured favourites in horse racing. With big teams performing well in the Premier League and FA Cup, winnings further swelled. Meanwhile, under-fire boss Richard Glynn insists he retains the backing of major investors. He said he is “fully confident” he will stay in the job.
“Some people think this is a political iceberg heading in our direction.” Conservative MP David Ruffley, of the Commons treasury committee, fears that the Tories will be punished at the polls over interest rates.
The planned £4bn merger between Dixons and Carphone Warehouse could face an investigation from Britain’s competition authorities, says the Daily Telegraph. Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Freddie George predicts that the proposed merger will be referred to the Competition Commission “in view of the convergence of the technologies and the service dominance of the two businesses even though there is limited overlap in the categories”.
FTSE-100: down -0.52 to 6830.50
Dow Jones: down -0.17 to 16179.66
Dax: down -0.10 to 9699.35
Cac-40: down -0.10 to 4414.55
Nikkei: down -0.54 to 14970.97
Hang Seng: up +0.65 to 22461.55
US dollar: buys €0.72760 and £0.59960
Sterling: buys $1.66800 and €1.21380
Oil: $109.58 down -1.0