The Business: Wednesday May 14 2014
Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday
The FTSE surged to a 14-year high yesterday and came within a whisker of setting a new record in response to a hat-trick of good news. Encouraging economic developments, strong corporate results and a lessening of concern over Ukraine helped to push the index to 6,873.08. The Pfizer bid for AstraZeneca has led investors to believe more takeover offers are pending. Their mood is further boosted by increased confidence in the future of the eurozone.
The Bank of England will signal today that interest rates are likely to rise before next year's general election, predicts the Daily Telegraph. Mark Carney will support market expectations of a rate rise in the first quarter of 2015, as the UK remains on course to be the fastest growing major economy this year. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said yesterday that Britain is settling into a period of "above-trend" growth.
The popularity of the Heston Blumenthal spectacles range has helped boost sales at Vision Express. The Daily Telegraph says that the range of glasses, based on his signature style with a thick, black frame, powered a 6% increase in sales last year and an 11% rise in operating profits last year. Speaking of the 2013 results, Jonathan Lawson, chief executive, said: “I am also pleased to see that momentum has increased this year.”
Yahoo has bought the mobile app Blink, which allows users to share messages that self-destruct. The internet giant made the acquisition primarily to absorb the talent behind it. In the coming weeks the app is expected to be shut down, allowing Blink's seven-person team to work on Yahoo's "smart communication" products. This is the 40th start-up that Yahoo has bought since boss Marissa Mayer took the reins two years ago.
The boss of Pfizer will be back in front of MPs today to face further questions from the Commons Science Committee. Ian Read, chief executive of the US drugs giant, told MPs yesterday that his company is not a ruthless cost-cutter, and claimed the drugmaker acted with "integrity". However, he admitted that a merger would mean a reduction in the combined companies' spending on research and development.
FTSE-100: up +0.31 to 6873
Dow Jones: up +0.12 to 16715.44
Dax: up +0.54 to 9754.43
Cac-40: up +0.25 to 4505.02
Nikkei: down -0.29 to 14383.55
Hang Seng: up +0.99 to 22573.85
US dollar: buys €0.72890 and £0.59300
Sterling: buys $1.68610 and €1.22910
Oil: $109.33 up +0.9