The Business: Wednesday May 7 2014
Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday
Voters are turning against big-business culture, says a survey in the Financial Times. Almost two-thirds of voters, including half of the Conservative’s supporters, want the next government to be stricter with big business, as concern spreads over high executive pay and ethics. The Populus opinion poll for the FT also saw almost half of all voters agreeing with the statement that the conduct of big business was a bigger threat than action by unions, with 13% disagreeing.
The Bank of England must burst the housing bubble, says the OECD. Buyers should be forced to find bigger deposits, argues the think tank, to slow the booming market which could put the economic recovery at risk. It also says that George Osborne’s help to buy scheme should be cut back. The OECD’s intervention comes after leading figures at the Bank pinpointed the housing market as the biggest threat to Britain’s financial stability.
Carphone Warehouse and Dixons Retail are set to unveil a £3.7bn merger that will create one of Britain's biggest high street groups. Sky News claims the two companies will outline firm details of their tie-up before a Takeover Panel deadline on May 19. The final name of the new group has not been formally agreed by the two companies’ boards, say sources, but it is predicted to be Dixons Carphone Group plc.
Chinese internet company Alibaba is set to float in what is tipped to be one of the largest technology debuts in American stock market history. The ecommerce and payments giant covers almost 80% of all online business in China, the world’s second largest economy. In a filing after Wall Street closed last night, Alibaba said it wants to raise $1bn. However, that figure is expected to rise dramatically once it has gauged interest from investors.
“I have a great concern that they will act like a praying mantis and suck the lifeblood out of their prey.” Sir David Barnes, former chief executive of AstraZeneca, shares his fears over Pfizer’s plans.
The UK’s economic recovery is rolling on with the news that the services sector expanded at its fastest pace so far this year in April. The Daily Telegraph reports that companies hired more staff to cope with a sharp rise in new work. The Markit/CIPS services purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose to 58.7 in April from 57.6 in March. The news has led analysts to predict that the recovery will continue and could accelerate in the second quarter.
FTSE-100: down -0.35 to 6978.56
Dow Jones: down -0.78 to 16401.02
Dax: down -0.65 to 9467.53
Cac-40: down -0.78 to 4428.07
Nikkei: down -2.57 to 14086.07
Hang Seng: down -1.18 to 21717.30
US dollar: buys €0.71850 and £0.58880
Sterling: buys $1.69820 and €1.22040
Oil: $107.04 down -1.4