US share dividends hit record
US share buybacks and dividend payments climbed to a record level in the first quarter of 2014, as companies chose to boost shareholder returns in the absence of robust revenue growth. Members of the S&P 500 index – led by Apple, IBM, ExxonMobil and FedEx – spent $241bn to repurchase shares and pay cash dividends in the three months to 31 March, surpassing the prior record of $233bn set in the third quarter of 2007, according to S&P Dow Jones Indice.
UK rate rise to hit Scottish recovery
Scotland’s economic recovery would be put at risk if the Bank of England raised interest rates to cool London property prices, according to a report by the University of Strathclyde. Pro-union politicians have expressed concern that uncertainty created by the independence referendum could hurt the Scottish economy even before the outcome is known.
Banks could need to hold more capital
New accounting rules on the way EU banks book losses could mean they need to put aside more capital, adding to the pressure they already face from regulators. Over half of the banks surveyed by Deloitte on the new IFRS 9 expected loss accounting rules, which are to be issued shortly by the London-based International Accounting Standards Board, believed that the rules would increase loan loss provision by up to 50 per cent.
Shops in first rent rise for six years
Rents for the best shops in Britain have risen for the first time since 2008 in the latest sign that the retail sector is in starting to recover.
Missing aluminium puts China on alert
China’s best-known commodities trading company admitted yesterday that it was missing 123,000 tonnes of aluminium products in a fraud debacle that threatens to pummel confidence in the country’s vast non-bank lending market. Citic Resources is among an increasing number of banks and trading houses that have spent the past fortnight scrambling to establish whether the metals they think they own actually exist.
The Daily Telegraph
£2 coin could be banned by retailers
Co-Operative stores are to examine their self-service checkout systems after Morrisons banned the use of £2 coins to prevent the growing number of people paying with similar shaped foreign change.
BBC and ITV fight Arqiva on Freeview
The BBC and ITV are at loggerheads with Arqiva, the company that runs Britain’s terrestrial TV masts, over plans for an internet-connected television standard meant as the successor to Freeview. It is understood the dispute is over the technology that the ‘Freeview Connect’ project will be based on.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Maersk surprised by China’s blocking
China’s decision to scupper a broad alliance between the world’s three largest container-shipping companies caught the executives by surprise and left them yesterday rethinking their business plans. Following China’s decision, Denmark’s AP Moller-Maersk A/S, France’s CMA CGM SA and Switzerland-based Mediterranean Shipping said they had ceased preparatory work on the alliance, called the P3 Network, which had expected to start operating later this year. The proposed tie-up had promised to lower costs for the shipping giants involved and drive consolidation in a sector hampered by overcapacity and low rates.