VOLATILITY IN WALL STREET TAKES IT TOLL ON TOP BANKS
Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley each suffered at least 10 days of trading losses in the second quarter, underlining how turbulent markets have cast a pall on Wall Street since April. The banks’ trading results deteriorated sharply from the first three months of the year, before uncertainty about the US economy, European sovereign debt and the fate of new financial industry regulation sapped investors’ confidence.
DIRECTOR BONUSES SOAR AS PERFORMANCE EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS
Bonuses for the directors of the UK’s biggest companies rose sharply this year after a rebound in share prices and corporate earnings exceeded 2009 performance targets tailored for a bleaker economic environment. Bonuses for the highest FTSE 100 directors rose to an average of about 120 of base salary compared with 90 per cent in the last financial year.
GOVERNMENT CUTS LIKELY TO HIT HILL & SMITH
Hill & Smith expects cuts in the government’s road building budgets to hit demand, as the maker of motorway crash barriers reported steady results. However, chief executive Derek Muir said he was confident that plans aimed at exploiting hard shoulders on motorways to improve traffic flow would succeed.
SEP PORTFOLIO BEATS DOWNTURN
Scottish Equity Partners, the Glasgow-based venture capital group, reported strong revenue growth across its portfolio of technology companies in spite of the weak economic backdrop. Revenues for SEP portfolio companies rose 30 per cent in the year to June 30, while employment numbers rose by seven per cent. This follows sales growth of 23 per cent.
INSULTS FLY FROM CHAT ROOM TO COURTROOM
Two listed oil explorers are threatening to take legal action against users of stock market chat rooms, whom they accuse of spreading malicious falsehoods in an attempt to drag down share prices. Nighthawk and Nostra Terra say that they have identified alleged defamers or market abusers and may take them to court.
RULE CHANGES ARE A POTENTIAL NIGHTMARE, SAY PENSIONS BOSSES
Leading figures in the retirement industry have warned the government’s plans to dilute the pension rights of millions of private sector workers are a “potential nightmare”. In a letter to the Work and Pensions Secretary, they say that the proposed changes could lead to a retrospective cut for some pensioners, in contravention of the Human Rights Act.
The Daily Telegraph
PRECIOUS METALS ARE BEST ASSETS
Precious metals such as gold were the best performing asset class of the first half of the year, according to research by Lloyds TSB. They rose in value by an average of 9.7 per cent, with gold turning in the best performance thanks to a rise of 13.5 per cent, the bank’s survey of asset classes found.
GOVERNMENT BUYING PROCESSES ARE ALIEN TO CREATIVE FIRMS
Government has closed the door on cutting-edge design talent because of its “alien”and “wooden” procurement processes that exclude all but the largest agencies from contract tenders, according to an employers’ group. London First, the lobby group, said small businesses were struggling to win design business, including contracts associated with the Olympics, because of the complex and lengthy contract procedures.
WALL STREET JOURNAL
LONDON TO HOST NBA DOUBLE-HEADER
The National Basketball Association is set to stage its first regular-season games in Europe in an effort to globalize the sport, the league’s Commissioner, David Stern, said yesterday. The New Jersey Nets and Toronto Raptors will take part in back-to-back games at the O2 next March as the NBA fulfils a commitment to schedule games in the UK ahead of the 2012 Olympics.
GERMAN EXPORTS ON THE RISE
German exports surged in June, confirming a revival in Europe's largest economy after a severe recession and, until recently, a sluggish recovery. Germany posted strong growth last quarter but the extent of the rebound wasn't clear until the release of the latest trade data, which showed a 3.8 per cent rise in exports from May and a €14.1bn trade surplus.