DEBT MARKETS TAKE UNUSUAL TURN
The abnormal state of credit markets came into focus yesterday as the US Treasury sold bonds with negative interest rates for the first time and Goldman Sachs prepared to sell its first 50-year debt deal. Both sales highlighted the difficult choices facing investors at a time when interest rates are low and the Federal Reserve is moving towards another round of asset purchaes aimed at stimulating the economy and avoiding deflation.
ENGLISH BUBBLY HAS CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION
England’s vineyards are producing record harvests this year as sparkling wine is set to account for more than half of the country’s total production for the first time. In spite of a wet August, the biggest winemakers say their harvests of champagne-variety grapes are bigger than ever, and total production of British bubbly is increasing as more smaller producers are rushing to enter the industry.
COTTON’S MIDDLEMEN PINCHED BY HISTORICALLY HIGH PRICE
Cotton’s continued rise to historic highs is hurting the middlemen that buy the fibre from farmers and export it to textile mills. In the past two days cotton has gained 7.8 per cent to a record $1.2471 a pound on New York’s ICE Futures US exchange.
BERKSHIRE APPOINTMENT PAVES WAY FOR SUCCESSION
Berkshire Hathaway took a major step yesterday in its planning for the eventual departure of Warren Buffett, appointing a 39-year-old fund executive as a new investment manager. In its first public appointment related to the succession issue, Berkshire said Todd Combs, who has managed Castle Point Capital for the past five years, will start at Berkshire shortly.
RARE ART MARKET IS A PICTURE OF HEALTH
Shares and property prices may rise and fall but a Picasso will always be a Picasso — and in uncertain times this is proving a boon for auctioneers.
Two thirds of art surveyors report that more people have been going to auctions in the past three months, according to the Arts & Antiques Market Survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
SECRET MEMO PUTS LABOUR ON BACK FOOT OVER ECONOMY
Labour has admitted that its economic policy lacks substance and detail, according to a strategy paper seen by The Times. The memo, written before Osborne’s spending review, shows that Ed Miliband was warned that the coalition’s cuts to public spending may not be much deeper than those proposed by Alistair Darling.
The Daily Telegraph
BT TO DOUBLE APPRENTICESHIPS TO HELP WITH BROADBAND ROLLOUT
BT is to double the number of apprenticeships it hires this autumn to help train young people to deliver fibre optic broadband, is has been announced. The telecoms giant was swamped with a total of 24,000 candidates applying for just 221 places on its apprenticeship scheme this year, compared with 9,000 applications in 2009.
GERMAN BOOM CREATES ECB POLICY NIGHTMARE AS SOUTH LAGS
Blistering growth in Germany is aggravating the growing gap between the eurozone’s North and South and may force the European Central Bank to tighten monetary policy long before the high-debt states are ready, Standard & Poor’s has warned. S&P said Germany was able to lever recovery off the emerging market boom.
WALL STREET JOURNAL
SPANISH BANKS MANOEUVRE TO SHORE UP RESULTS
Spain’s banks are selling valuable branches and seeking government help to find renters for foreclosed homes as they try to prop up their bottom lines amid continuing trauma in their deteriorating loan portfolios and other problems. With profit margins tumbling, Spanish banks of all sizes are taking such steps as they feel a squeeze from high funding costs and other ills.
LUXOTTICA SOARS ON US GROWTH
Luxottica said yesterday its net profit in the third quarter rose 35 per cent on remarkably strong sales of luxury eyewear in Europe and a double-digit jump in US revenue from its Sunglass Hut chain. Net profit at the world's largest eyewear maker was €101.9m (£90.4m), up from €75.8m in the third quarter of 2009.