INVESTORS SCEPTICAL OF UNILEVER GROWTH PLAN
For a company whose products clutter the shelves of virtually every home in the UK – not to mention plenty in Brazil, Indonesia and China – Unilever’s shares are not in demand.
The maker of Dove soap, Persil detergent and PG Tips tea managed to confound analyst expectations this month by expanding rather than contracting operating margins in the third quarter – but that appears to have made little difference.
LOW YIELDS LURE BLUE CHIPS TO US CORPORATE BOND MARKET
Companies from UPS to Time Warner Cable have rushed to lock in the low interest rates still available in the US bond markets, using the money to plug pension fund gaps, buy back shares or build up rainy-day cash piles. The amount of money borrowed in the corporate bond markets so far this month has been greater than during any previous November, according to data provider Dealogic. Blue-chip companies with investment grade ratings sold more than $41bn of new bonds in the past two weeks, Dealogic said.
CLUB ASPIRES TO GIVE WOMEN 30 PER CENT VOTE
The gentlemen’s club is usually cited as the epitome of dyed-in-the-wool conservative values. But the chairmen of The 30 per cent Club aim to shake up male-dominated boardrooms rather than entrench them. The initiative sets out “an aspiration” that at least 30 per cent of each UK company board should be women by 2015. Seven UK-based chairmen are founder members of the club. Its launch comes as Lord Davies of Abersoch, former trade minister and ex-chairman of Standard Chartered, the bank, completes his government consultation on the topic.
UNION FEARS JOB CUTS AS E.ON DISCUSSES SALE OF CENTRAL NETWORKS
Up to 1,000 jobs could be at risk if E.ON presses ahead with the £3.5 billion sale of its Central Networks electricity distribution business, Britain’s largest union warned yesterday.
The claim from Unite came one week after E.ON, the German company that is the world’s largest utility by revenues, confirmed that it was considering a range of “strategic options” for the unit.
BERNANKE QE2 PLAN SHOULD BE RECONSIDERED AND DISCONTINUED
A group of 23 economists and finance executives plan to run an open letter in full-page advertisements in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times this week, calling for Ben Bernanke to rethink his plan to buy huge amounts of Treasury bonds.
The Daily Telegraph
PENSIONS DECIMATED BY LOW INTEREST RATES, WARNS SAGA
Record low interest rates and rising inflation are damaging pensions and will push more pensioners into poverty, a leading expert has warned. Speaking at the Bank of England today, Ros Altmann, director-general of the Saga Group, warned that historically low interest rates could lead to another financial crash that would leave pension pots “decimated”.
SURPRISE RISE IN JAPAN'S GDP WILL NOT LAST LONG
Japan announced higher than expected economic growth, but economists warned that the nascent recovery would be short lived. GDP grew 0.9 per cent in the third quarter, up from 0.4 per cet in the second quarter. Consensus forecasts had been for a 0.6 per cent rise. But many economists expect growth to stall.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
BERKSHIRE DISCLOSES STAKE IN BANK OF NEW YORK
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway took a $52m stake in Bank of New York Mellon in the third quarter, while reducing or eliminating positions in other stocks, a regulatory filing showed. Berkshire appeared to have sold all shares it held of Home Depot, CarMax, Iron Mountain, NRG Energy, and Republic Services.
EUROZONE SWINGS TO TRADE SURPLUS
The Eurozone’s balance in trade in goods with the rest of the world swung into surplus in September data from the European Union's statistics agency showed Monday. The 16 countries that use the euro had a combined surplus in their trade in goods of €2.9bn ($3.97 billion), compared with a deficit of €5bn in August and a €1.4bn surplus last year.