What the other papers say this morning

FINANCIAL TIMES

PATTEN TOPS LIST TO CHAIR BBC TRUST
Six people are on the shortlist to be the next chairman of the BBC Trust, according to two insiders who have seen the document. Lord Patten, former Conservative party chairman and the last governor of Hong Kong, is clear favourite. But Sir Howard Davies, director of the London School of Economics, might be preferred if the BBC were to be subject to more stringent reforms, the pair said.

ONION CRISIS ADDS TO INDIAN PM’S WOES
Manmohan Singh, India’s Prime Minister, already under fire over a multibillion-dollar telecoms corruption scandal, suddenly has a more down-to-earth problem on his plate – the skyrocketing price of onions. Their price at India’s retail vegetable markets has doubled from Rs35 ($0.78) per kg to Rs80 in the past few days, angering consumers already feeling the pinch from a year of food price inflation and rising fuel prices.

WALL STREET POISED FOR EARNINGS HIT
Wall Street’s fourth-quarter results are set to be dogged by sluggish trading activity as Europe’s economic woes and rising competition deprived banks such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley of a key source of profits, executives and analysts said. Lacklustre earnings in fixed income trading in the past two quarters of 2010 after a robust first half will put pressure on banks to pay smaller bonuses to traders. Last year, as the financial crisis receded, star traders in the bond, foreign exchange and commodities markets received large pay-outs on the back of surging profits. Several analysts have already cut their fourth quarter profit forecasts.

THE TIMES

LET RIVALS JOIN THE WHITEHALL CLUB, FOX WARNS DEFENCE ELITE
Liam Fox has demanded that Britain’s most powerful grouping of defence companies become more representative and less “clubby” or risk being frozen out of government circles.
The defence secretary is understood to be concerned that while the Defence Industries Council has access to the highest levels of his ministry, it represents only nine of the 9,000 companies in the sector.

TYCOON SET TO TEST APPETITE FOR REDBACK
Hong Kong’s wealthiest tycoon is poised to test the city’s appetite for renminbi-denominated shares with a 10bn renminbi (£977m) of stock in a REIT as the former British colony seeks to make itself the global launch pad for the Chinese “redback”.

The Daily Telegraph

UK ECONOMY COULD CONTRACT IN 2011, WARNS BANK OF ENGLAND'S PAUL FISHER
A senior Bank of England official has warned that the economy may suffer another period of contraction in 2011, more than a year after the recession officially ended. Paul Fisher, executive director of markets and a member of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), warned: “It’s not impossible that we would see a quarter of negative growth.”

RECORD £10BN DROP IN UK EXPORTS BLAMED ON BANKER BASHING
Official figures show the biggest ever drop in UK exports of financial services – down by £10bn or one fifth in a year – according to a leading economist who blames banker bashing critics in government and the media. Tim Congdon has based his analysis on Central Statistical Office figures.

WALL STREET JOURNAL

WALGREEN PROFIT RISES 19 PER CENT
Walgreen’s earnings rose 19 per cent as the drugstore operator benefited from cost controls and its slowing of new-store openings. The US’s largest drugstore chain has seen its monthly results mostly buck the sector’s general weakness, with pharmacy operations that far outpaced its rivals.

AIG NEARS CHOICE OF BUYER FOR TAIWAN LIFE INSURER
Directors of American International Group are expected to confer todayto try to agree on a preferred bidder for its Taiwan business, according to people familiar with the situation. That choice likely will be announced next week, the people said. AIG has been struggling to raise more than $2bn by selling Nan Shan Life Insurance. The company has been winnowing the list of suitors based on who is likely to win approval from a local regulator