WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY THIS MORNING

FINANCIAL TIMES

EXXON SIGNS KURD EXPLORATION CONTRACTS
ExxonMobil has become the first of the “supermajor” oil companies to venture into Kurdistan, in a controversial move that will be seen as a huge vote of confidence in the semi-autonomous region of Iraq but could spark a backlash in Baghdad. Exxon, the largest international oil company, signed contracts with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) last month.

METRO BANK HAS ISSUED JUST 100 MORTGAGES
Metro Bank, which launched last year amid talk of a decades-overdue shake-up of British high street banking, has provided just 100 mortgage loans in the past 15 months, the Financial Times has learnt. The number throws into stark relief the challenge new banks face in building a sustainable business model that can rival the biggest lenders.

A350 DELAY TAKES GLOSS OFF EADS EARNINGS
EADS is delaying the introduction of its Airbus A350 passenger jet by six months to 2014, removing some of the gloss from a successful year for the aircraft maker in terms of commercial aircraft orders. The Franco-German aerospace group said some suppliers were late with key components. EADS said it would take a €200m charge because of the hold-up. The aircraft is now a year behind schedule.

ZYNGA RETHINKS SILICON VALLEY PAY STRUCTURES
Zynga, the US online games company, has challenged one of the underpinnings of the traditional Silicon Valley approach to pay, which has brought lottery-like winnings to some early employees of start-ups regardless of their personal performance.

THE TIMES

ARM FOUNDER TO QUIT
Tudor Brown, the co-founder and president of Arm Holdings, is to step down from the semiconductor company after 21 years. He originally worked at Acorn where he was on the design team that founded ARM. He has previously been the chief technology officer and chief operating officer.

MARKET SLIDE HITS PROFIT AT CHARLES STANLEY
A £770m inflow of new business from private clients helped to offset a grisly half-year for the investment banking arm at Charles Stanley. Profits at the stockbroking and investment management group dived 29 per cent to £5.2 million in the six months to September with revenues inching one per cent higher to £60.2 million. However, the group felt confident enough to lift the interim dividend.

The Daily Telegraph

DEBT CRISIS: 'AXE THE 50P TAX RATE NOW TO SAVE THE ECONOMY'
George Osborne should “accelerate” plans to scrap the 50p higher rate of income tax and increase personal tax allowances to help the economy during the euro crisis, business leaders will warn the Chancellor. In a letter to the Chancellor, more than 30 of the City’s top figures agree that the “current turmoil in southern Europe” means that the Government must take “immediate actions” to boost confidence.

LORD TURNER SAYS BANK LENDING CUTS ‘CAN'T BE STOPPED’
Lord Turner, chairman of the Financial Services Authority, on Thursday admitted there was nothing UK regulators could do to stop banks cutting back lending in order to help meet the new global capital requirements being imposed on them.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

E*TRADE PULLS ITSELF OFF AUCTION BLOCK
E*Trade Financial Corp., following the recommendation of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., said it isn’t for sale and will continue to execute its business plan. Investors were disappointed by the news, sending shares of the online brokerage down as much as 5.3pc, on heavy volume, in after-hours trading. In 4 p.m. Nasdaq Stock Market trading, before the news was announced, E*Trade shares were down 34 cents.

SEC PROBES EXECUTIVE PERKS, JETS
Nabors Industries Ltd., the oil-drilling contractor whose chairman is set to receive $100 million for relinquishing his chief-executive title, said Wednesday that the Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an investigation into perks received by its executives, including personal flights on company jets.