- The Times: British financial firms will be allowed privileged access to European Union markets in return for payments to Brussels under plans being considered by countries including Germany.
- The Daily Telegraph: The City watchdog has warned UK spreadbetting firms that they are putting amateur investors "at serious risk of harm" after finding examples of flouting rules, poor due diligence and conflicts of interest.
- Financial Times: The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, Norway’s $1.1 trillion oil fund, has recommended it be allowed to invest in private equity, in what would be a significant change in strategy.
- Financial Times: A fierce sell-off in the US bond market abated late on Wednesday but left yields on benchmark government debt at their highest level in nine months, with some high-profile debt investors declaring a new era for fixed income investments.
- Financial Times: Warren Buffett promoted two of his top lieutenants to vice-chairman roles at Berkshire Hathaway on Wednesday, apparently endorsing the market’s view that one of them would eventually succeed him at the top of the sprawling conglomerate.
- Financial Times: Foreign investors will be allowed to own 49% of Air India when it is privatised, opening the path for companies such as Singapore Airlines to take a stake in the country’s flag carrier.
Business and economics
- The Times: The business secretary appeared last night to have returned with nothing from a crunch meeting in Paris with the owners of the Vauxhall car factory in Ellesmere Port, amid rising fears that the plant could close.
- The Daily Telegraph: British industry is on its best winning streak in over two decades after production grew for an eighth consecutive month in November.
- The Times: Oil prices hit their highest price level in almost three years yesterday as Opec-led production cuts begin to take effect, global stockpiles fall and political tensions rise, overcoming concerns about America’s growing shale output.
- The Times: Paris and Frankfurt are showing no signs of attracting jobs from London, according to Steve Ingham, the boss of one of the world’s largest recruitment companies, Page Group.
- The Daily Telegraph: Tullow Oil is on track to return to profit after rising oil prices helped boost its cash flows and wipe over a $1 billion (£740 million) from its debtpile.
- The Times: J Sainsbury offered a mixed bag of results, forecasts and cautionary tales yesterday, raising its full-year profit forecast, reporting record Christmas food sales but warning that consumers were “deferring spending” on general merchandise.
- Daily Mail: Menswear group Moss Bros saw its share price drop by 22% earlier this morning, after dampening its profit forecast following disappointing Christmas sales.
- The Guardian: The Sun made a loss of £24 million last year as a tough print advertising market and mounting costs relating to phone hacking hit the UK’s biggest tabloid.
- Financial Times: Shares in Altice NV, the acquisitive global telecoms group that is fighting to shore up investor support, dropped more than 7% on Wednesday, as analysts focused on a revenue warning that overshadowed plans to break up the company.
- The Daily Telegraph: Shares in housebuilders have tumbled amid worries over the health of the new-build housing market - even as Taylor Wimpey reassured investors that trading remained strong last year.
- The Times: Deloitte is to convert part of its British practice into a law firm in a move that will increase competitive pressures in an already crowded legal services market.
- The Times: The government should have the power to levy council tax on building sites straight after a developer gets planning permission, a former Cabinet Office minister has suggested, claiming that it would help to speed up the supply of new homes.
- The Guardian: Carphone Warehouse has been fined £400,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office for a series of “systemic failures” uncovered following a data breach in 2015.
- The Times: Five of the world’s biggest oil companies, including BP and Royal Dutch Shell, are set to face legal action from New York City, which claims that they have contributed to global warming.
- The Times: A meeting of 200 lenders and advisers to Carillion broke up in Canary Wharf last night with no news on whether the embattled company will survive.
Share tips, comment and bids
- The Times (Tempus share tips): HOLD Tullow Oil; AVOID Interserve.
- The Daily Telegraph (Questor share tips): Big tobacco is uniquely protected from regulation and falling sales, so buy Imperial Brands.
- Financial Times: Brussels is set to approve Qualcomm’s $47 billion takeover of NXP next week, greenlighting the chip industry’s largest deal and strengthening the US company’s defence against a hostile takeover bid by rival Broadcom.
- Financial Times: Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox is finalising the purchase of about 10 US television stations from Sinclair Broadcast Group in a deal that will bolster the portfolio of channels operated by Fox, sources said.
- The Times: The Welsh government has offered to make a “substantial” equity or loan investment in the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon if it secures approval from Whitehall.
- The Times (Comment): Be careful what you wish for when rewriting the rules of global trade.