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Friday Papers: Weak pound fails to boost trade

Friday Papers: Weak pound fails to boost trade

Top stories

  • The Times: Hopes that the cheap pound will spur a long-awaited rebalancing of Britain’s economy towards exports and manufacturing have suffered a disappointing setback; the Office for National Statistics said the trade deficit had widened between May and June to £4.6 billion, the worst performance in nine months.
  • Financial Times: Prudential is to merge its two big UK businesses in a move seen as paving the way for a dramatic break-up of the £47 billion insurer as it shifts its focus to fast-growing Asian markets.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Lego has removed its British chief executive after just eight months in the top job, saying it has found a younger replacement earlier than expected.
  • Financial Times: Co-operative Bank has ruled out the possibility of a sale in the near-future as losses continue to shrink, but reported an exodus of current account customers in the first half amid concerns for its future.
  • Financial Times: Noble Group, the commodity trader that is fighting for survival, recently turned down a takeover approach from Centricus, a London-based fund that has close links to Japan’s SoftBank and wealthy investors in the Middle East.

Business and economics

  • The Guardian: Losses at Snapchat’s parent company have nearly quadrupled in the last three months, the company announced, sending the social media company’s shares to a new low in afterhours trading.
  • The Daily Telegraph: News Corp reported fourth-quarter revenue that missed estimates as the owner of The Times was hurt by declining demand for print advertising.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Challenger bank Aldermore saw its profits shoot up in the first half as demand for fresh funding increased among Britain's homeowners, landlords and small businesses.
  • The Guardian: Travis Kalanick is being sued by one of Uber’s largest investors, Benchmark Capital, which accuses the former chief executive of engaging in fraud in order to “increase his power over Uber for his own selfish ends”.
  • Financial Times: Glencore, the miner and commodity trader, flagged its exposure to the raw materials that power electric vehicles as it reported a sharp rise in first-half earnings and said it would examine potential acquisitions.
  • The Times: Big film releases including Beauty and the Beast, Guardians Of The Galaxy and The Fate of the Furious have helped Cineworld to lift profits by more than 58% in the first half of the year to £48.2 million.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Sofa giant DFS has said uncertainty around the general election caused a 4% drop in sales in the second half of its financial year.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Tour operator Tui has for the first time in its history been profitable in the first nine months of a financial year as it prepares to rebrand in the UK.
  • The Times: Dong Energy hopes to secure subsidies within weeks to build what could be the world’s biggest offshore wind farm off the coast of Yorkshire.
  • The Times: Amec Foster Wheeler has returned to profit even though revenues slid by 24% in the first half of the year.
  • Daily Mail: Foreign investors have given a massive vote of confidence to the British economy by snapping up £7 billion of business premises, estate agent Savills has said.
  • The Guardian: EU finance ministers will discuss how to force home-sharing platforms such as Airbnb to pay their fair share of taxes and in the right tax domains next month after the French minister for the economy described the current situation as “unacceptable”.
  • Financial Times: Chinese property tycoon Wang Jianlin has embarked on a big asset reshuffling within his empire to reduce the leverage of Dalian Wanda’s listed arm as regulators increase the pressure on acquisitive dealmakers to cut debt.
  • The Daily Telegraph: A bid by activist investor Elliott Advisors to oust the chairman of Dulux owner Akzo Nobel has been rejected by a Dutch court.
  • Financial Times: DJI, the world’s biggest drone maker, is beefing up its management with the newly minted role of president as it moves into commercial applications for its unmanned aerial vehicles.
  • Financial Times: David Williams, chief executive of Avanti Communications has stepped down from his role at the satellite company whose shares have fallen to an all-time low in the past year.

Share tips, comment and bids

  • The Daily Telegraph (Questor share tips): BUY Harbourvest Global Private Equity.
  • The Times (Tempus share tips): BUY Tui Group; AVOID Go-Ahead Group; HOLD Cocal-Cola HBC.
  • Financial Times: SoftBank’s new $93 billion Vision Fund is putting $2.5 billion into online retailer Flipkart, in the biggest private investment to date in India’s technology sector.
  • The Daily Telegraph: Rail company Go-Ahead, the operator of the beleaguered Southern network, has lost its bid for the West Midlands rail franchise to a rival offer pledging hundreds of new carriages and free Wi-Fi.
  • Financial Times: HNA Group said on Thursday it has bought a German airport in a further sign that a regulatory clampdown on outbound acquisitions has yet to curb the group’s ability to close deals.
  • Financial Times: The US Securities and Exchange Commission has delayed approval of a Chinese-led takeover of the Chicago Stock Exchange, the latest setback for an acquisition that has attracted a lot of pushbacks from US lawmakers.
  • Financial Times (Lex): JLR/Tata: JLR will need to show sales are picking up before its parent’s shares can accelerate.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Tui: sailing against the tide has advantages; perils, too.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Coca-Cola HBC: a strong performance in emerging markets could herald a big expansion.
  • Financial Times (Lex): Blackstone/Starwood: private equity saw the housing imbalance first.

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