David Cameron is planning to build on the huge popularity of the Royal Mail privatisation by prioritising retail investors for the sell-offs ahead of the general election in 2015. Attracting retail investors will be a key aim as the government prepares to complete the sales of Royal Mail and Lloyds Bank next year, according to people close to the situation, the Financial Times writes.
Ministers are to subsidise a French company to build Britain's first nuclear power station in a generation, guaranteeing to pay twice the level of today's wholesale energy price. The decision, to be publicised today, will provoke a new row over rising energy bills, with gas and electricity suppliers expected to announce further price increases this week. Under a deal with French company EDF Energy, the Government will guarantee to pay £92.50 for each megawatt hour of electricity generated by the Hinkley Point plant for 35 years, according to The Times.
The number of profit warnings issued by British companies in September has shot to its highest level since 2008, according to research released today by top accountant Ernst & Young (EY). The figure for September was a shock after a strong performance so far this year, in which the number of companies warning of lower-than-expected profits has fallen sharply, suggesting the economic recovery was well under way. A profit warning is a statement issued by a stock market-listed company when it realises its profits are not going to hit the levels expected by the City's analysts, The Daily Mail says.
London's booming housing market is rising at an unsustainable rate, the UK's largest property website warned on Monday, with the average asking price of a home in the capital surging by more than £50,000 last month. Such is the acceleration in the capital's property market, according to Rightmove, that many buyers will need help from deep-pocketed parents despite the expansion of George Osborne's Help to Buy scheme. Rightmove said the average asking price in London rose to £544,232 in October from £493,748 the previous month - an increase of more than 10%, The Guardian explains.
Fresh questions about Jamie Dimon's continued tenure at the head of JP Morgan were raised at the weekend after America's biggest bank reached a tentative $13 bn settlement with the US Department of Justice. The deal, which relates to the conduct of its mortgage-backed securities business in the run-up to the financial crisis, would be the largest settlement that the US government has reached with a single company. Part of the penalty relates to activities by Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual, which were rescued by JP Morgan in 2008, The Times reports.
Sir Brian Souter is eyeing a range of new investments of up to £30m each after building a "sizeable" war chest during the economic downturn. The Stagecoach co-founder said he had benefited from having access to capital "when many investors were avoiding risk". A newly published review for his Souter Investments vehicle reveals a record performance over the three years to the end of March, with an annual return averaging 21% per annum, The Scotsman says.