The Business Matrix: Monday 10 February 2014


BoE stands by forward guidance

The Bank of England will  defend its flagship forward-guidance policy this week as it seeks to convince doubters that Britain’s economy is not yet ready to withstand an interest-rate rise. Mark Carney, the Bank’s Governor, will argue that enough slack remains in the economy for productivity to recover in the coming year, which will feed through to stronger wage growth.

NAB ponders float of UK operations

National Australia Bank (NAB) is understood to be considering a £2bn flotation of its British operations as a wave of new, high-street lenders prepares to hit the stock market. A listing of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks is being looked at by NAB as part of a review into the future of its overseas offshoot which has dragged down its antipodean parent in recent years.

What the Sunday papers said

Man behind NHS fiasco gets HS2 job

One of the most heavily  criticised men behind the NHS’s IT fiasco has been made a director at HS2, the similarly under fire £50bn railway linking London with the north. Patrick O’Connell’s appointment comes at a time when HS2 is preparing a public relations charm offensive to win support for the troubled project.

Independent on Sunday

Spending spree  by consumers

Consumer spending got off to a flying start this year, giving rise to further optimism that the economy is back on track. Figures from Barclaycard show that spending in January increased 4.2 per cent on the same month last year as people found ways to cut bills for food and energy but spent money on clothes and restaurants.

Mail on Sunday

‘Thousands of jobs at risk’ in sell-off

Barclays is to slash the size of its investment bank by a fifth as part of its efforts to win back the trust of the Bank of England. Thousands of jobs are at risk under the plan to sell off £150bn of loans and toxic securities and reduce annual costs by £1.7bn. The bank reports its annual results on Tuesday.

The Sunday Times

‘Black hole’ likely in eurozone banks

Eurozone banks are facing a new capital black hole of as much as €50bn (£42bn), one of the UK’s most respected financial analysts said. Davide Serra, who advises the Government on banking, said that stress tests by the European Central Bank were likely to find fresh  problems in the region’s banks.

The Sunday Telegraph

Week ahead

Barclays set for profitable 2013

Tomorrow is Barclays’ turn to face the City when it reports its full-year results. Analysts at Deutsche Bank expect its fourth-quarter results to show a £862m  profit and investors have liked its planned cost cutting, the deleveraging of its balance sheet and its good dividend yield. Deutsche rates it a buy.

Analysts expect Reckitt sales rise

On Wednesday the focus will be on consumer-goods giant Reckitt Benckiser. Analysts at Credit Suisse argue interest in the group has been too focused on its pharmaceuticals and drugs arm rather than its consumer-goods divisions. Panmure Gordon expects sales to be up 5 per cent on a comparable basis.

Albemarle & Bond first-half figures

First-half figures from pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond are due midweek. The group abandoned plans to sell itself recently and the share price is down 90 per cent on a year ago. It has been struggling in recent months as gold prices have fallen and has been forced to shut nearly all of its pop-up cash-for-gold shops.

Another negative year from Lloyds

Thursday sees Lloyds Banking Group issue its 2013 results. After a fourth-quarter £1.8bn  payment-protection insurance charge it will report a fourth year of negative earnings. Investec’s banks expert Ian Gordon said Lloyds was now his “fourth-favourite UK bank”. A pre-tax profit of £6.2bn is forecast.