The Business Matrix: Monday 10 March 2014


Brits star at German tech fair

A life-sized humanoid robot stole the show at the RoboThespian stand at the CeBIT trade fair, which opened last night in the German city of Hanover. Britain is this year’s official “partner nation” and Prime Minister David Cameron attended with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. CeBIT hailed the Anglo-German partnership as “testimony to  Europe’s strength”.

China growth slowdown fears

China’s exports unexpectedly tumbled in February, swinging the trade balance into deficit and adding to fears of a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy despite the Lunar New Year holidays being blamed for the slide. Exports fell 18.1 per cent from a year earlier, after a 10.6 per cent jump in January, amid signs that demand is weak at home and abroad.

What the Sunday papers said

Too afraid to stop printing money

On the fifth anniversary of  0.5 per cent interest rates, it is clear we’re too afraid to stop the money-printing presses. The punishment of savers is moving from a temporary misfortune to a generational shift. Assets that should have fallen dramatically in value have been supported while those who rely on savings, such as the old, are suffering.

The Independent on Sunday

Barclays boss to collect £5m bonus

Barclays is set to stoke the controversy over bankers’ pay as it prepares to hand over a share award of almost £5m to its chief executive. Antony Jenkins will land the giant payout next week, only days after Governor Mark Carney fleshes out the Bank of England’s plans to tighten City bonus rules. Barclays’ profit fell 32 per cent last year.

The Sunday Times

Bank to launch forex inquiry

The Bank of England is to launch an independent inquiry into allegations that it allowed manipulation of the foreign exchange market. The central bank’s oversight committee is poised to allow the investigation as it seeks to prove it has not condoned fixing in the $5trn  (£3trn) forex market.

The Sunday Telegraph

Sorrell to bag £23m in shares

WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell has received shares worth almost £23m as part of the advertising giant’s long-term incentive scheme. The award, to be revealed in the annual report, is part of a long-running plan that has now been replaced following shareholder discontent.

Mail on Sunday

Week ahead

Foxtons lifted by London’s boom

The posh estate agent  Foxtons delivers its maiden set of results as a listed company tomorrow and investors are expecting good things as London’s property market has been booming. Numis Securities is forecasting a pre-tax profit of £37.4m for the year, up from £28.2m in 2012.

Insurer Esure looks for premium

The insurer Esure will update the market on its performance tomorrow. Oriel reckons the Sheila’s Wheels owner will be solid, with underwriting making up a bigger slice of earnings despite weak premiums. Esure celebrates its first anniversary as a listed company later this month.

G4S still aiming to end bad run

Expect bad news from G4S on Wednesday. The scandal-hit outsourcer had a terrible 2013, with a ban on UK government work and two inquiries by the Serious Fraud Office. Profits will be hit, but investors are looking for a convincing turnaround strategy from the chief executive, Ashley Almanza, who joined in July.

Mirror looks for web to shine

On Thursday Trinity Mirror delivers its annual results. The former HMV boss Simon Fox has been pushing a digital strategy at the newspaper group with mini-sites such as Ampp3d and UsVsTh3m. The group recently said it was shutting the revamped Sunday People website after less than three months.