The Business Matrix: Monday 17 September 2012


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House prices level since run on Rock

House prices have been stagnant for five years since the run on Northern Rock in September 2007, property website Rightmove said today. The average asking price stood at £234,858 over the month, fractionally down on the £235,176 being demanded five years ago. This contrasts starkly with the five years to 2007, which saw a 55 per cent boom in average selling prices.

BAE prepared to ring-fence Trident

Amid fears over what BAE Systems' planned merger with EADS would mean for Trident, the defence giant is understood to be prepared to ring-fence the nuclear programme if the £30bn deal goes ahead. After it emerged the Ministry of Defence has demanded guarantees over Trident, a source close to the company said the ring-fencing of the program would be a priority.

Probe if Sports Direct eyes JJB

An inquiry is likely to be launched by the Office of Fair Trading if Sports Direct tries to buy any of JJB Sports' stores. Sportswear retailer JJB is expected to file for administration this week, but although it has 180 stores, Mike Ashley's Sports Direct is believed only to be interested in fewer than 50 of these, meaning thousands of jobs are at risk.

Independent on Sunday

Xstrata 'near a yes on Glencore tie-up'

The board of Anglo-Swiss miner Xstrata is understood to be close to approving Glencore's improved terms for the two's proposed mega-merger. After pressure from shareholders, the commodity trader raised its offer earlier in the month, and a decision on the new terms could be announced as early as Wednesday.

The Sunday Telegraph

Household income to rise next year

Next year will be the first time since 2009 that households see an increase in real incomes, says the Centre for Economics and Business Research. Its study shows households with incomes of under £26,000 will enjoy the biggest rise of 1.5 per cent, while those above £50,000 will see just a 0.7 per cent gain.

The Sunday Times

Lloyds pledge to keep free banking

Lloyds' retail banking boss Alison Brittain has promised not to abandon free banking for in-credit current account holders. Barclays chairman Sir David Walker recently claimed free banking may have contributed to mis-selling, but Ms Brittain said such a move would not be welcomed by the public.

Mail on Sunday

Debenhams looks in line for £156m

Debenhams has recently been showing off its new department store in Milton Keynes, and it has fans at broker Espirito Santo. They have a "buy" rating on the retailer ahead of its trading update tomorrow, which will give guidance about how the full year will turn out. Analysts estimate a profit of around £156m.

Asos poised to be upbeat on growth

Handing out style advice and supplying cheap versions of the latest trends have helped make online fashion company Asos a winner. At its fourth-quarter update on Wednesday, it is expected to be upbeat on overseas growth, but broker Peel Hunt thinks next year will be one of consolidation rather than huge growth.

Cussons to update on Africa unrest

The recent unrest in Nigeria is expected to be a major focus for bosses at PZ Cussons when the group unveils its trading update on Wednesday.

Charles Pick at Numis Securities thinks the soap maker will focus on emphasising that, outside troubled Nigeria, trading is in line with expectations.

Saatchi set to post £79m revenues

On Thursday it is time for advertising firm M&C Saatchi to announce its interim results. The London-based firm is becoming increasingly global, with new clients across the Middle East, Australia and South Africa, while the US is also a big focus, and Numis is expecting revenues to have risen to £79m.