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The Business Matrix:Monday 5 November 2012

HSBC ups home lending by a fifth

HSBC yesterday said it had increased lending to homebuyers by a fifth, and to first-time buyers by a third, so far this year. The bank, Europe's largest, is expected to report a healthy 80 per cent rise in profits today but will also set aside hundreds of millions more pounds for mis-selling payment-protection insurance on top of the £1.1bn it has already earmarked.

Professions are relying on temps

Banks, lawyers and accountants are increasingly relying on temporary staff as jobs for the major professions continue to decline. The number of available professional jobs in the year to October was 2 per cent down on 2011, according to figures released today by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies.

Bank to ponder new QE round

Bank of England rate-setters will pore over the health of the UK's dominant services sector today as they face a critical decision over whether to pump billions more into the nation's struggling recovery. The Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply's activity index is set to slow marginally in October.

UK's high earners taxed to the hilt

Britain imposes some of the highest taxes in the world on top earners, according to accountants UHY. Out of 26 major countries analysed by UHY, the UK has the 9th highest tax burden on those earning more than £125,000 and £160,000 a year, and the 6th highest for those earning £950,000 pear year.

Apple pares back its overseas tax

Apple paid less than 2 per cent tax on its overseas profits after slashing the amount foreign taxmen receive. The iPad and iPhone giant paid $713m (£445m) in corporation tax outside the US in the year to 29 September, despite its foreign pre-tax earnings surging more than 50 per cent to $36.8bn

Nando's tucks into a tasty profit leap

Nando's enjoyed a leap in profits last year as the peri-peri chicken restaurant avoided the impact of the economic downturn. Profits jumped £31.5m to £52.9 m on turnover of £374m in the year to February.

The chain increased the number of stores from 241 to 260

Go Compare's founder set to sell

The founder of Go Compare, the price comparison website, has appointed financial advisers to look at selling the business, which could be valued at £500m. Hayley Parsons launched the website in 2006, and is looking at her options ahead of the flotation of motor insurer Esure, which holds a 49 per cent stake in Go Compare.

Independent On Sunday

Banks to be told to raise more capital

British banks will be forced to raise 10s of billions of fresh capital under new accounting rules set to be announced early next year. The banks, which have already raised more than £100bn to strengthen their balance sheets as a result of the financial crisis, will be told to provide more cash against loans on which they expect to make losses.

Sunday Telegraph

Comet backers in line for millions

The US backers of Comet, which went into administration last week threatening more than 6,000 jobs, could still walk away with millions of pounds. OpCapita, which bought Comet for £2 just over a year ago, is reported to be keeping the profitable warranties business, Triptycht.

Mail On Sunday

Lloyds eyes £1bn St James's sale

Lloyds Banking Group plans to raise £1bn through a sale of its 60 per cent stake in wealth management group St James's Place. The sell-off could improve the bank's chances of being permitted to restart dividend payments' which have so far been blocked by the Financial Services Authority.

Sunday Times

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