A Weekly Digest of The World's Financial Press

Financial Times

Why companies should provide investors with more frequent information

BRITISH COMPANIES should move to quarterly reporting immediately, with monthly frequency a realistic target.

An imaginative company would make its data available on its website in manipulable formats. Long-run data, in a standardised format, are also badly needed. Once these steps are taken, the way is clear for more frequent reporting.

Today's annual report is, like a Victorian snapshot, an artificial moment in time. Just over half a century ago, the Lumiere brothers broke free, to bring us the motion picture. Business activity, like the life that films capture, is a flow, not a series of discontinuous steps. It is time for corporate reporting to make that switch.

Peter Martin, FT columnist

Business Week

On how Olivetti's bid for Telecom Italia signals a turning point for European capitalism

A FLOOD of private investment in equities is forcing Italian capital markets to grow more sophisticated fast. And old-boy relationships are fraying. For example, Milan's secretive Mediobanca, once the virtual house bank of the Agnellis, is backing Olivetti, while the Agnellis themselves are publically backing Franco Bernabe.

Hordes of American investment bankers are speeding this transformation. In fact, it was bankers from Lehman and DLJ who came up with the idea for Olivetti's raid. In the coming days, Italian politicans may find it hard to resist interfering. But whether Olivetti succeeds or fails is almost beside the point: For European capitalism, there is no going back.

Cover story

Wall St Journal

On how Tony Blair must now move the euro debate in Britain forward

THE WARS of the euro-(sceptics/enthusiasts) generate a lot of heat, but little light. The only constant in the mindnumbing crossfire was the government's agility in parrying the question of how to decide.

That, at least has changed. Prime Minister Tony Blair made clear he wants to see Britain join the euro as soon as possible. Now, the cards are stacked against entry into EMU. Mr Blair's first test will come in the election for the European Parliament in June.

Mr Blair must win support for his government's policy not with slogans, but by cutting through the Strum und Drang of the current "debate" and putting the arguments directly to the British people.

Leader comment

Financial news

On how the Revenue is trying to chip away pension funds' privileged

tax status

THE REVENUE is in effect trying to move the goal posts retrospectively by using anti-avoidance legislation enacted long before such [share] buybacks were even thought of.

It is Parliament, not the Revenue, that should be laying down the law on taxes. But the Revenue's action is even more extraordinary given the Government's eagerness to encourage funded pensions.

The Revenue appears to be ploughing a semi-autonomous furrow with its "paid-by-results" investigators and it is hard to reconcile what it is up to with the Government's broader policy aims on pensions. The Government should call its tax collectors to heel.

Leader comment

Fortune

On US threats to impose punative tariffs on European luxury goods over bananas

SOME EXPERTS believe establishing the authority of the WTO is worth America's thick-skinned approach. Still, it is an open question whether the strategy of targeting products is useful; it is certainly ugly to watch.

Unfortunately, there are few choices available to countries whose economies have been harmed by discriminatory trade policies.

For now, America and Europe are squabbling over a little yellow fruit that neither one produces. And folks [producing cashmere] in the Scottish Borders have little choice but to pray that calmer heads - prevail in time to save their fall season - and their jobs.

Len A Costa

The Economist

The single European currency is already showing signs of wear and tear

EUROPE'S ECONOMIC road is looking suddenly much bumpier. This is not the euro's fault. But the rules surrounding it may make things worse. The European Central Bank has said it will not reduce interest rates unless governments continue to reduce their budget deficits. In the long run that is a worthy goal. But now it misses the point. Not only does the combined stance of monetary and fiscal policy need to be eased in the euro area, but in some economies fiscal policy may need to be used to support demand. The euro's design faults increase the risk that a slowdown in growth could lead to a recession. Which might put at risk even the euro's very survival.

Leader comment

PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Getty
News
Women have been desperate to possess dimples like Cheryl Cole's
people Cole has secretly married French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after just three months.
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Extras
indybestThe tastiest creations for children’s parties this summer
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Paolo Nutini performs at T in the Park
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

HR Advisor - 6 months FTC Wimbledon, SW London

£35000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - 6 Months Fix...

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows, Network Security)

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor