Jeremy Warner: Everything else has been tried. Now King goes nuclear

Outlook Lights, camera, action. Yesterday's decision to sanction £150bn of "quantitative easing" by the Bank of England has been a long time in the making, but the moment is no less historic for it. Nothing quite like this has been attempted in Britain before, though it is by no means the first attempt within these islands to expand the money supply by printing more banknotes.

Jeremy Warner: Insurers get the banking treatment

Outlook Has the stock market got it completely wrong about Aviva and other insurers, or are chief executives being too optimistic about their ability to ride out the storm in asset prices and the economy? Yesterday's stomach-churning 33 per cent plunge in the Aviva share price looks an extreme over-reaction to a results statement which wasn't any different in substance to the guidance given last month. The chief executive, Andrew Moss, found it almost incomprehensible. The capital surplus is as reported back then at £2bn, profits are in line with expectations, and the dividend is left untouched as promised. What's there to be bearish about?

Jeremy Warner: ITV is still struggling to make the grade in brave new world

Outlook Poor old Michael Grade. Two years ago, the media veteran quit the licence fee-insulated environment of the BBC to take on the challenge of turning around ITV, and he actually produced a half-way decent plan for doing so.

Jeremy Warner: Barclays mulls £50bn of asset protection

Outlook Lloyds Banking Group is said to be stamping its feet in rage over the penalty terms of participation in the Government's Asset Protection Scheme. Regrettably for the chief executive, Eric Daniels, he has little option but to bend over and take what ever punishment the civil servants choose to impose. There is no point in him bleating that the Government owes him one for helping out with HBOS. He bought into a pig in a poke when he merged with the beleaguered mortgage bank, and he now has to live with the all too brutal consequences.

Jeremy Warner: Wheeler gets the bullet at Brixton

Outlook: Personally, I rather liked Tim Wheeler, the now ex-chief executive of Brixton Estates, but he was not well liked in the City. Among property analysts, he was thought smug and uncommunicative, and though the strategy of concentrating on industrial space, much of it within the M25, seemed fair enough, few believed Mr Wheeler's insistence that Brixton was better placed than other property companies to weather the storm.

Jeremy Warner: The dividend gusher is over

Outlook: One of the reasons why stock markets are still crashing is the outlook for dividends, which has turned truly dire. Over time, most of the return on equities comes from dividends, so the virtual cessation of these payments is as much if not more of a concern to long-term equity investors as the present loss of value.

Jeremy Warner: A standard-bearer for Britain’s banks. Pity they didn’t follow it

Outlook: Is Standard Chartered the only solvent bank left in Britain? At a recent conference, Stephen Green, the chairman of HSBC, was introduced by Tony Blair as about the only banker left who dared show his face in public during daylight hours. I'm not sure that after this week's results and accompanying rights issue, that even the measured Mr Green still counts as the acceptable face of banking.

Jeremy Warner: HSBC's blockbuster rights further rattles skittish investors

Outlook: The HSBC rights issue was only part of a heady cocktail of negatives from across the globe

Jeremy Warner: Time to stop talking down banking assets

Outlook: If every house on your street was put up for sale all at the same time and it was announced that they must all be sold within the week, you wouldn't expect to get much for your property. OK, so you might get lucky and a property developer with cash (not that common these days) comes along to buy the lot. But even then, he would expect a bargain and you would only get a fraction of your house's long-term value.

Jeremy Warner: RBS shareholders pay a heavy price for asset protection

Outlook If it looks like a nationalised bank, behaves like a nationalised bank and is ordered around by ministers as if it is a nationalised bank, why not just nationalise and be done with it?

Jeremy Warner: Myners cited in Goodwin row

Outlook The row over Sir Fred Goodwin's pension is proving as much an embarrassment for the Government as it is for Sir Fred. "I know", some bright spark at the Treasury must have thought. "Let's completely overshadow one of the most important and high-risk policy initiatives of the modern age by leaking a bit more banker-bashing to the BBC". Fred's pension must have seemed just the ticket, demonstrating beyond dispute what greed-fuelled rogues all those bankers really were. If that was the idea, the plan has certainly succeeded, though probably not in quite the way intended.

Jeremy Warner: Japan's land of the setting sun

Outlook The sun has been setting on the Japanese economy for the best part of 20 years, but over the last few months, the country has been plunged into deepest darkness. Ironically, it is looking as if the big surplus nations are going to be even more severely hit by the global recession than profligate deficit countries. Things look equally grim in Germany, another economy whose heavy reliance on manufacturing and exports has made it particularly ill equipped to withstand the present, crippling collapse in demand. In lecturing us Anglo-Saxons on the dangers of our credit-fuelled spending, they seem to have plain forgot that it was German BMWs and Japanese Toyotas we were spending our ill-gotten debts on acquiring. German and Japanese exporters were as much beneficiaries of the credit boom as the London housing market.

Jeremy Warner: Clamour grows for more regulation

Outlook Look out. Here comes Jacques de Larosiere, a former managing director of the IMF, to add the EU's penny's worth to the already raging debate on how to reform financial regulation. Strangely enough, Mr de Larosiere isn't quite the bull in the china shop you might expect. Europe has been itching to get its hands on the City, symbol of unruly Anglo-Saxon finance, for years. But Mr de Larosiere stops short of recommending the pan-European super regulator to take on the Square Mile and subsume all national regulation that some Europeans demand.

Jeremy Warner: Rio must stress Eastern promise

Outlook Rio Tinto stands accused of being adventurous to the point of recklessness in paying top dollar for Alcan a year and a half ago. In raising nearly $20bn from Chinalco to address the consequent debt problem, the mining giant is now accused of being too cautious by half, and thereby again being careless with the interests of its shareholders. Does Rio really need to raise so much, and does it really need to fly in the face of pre-emption rights to underpin its future?

Jeremy Warner: Bank rescues: Too complicated by half?

Outlook Will the "asset protection scheme" due to be outlined by the Treasury and two of the big high street banks over the next few days work? The answer to this question is that it had better do, for if it doesn't the next port of call is outright nationalisation for both Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group.

News
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