Business Diary: Driving through the nonsense talk

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The Independent Online

Much huffing and puffing from the AA and the RAC about last week's scandal on the oil markets, which saw one broker suffer a $10m (£6m) loss after falling prey to unauthorised trades. The British motoring organisations reckon that the $2 spike in the price of oil caused by the trades corresponds to a 50p rise in the cost of filling up your car with petrol. That would be more credible had the price of crude not come straight back down again within hours of the trades being detected.

Jacko's legacy to the savers of Holland

An unlikely beneficiary of the death of the King of Pop is the Dutch state pension fund, ABP, which had the good sense a few years ago to buy up rights to part of Michael Jackson's back catalogue. "There are always certain songs that for whatever reason, in this case tragic, suddenly become very popular," it says. "The last fact is a basis for the investment."

Recovery's sweet music

First economists used letters of the alphabet to describe the shape of the UK's recession and recovery – V, W, L, and so on. Then they moved on to animals. Now accountant BDO Stoy Hayward has come up with another aid to visualisation, based on musical instruments. It reckons the cycle will be saxophone-shaped – a recovery with a quick bounce that tails off.

Raise a toast to your financial future

If you have decent claret tucked away in the cellar, for goodness sake don't drink it – it may be your only pension nest egg. Liv-ex, the wine investment company, has launched a fine wine index that tracks prices back to 1988. It reckons that since then, decent plonk has produced an annual return of 12.6 per cent, putting most other investments to shame.

Ireland unites to save a national delicacy

Despite one of the worst recessions, the Irish were prepared to dig deep to save Walsh Family Foods, which makes the "spice burger", a dish of which the country is very proud. Walsh was close to going under, but a "save our spice burger" campaign on Facebook brought in enough orders for it to continue trading.

businessdiary@independent.co.uk

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