News

Retail sales rose at their fastest rate in nine years in December, the Office for National Statistics reported yesterday. However, some City analysts immediately cast doubt on the reliability of the figures.

Britain’s deficit soars to its highest for 24 years

But stronger-than-expected growth was seen over the past two years

Upbeat forecasts adds to optimism over economic recovery

The UK recovery will pick up pace this week as official estimates reveal the strongest advance for the economy since last summer's London Olympic Games.

£1.6bn refinancing lifts the debt cloud for Thomas Cook

Travel giant Thomas Cook today took a huge step towards recovery with a £1.6 billion refinancing of its vast debt pile, just 18 months after the 172-year old company veered close to collapse.

Andy Murray is through to the quarter-finals of the BNP Paribas Open

Outrageous! Andy Murray loses it over 'extremely, extremely loud' grunting from opponent

The British number one came through his match against Carlos Berlocq in Indian Wells despite his annoyance

Argentina's tennis player Carlos Berlocq at the Davis Cup earlier this year

Outrageous! Andy Murray loses it over 'extremely, extremely loud' grunting from opponent

The British number one came through his match against Carlos Berlocq in Indian Wells despite his annoyance

Market Report: Vodafone powering Footsie on US buzz

The City was piling into Vodafone again today and it wasn't because of the FTSE 100 titan's new contract to supply smartphones to New Zealand's police officers. Welcome though the news may be to the Kiwi law enforcement fraternity, Voda has been the blue-chip story of the week for other reasons: namely speculation over its 45 per cent stake in United States operator Verizon Wireless.

Market Report: Sugar looks likely to sour ABF success

Flogging cheap clothes has been keeping punters in Primark owner Associated British Foods happy, but City scribblers think the shares are no longer quite so sweet. The Primark to Twinings tea group could be facing bitter times at its European sugar business.

Market Report: City spends energy on oil and gas talk

Oil and gas explorers on both sides of the Channel were flaring up on City takeover chatter. BG Group has been a takeover target since its shares lost around 20 per cent after warning on production forecasts at the beginning of the month.

CBI reveals worsening picture for UK output

Manufacturing output is at its lowest level in three years, in what could be a further blow to hopes for a swift economic recovery, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

Market Report: Carphone in line for a Best Buy deal lift

With US retail giant Best Buy being targeted by its founder, the talk in the Square Mile yesterday was focused on what could lie ahead for its British partner Carphone Warehouse if a deal goes ahead.

Market Report: City backs ITV to benefit from penny-pinching Beeb

While Auntie penny pinches, ITV will feel the benefit. That was the theory pushing the Britain's Got Talent broadcaster higher yesterday as – with the BBC on a mission to save money – City scribblers argued its bitter rival will be in a prime position to take advantage.

The Market Report: BarCap a worry as US rivals pave way for 'weak results'

It was transformed into one of the world's top investment banks under his control. Yet yesterday Bob Diamond was being urged to undergo a massive overhaul of Barclays Capital amid claims that such a move would be for the good of the company as a whole. With Barclays' preliminary results little more than a fortnight away, poor figures from the investment-banking arms of its American rivals have raised serious concerns over the performance of BarCap.

Market Report: Reason to reconsider the Smith & Nephew story

Bargain-hunters moved into Smith & Nephew yesterday after analysts called on investors to reconsider the growth prospects for Europe's biggest manufacturer of artificial hips and knees. S&N shares haven't had the healthiest of years so far, falling by around 15 per cent since January. Results earlier this month did little to warm sentiment, with the stock easing in the hours after the company revealed lower trading profits for the third quarter.

British banks ordered to disclose debt exposure amid contagion fears

Turmoil on Europe's markets continues, as bank shares suffer rollercoaster ride

DTZ in turmoil as management walks out

The chief executive and finance director of DTZ yesterday walked out as a row with the commercial property agent's majority shareholder threatened to boil over.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee