Investment Column: GSK is healthy, and it's not just the drugs

Unilever; RPS Group

David Prosser: Pushing the pills may be the world's most risky business

Outlook Just who would be chief executive of a major pharmaceuticals business? Andrew Witty, the man in the hot seat at GlaxoSmithKline, may cut a confident public figure, co-opted by the Prime Minister on to an advisory panel of business's great and good, but he also has to spend a disproportionate amount of time looking over his shoulder. For Mr Witty runs a leading company in an industry that is right in the sights of regulators worldwide.

GSK buyback eyed after Quest sale

GlaxoSmithKline stoked hopes that it might restart its share buyback programme last night after announcing the sale of its stake in Quest Diagnostics in a $1.7bn (£802m) deal.

Mark Dampier: Interest rate rise would spell economic disaster

Many column inches have been devoted to inflation and interest rates during the last couple of weeks. With inflation above target for such a long time, pressure is growing on the Bank of England to consider an interest rate rise. According to Neil Woodford, manager of Invesco Perpetual Income and High Income, two of the largest funds in the country, this would be a big mistake. He points out a high oil price of $90 a barrel has a big impact on the UK, but in the longer term it has a deflationary rather than inflationary effect. Non-discretionary inflation effectively acts as an extra tax, depressing demand. He believes an interest rate rise would be disastrous for an economy where there is little sign of wage increases and consumers are faced with utility bill rises of 25 per cent or more in the next five to seven years. I agree it is hard to see how the UK consumer would cope with higher mortgage rates on top of everything else.

GSK sets aside £2.2bn to cover Avandia claims

Legal bills related to diabetes drug will wipe out profits for the past quarter

Cancer drug set for NHS fast-track

A new drug to treat advanced kidney cancer has been fast-tracked for use on the NHS, a health watchdog said yesterday.

Business Diary: Casting aspersions on our bosses

Marc Bolland, the boss of Marks & Spencer, Eric Daniels, the chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group, and Andrew Witty, the top man at GlaxoSmithKline, ought to consult their lawyers. Illicitencounters.com, the rather tacky website that puts professionals seeking a bit of extramarital fun in touch with each other, made its most insulting announcement yet yesterday. It has apparently offered 60 bosses of FTSE 100 companies – in particular, it namechecks Bolland, Daniels and Witty – free membership of the site, "encouraging them to cheat online". What on earth is it suggesting about these respectable gentlemen?

Glaxo pledges to invest £500m in UK after 'patent box' reforms

GlaxoSmithKline plans to invest more than £500m in manufacturing projects in the UK after the Chancellor, George Osborne, backed the previous government's plans for a lower 10 per cent corporate tax rate on profits from newly commercialised patents.

Glaxo to pay out $750m over impure drugs lawsuit

In a rare public humiliation for a British company in the United States, GlaxoSmithKline last night formally agreed to pay $750m (£473m) to settle criminal and civil complaints stemming from a whistleblower's revelations about a shockingly degraded factory in Puerto Rico.

David Prosser: Two measures that raise doubts about Coalition's 'business-friendly' pledge

Outlook There was something of a love-in at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference, with a bevy of ministers down to say how much they loved business and some sweeties to share in the form of big speeches and big announcements. No wonder. Business leaders are being courted because they are desperately needed to help to fill the gap created by George Osborne's 500,000 job cuts.

Business chiefs back George Osborne deficit cut strategy

Chancellor George Osborne's deficit reduction strategy today won backing from the private sector with a letter of support signed by 35 business leaders.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
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The fall in the oil price will hit Russia hard, but is unlikely to personally affect the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin

It looks very much as though 2015 will be a good year for the world economy, after all – and, if it is, that will be thanks to the fall in the oil price. It won't be good for everyone and we have already seen the pressure it puts on the Russian leadership – though, before you conclude that sometimes there is natural justice in the world, remember that the people who are hurt are not leaders such as Vladimir Putin. Other oil- and gas-exporting countries are damaged, too, and I think we will see further fallout in unpredictable ways. But the net impact is strongly positive, more so than most commentators at present acknowledge. The winners far outnumber the losers.

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Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
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The male exhibits strange behaviour

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From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

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Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

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