News

Apple's disappointing update this week sent shares in most of its suppliers tumbling, but smartphone parts maker Laird got City approval after its strategy update yesterday.

Market Report: Home Retail held back by profit-taking

Home Retail Group was caught up in a market-wide round of profit-taking last night, easing as investors moved to secure recent gains.

David Prosser: Drowning in a sea of water bill reductions

Outlook So, raise a glass of H2O to Ofwat if you're the household bill-payer. The water industry regulator's unexpectedly tough line on the next round of price increases should mean savings for customers of most water suppliers. On the face of it, however, the determination is not such good news for water companies, particularly those with higher levels of gearing, and the market sent the listed utilities into a spin, assuming the worst about their future dividend policies. Logical enough if you think this is a zero-sum game where a victory for customers is a defeat for shareholders.

Market Report: IMI joins in Footsie's ninth day of gains

IMI rallied by almost 10 per cent as the Footsie registered its ninth consecutive session in the black last night.

The Week Ahead: Sunny outlook continues for Kingfisher

City analysts anticipate news of strong trading when Kingfisher, the retail group behind the B&Q chain, posts a second-quarter pre-close update this Thursday.

Ofwat demands Thames Water reduces planned price hike

Thames Water will be told to reduce its planned price increases when the industry's regulator announces its five-year review this week.

Severn Trent pushes for radical water-supply rethink

Severn Trent, the Ftse 100 utility, is pushing parliament and the Conservative opposition into a radical rethink over water supply.

Investment Column: Costain will prove a predictable winner

John Menzies; Cohort

Market Report: Lonmin on the slide as Footsie heads south

Weaker commodities prices, as well as concern about the fate of Xstrata’s stake, left Lonmin more than 8 per cent lighter last night. Xstrata, which this weekend confirmed its interest in a “merger of equals” with Anglo American, owns around 25 per cent of Lonmin, the platinum producer which itself was the subject of an abortive bid from the famously acquisitive Anglo- Swiss miner last year.

The Week Ahead: Tate & Lyle has to keep investors sweet

Will Tate & Lyle stick with its dividend on Thursday? The answer to that question is likely to set the mood when the manufacturer of sugar and sweeteners posts its full-year results. The stock has performed well over the past month or so, thanks, in part, to the April pre-close update, which stoked hopes that the payout would be maintained; feeling reassured, investors bought in, shrugging off a negative result in a sucralose patent-infringement case.

The Week Ahead: L&G faces another inquisition on capital

Legal & General will face intense scrutiny this week, as analysts and investors, both increasingly worried by the prospect of yet more turmoil in the equity markets and the possibility of higher-than-expected corporate bond defaults, focus on the strength of the insurer's capital base.

Investment Column: Time to check out of Intercontinental

Pennon Group; Devro

Investmemt Column: New chief cheers up Friends Provident

Balfour Beatty; Severn Trent

Temperatures plunge as big freeze continues

A freezing spell was forecast to maintain its grip on the south of the country today as temperatures plunged last night to as low as -11C across parts of the UK.

Icy start to first working week of 2009

Britons returning to their offices today after the Christmas break faced an arctic start to the first working week of 2009.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?