The 10 biggest business stories on Wednesday March 9

Zara owner sees profits jump as sales soar; E.On posts second consecutive loss of €6.9bn; Brent falls back below $40 a barrel

Zlata Rodionova
Wednesday 09 March 2016 09:42
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Inditex, the owner of Zara and Massimo Dutti, has reported a 15% surge in net profit to €2.9 billion (£2.2 billion)
Inditex, the owner of Zara and Massimo Dutti, has reported a 15% surge in net profit to €2.9 billion (£2.2 billion)

1. Oil prices fell back below $40 a barrel. Brent crude, the global benchmark, fell 2.2 per cent to $39.94 per barrel in afternoon trading. Meanwhile, West Texas Intermediate crude, the US benchmark, slumped 2.7 per cent to $36.88.

2. The Government faces crucial vote on Sunday trading laws. More than 100 Tory council leaders have backed government plans to devolve powers over Sunday trading laws to local authorities. But Labour and the SNP are opposing the devolution plans.

3. Hotel Chocolat, the high-end chocolate company, has announced that it is planning to list on London's junior stock exchange, Aim. The firm, which started off as a corporate mint maker, made £81.1 million worth of sales in the year to the 28 June.

4. Legal experts are waiting for a Supreme Court judgment later today on a fight between rival sellers of children's ride-on suitcases. Five Supreme Court justices analysed the design dispute between Magmatic, which sells Trunki suitcases, and PMS International, which sells Kiddee Case luggage, at a hearing in London.

5. E.on has reported a net loss of nearly £7 billion in 2015. The firm is blaming "significant impairment charges" for the results, which it says were primarily due to "reviewing its assumptions" about the long term prices of electricity and fuel prices.

6. Toshiba has granted Canon exclusive negotiating rights for its medical equipment unit after a hotly contested auction, with a report putting Canon's offer at more than 700 billion yen ($6.2 billion).

7. Inditex, the owner of Zara and Massimo Dutti, has reported a 15 per cent surge in net profit to €2.9 billion (£2.2 billion) for its full financial year ending January, with sales also up 15 per cent to €20.9 billion. The retailer opened some 330 stores in the year, meaning it now has 7,013 shops worldwide.

8. Big banks including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Bancorp are starting to plug into a system they jointly own called clearXchange, that will allow each others' customers to transfer money in a flash when they split a dinner check, rent payment or vacation bill.

9. Citigroup's shares fell today after its chief financial officer said revenue from trading in equity and fixed-income markets is expected to drop 15 per cent in the first quarter of 2016.

10. Facebook is bidding on the rights to stream NFL games ( the National Football League in the US), Facebook's vice president of partnerships, Dan Rose, told Variety.

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