LSBF Blog | Global Matters – LSBF

LSBF Blog - Global Matters

Changing consumer behaviour hits UK supermarkets

August 11 ,2015 | by Erin O’Neill

Some of Britain’s top companies could see profits fall by more than a third, and it is all caused by the way consumer behaviour is affecting supermarkets according to a study of new figures.

The Share Centre compiled and analysed quarterly results that revealed like-for-like pre-tax profits for the FTSE 350 were down nearly 37% in the first quarter of the financial year.

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Girls dominate admissions to leading universities

August 11 ,2015 | by Helen Gould

Head of the admissions service UCAS says that there is now a significant gender gap for admissions to leading universities in the UK.

UCAS chief executive, Mary Curnock Cook, has urged action to increase the number of boys applying to go to university.

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Alphabet: Google stuns markets with restructuring

August 11 ,2015 | by Thiago Kiwi

Internet search giant Google has surprised economists around the world by announcing that it will become part of a holding company called Alphabet, shared in a blog post by co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

As part of the changes, Google will be rebranded as Alphabet. Control of the company’s search engine services will be handed over to Sundar Pichai, who will become the CEO of Google.

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Greece and lenders prepare for talks on new bailout

August 10 ,2015 | by Claire Payne

The main financial story in Europe over the last few months has been the ongoing struggle of the Greek government to find a way to manage its debts.

It has been announced that talks are underway in a bid to agree a new bailout deal that could help secure the country’s future stability. The matter is all the more pressing because Greece’s next repayment to the European Central Bank (ECB) is on August 20th, and the country does not currently have the means to pay.

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UK trade deficit improves as exports rise

August 10 ,2015 | by Claire Payne

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the UK's trade gap decreased by £2.7bn in the second quarter of this year.

The news from the ONS revealed that the country's trade deficit with the rest of the world dropped to £4.8bn in spite of the strength of the pound on the international money markets.

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Low oil prices force Saudi Arabia to borrow heavily

August 10 ,2015 | by Erin O’Neill

Although often seen as a country of limitless wealth, budget deficits are forcing Saudi Arabia to borrow more capital from both local and international creditors.

The situation has arisen after oil prices fell from June 2014's $107 a barrel to $50 at current levels.

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Hedge funds receive £10m windfall from RBS share sale

August 07 ,2015 | by Hari Sri

It is estimated that hedge funds profited by around £10m by shorting shares in the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), adding to the controversy surrounding the government's sell-off of the bank.

The funds apparently took advantage of information leaks about the sale of the government's stake in the bank, according to data from analysts Markit.

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Battle ahead for businesses as Sunday trading law changes look likely

August 07 ,2015 | by Thiago Kiwi

For the past twenty years, trading laws in the UK have meant that larger stores can only open during restricted hours on Sundays for a maximum of 6 hours.

The measures were introduced to safeguard shop workers' leisure time, but now new changes look likely to change the face of weekend shopping for many Britons.

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Graduates from private schools get high salaries, reveals research

August 07 ,2015 | by Helen Gould

A new report has revealed that privately-educated graduates earn more than their state-educated peers do only six months after leaving university, and the gap continues to increase up to three-and-a-half years after leaving.

The research from the Sutton Trust and upReach found that fee-paying school students who achieved a degree soon took home almost £4,500 more than other graduates.

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Bank of England keeps interest rate at 0.5 per cent

August 06 ,2015 | by Thiago Kiwi

As part of its much-anticipated “Super Thursday” raft of announcements, the Bank of England has voted to keep interest rates at the record low of 0.5 per cent.

The UK’s bond-buying programme is also set to remain frozen at £375 billion.

Ian McCafferty was the only member of the nine-strong Monetary Policy Committee who voted in favour of higher interest rates. This is the 78th consecutive month that the bank has chosen to keep interest rates low. Rates were first cut in a bid to limit the effects of the recession, but the economy has been judged too fragile to raise them ever since.

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Rolls-Royce wins multi-billion-dollar Canadian contract

August 06 ,2015 | by Erin O’Neill

Iconic British firm Rolls-Royce is taking a leading role in a nuclear decommissioning contract in Canada worth billions of dollars.

Now industry insiders believe the company may be set for a similar bid for lucrative business in the UK.

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More people in UK working night shifts, shows research

August 06 ,2015 | by Helen Gould

New research from the TUC reveals that the number of people working night shifts in the UK is rising.

The new report comes as London Underground workers are set to take strike action over proposals to introduce all-night services

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Netflix announces unlimited parental leave for staff

August 06 ,2015 | by Claire Payne

Online streaming service Netflix is not just shaking up the film and TV industries with its business model, it is also taking a fresh look at working practices for employees too.

The company has announced plans to let parents take “unlimited” parental leave for the first year following a new addition to the family.

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British confidence in economic growth at 5 year high, shows study

August 05 ,2015 | by Hari Sri

A new poll from Ipsos Mori has revealed that British people have more confidence in the economy than at any point in the last five years.

Currently, half of the respondents said they felt positive about the state of the UK's finance. This is a dramatic rise compared to two and a half years ago, when only 13 per cent felt the same way.

Based on the 24 countries covered by the survey, it was found that 40 per cent of citizens had confidence in their nation’s economy. This means the UK is performing above the average in this area. The global average has also risen significantly since November 2012, when only 25 per cent said they were confident about their country’s finances.

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Small business investment schemes need more exposure, says IoD

More people are using investment schemes like SEIS and EIS to invest in small businesses, but there is potential for further growth.

A growing number of small and medium-size enterprises are taking advantage of government schemes designed to make it easier to attract investors, but there is still a lot of untapped potential that firms are missing out on.

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US GDP growth prompts Fed interest rate hike speculation

Strong gross domestic product figures have prompted suggestions that the US Federal Reserve will raise interest rates later this year.

The likelihood of interest rates in the US rising later this year has increased following the release of upbeat economic data.

Figures released by the Commerce Department revealed gross domestic product expanded at 2.3 per cent annual rate, with weak business spending on equipment offset by strong consumer spending.

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PM Cameron backs fintech manifesto that promises 100,000 jobs by 2020

July 30 ,2015 | by Hari Sri

UK prime minister David Cameron has backed a new manifesto for the fintech industry from Innovate Finance, which, among other things, promises 100,000 new jobs in the sector by 2020.

David Cameron has given his backing to a new manifesto from Innovate Finance, detailing how it intends to bring the UK to the forefront of the financial services technology industry.

Innovate Finance, which is the trade body for the fintech industry, wants the UK to become the most investment-friendly environment for fintech worldwide by 2020.

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FTSE boosted by takeover deal news

July 29 ,2015 | by Claire Payne

News of confirmed and potential takeover deals have boosted the FTSE 100.

Takeover deals are back at the forefront of investors' minds today (July 29th), following news that acquisitions are set to take place involving UK firms.

Hikma, the pharmaceutical group, has purchased a US drugs company for £1.7 billion, while manufacturing business acquisition specialist Melrose revealed it is to sell portfolio company Elster for £3.3 billion.

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Chinese stocks face sell-off fears as remedial measures fail

July 28 ,2015 | by Erin O’Neill

Measures designed to provide the market a boost have failed in China, triggering renewed stock sell-off fears.

Beijing is struggling to calm the markets as China's financial woes continue.

Shares were down by more than 8% yesterday (July 27th), and this has been compounded by a 1.7% loss today. The situation has raised concerns about the potential for a market meltdown.

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PM Cameron looks to boost Asia trade as UK economy gains momentum

July 27 ,2015 | by Hari Sri

UK prime minister David Cameron is in South-East Asia to boost trade links, helping to further boost a UK economy that is expected to have seen more growth in the second quarter of 2015.

The prime minister has embarked on a trade tour of South-East Asia as he looks to boost trade relations in the region.

David Cameron arrived in Indonesia today (July 27th) accompanied by a delegation of around 30 British business leaders as he looks to form relationships between UK companies and growing Asian markets.

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Amazon overtakes Walmart to become biggest in US retail market

July 24 ,2015 | by Thiago Kiwi

Walmart lags behind Amazon in the US retail market after the online retailer posted surprising financial results for the second quarter.

An unexpected rise in profit means Amazon has overtaken Walmart to become the largest retailer by market capitalisation in the US.

Shares in the online retailer jumped in aftermarket trading on Wall Street yesterday (July 23rd) after it posted quarterly results that surpassed analysts' expectations.

Revenue for the second quarter rose 20 per cent year-on-year to $23.2 billion (£14.9 billion) - exceeding the $22.4 billion average forecast that has been predicted by analysts, the Financial Times reports.

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European stock markets boosted by listed companies reporting strong earnings

July 23 ,2015 | by Hari Sri

Strong results from Credit Suisse and Unilever have helped boost European stock markets.

Stock markets across Europe rose today (23 July) after several major listed companies reported strong earnings figures.

There were early-morning gains for Germany's DAX, the FTSE 100 and France's CAC, as investors reacted positively to financial results from firms such as Unilever and Credit Suisse.

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Business urged to attend UKTI 'ExportJam' to spur British exports

UK Trade and Investment is running nine events around the country aimed at helping businesses break into overseas markets.

UK businesses operating in international markets will have the opportunity to share their ideas on exporting at a series of new events organised by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI).

The body will be running nine ExportJam workshops across the country later this month, with the aim of looking at how the government gives support to companies that sell goods and services around the world.

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City growth boosts UK financial services trade surplus to £62bn

July 21 ,2015 | by Hari Sri

The City of London's growth has helped Britain's financial services trade surplus in 2014 to rise to £62 billion.

London's financial district has been a key player in making the UK the world's biggest exporter of financial services.

UK recorded a trade surplus in financial services of £62 billion in 2014, it's highest ever, according to TheCityUK.

With other related professional services - such as accountancy, legal services and management consultancy - taken into account, the figure rose to £71 billion, helping to offset the increasing trade in goods deficit see in the UK economy.

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UK company dividends surge to £28bn, hit highest levels since 2007

Banks have helped drive dividends paid by UK companies in the second quarter of 2015 to £28.3 billion.

Dividends paid out by UK companies have reached a high not seen since before the financial crisis, with banks leading the way.

New figures from Capita Asset Services show around £28.3 billion was paid out by firms during the second quarter of 2015, rising to £29.2 billion when factoring in special dividends.

The figure is the highest recorded by Capita since it began the process in 2007 and Justin Cooper, chief executive of Shareholder Solutions - a part of Capita - said it would be an "understatement" to say that income investors had enjoyed a "bumper month".

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