Hargreaves Lansdown

Tuesday newspaper round-up: Brexit dinner, Spain, Interserve, Lloyds

Tue 17 October 2017 07:11 | A A A

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(ShareCast News) - Theresa May's hopes of breaking a deadlock in Brexit talks appeared to be given a boost after she and Jean-Claude Juncker agreed to "accelerate" negotiations. The Prime Minister flew out to dinner with Mr Juncker, the President of the European Commission, after a Brexit charm offensive with other EU leaders ahead of a summit on Thursday. - Telegraph

Theresa May's last-ditch attempt to persuade European leaders to open talks on a transition period look doomed to fail as Downing Street appeared to rule out fresh concessions on the UK's divorce bill and Brussels hardened its approach days away from a crunch summit. Calls to the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the Irish taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, along with a 90-minute dinner in Brussels with the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, and his chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, failed to move the dial in the prime minister's favour, with senior diplomats insisting the UK had not done enough. - Guardian

European leaders are deliberately stalling on a deal that would protect the rights of EU and British citizens after Brexit to wring further financial concessions from Theresa May, government sources claimed last night. Senior figures close to negotiations said that an agreement to safeguard the rights of three million EU citizens living in the UK was "almost done". - The Times

Urgent progress is needed on a Brexit transition period to prevent City firms implementing contingency plans that could put up to 75,000 UK financial services sector jobs at risk, a leading industry lobby group has warned. In a plea to negotiators ahead of the n meeting later this week, TheCityUK also said that the stakes are high for the remaining 27 EU nations, where jobs and inward investment will be at risk if a two-year transition period cannot be agreed quickly. - Guardian

Spain has signalled a hardening line over Catalonia by jailing the leaders of two of the largest separatist organisations in a move seen as taking Madrid closer to imposing central rule over Catalonia. In the first imprisonment of senior secessionist figures since Catalonia's 1 October independence referendum, the court ordered the heads of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and independence group Omnium to be held without bail pending an investigation for alleged sedition. - Guardian/Reuters

North Korea's deputy UN ambassador has warned that the situation on the Korean peninsula "has reached the touch-and-go point and a nuclear war may break out any moment". Kim In-ryong told the UN general assembly's disarmament committee that North Korea is the only country in the world that has been subjected to "such an extreme and direct nuclear threat" from the United States since the 1970s and said the country has the right to possess nuclear weapons in self-defence. - Guardian/AP

Chinese state oil companies have written to Saudi Aramco offering to buy up to 5 per cent of its shares and bypass its planned stock market float. Petrochina and Sinopec have expressed interest in a direct deal with the Saudi national oil giant, Reuters reported yesterday. - The Times

Interserve will report to the stock market as early as tomorrow on the depths of its financial crisis after it emerged that it had brought in restructuring accountants from EY, sending its shares to record lows. The construction company, which also acts as an outsourced caretaker and cleaning contractor, was forced yesterday to issue a statement, albeit a brief one, on the news that EY had been hired at the behest of HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland, its two main bankers. - The Times

World petrol demand will peak within 13 years thanks to the impact of electric cars and more efficient engines, energy experts have predicted. UK-based Wood Mackenzie said it expected the take-up of electric vehicles to cut gasoline demand significantly, particularly beyond 2025 as the battery-powered cars go mainstream. - Guardian

Palladium, a silvery metal used in catalytic converters for petrol cars, has become one of the star commodities of the year, hitting $1,000 an ounce for the first time since 2001. The metal, mined primarily in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Russia, has risen 48pc this year, making it the best performing precious metal. - Telegraph

A car finance lending binge by Lloyds has left it dangerously exposed to a downturn in the market, experts warn.

Britain's banks collectively have £24billion of exposure to motor loans, and Lloyds has been the most enthusiastic adopter. - Mail

The City watchdog is investigating an American investment bank over claims that senior managers improperly interfered with the work of analysts in its research department, an employment tribunal was told yesterday. Jefferies is facing claims from Milan Radia, one of its former leading analysts, that he was forced to change a report under pressure from a potential client of the bank and that he was asked to attend float pitches, in breach of market rules. - The Times

Big four accountancy firm EY has been fined £2.75m for a series of mistakes in the auditing of a tech company's accounts five years ago. EY and one of its partners, Julian Gray, admitted that their conduct "fell significantly short" of industry standards in relation to the accounts of Tech Data (formerly Computer 2000 Distribution) for the year ending January 2012. - Telegraph

European aircraft giant Airbus is buying a majority stake in Bombardier's C Series programme. The two aircraft manufacturers announced the partnership on Monday evening, weeks after Bombardier was hit by a 300% import levy by the United States following a complaint from rival Boeing that the company had dumped its C Series jets at "absurdly low" prices. - Guardian

A major shareholder in Millennium & Copthorne hotels has accused the firm's independent directors of settling for a knock-down price for the business after an offer to take it private emerged last week. Fidelity International, which owns just under 3pc of the company, making it its fifth biggest shareholder, was on Monday trying to galvanise support from other minority shareholders in order to convince the company's management to think again about recommending the offer. - Telegraph

Airline EasyJet yesterday submitted a bid for some of Alitalia's assets. The low-cost carrier revealed its intentions after an earlier announcement by Lufthansa which said it hoped to establish a 'new Alitalia' and that it had also put in an offer for parts of the insolvent airline. - Mail

Theresa May will receive a much-needed Brexit boost today as plans are unveiled for a £1bn investment in the West Midlands train network. Dutch transport giant Abellio has placed a bumper order for more than 100 trains as part of a hi-tech upgrade of the franchise, which covers routes in the West Midlands, as well as from London Euston to Crewe, and Liverpool to Birmingham. - Telegraph

Companies remain worryingly unprepared for new data protection rules that will impose huge fines on organisations that mishandle the personal data of customers, users, employees and associates, the Institute of Directors has warned. The general data protection regulation is huge in scope. It is an attempt to introduce unified rules across the European Union about how organisations create, capture, store and share personal information for the first time since the 1990s' global explosion of digital data. - The Times

Netflix netted its best third quarter on record for subscriber growth as it said it will continue to pump more money into its original programming to ward off growing competition in the market. The streaming service added 5.3 million subscribers in the three month period, a 49pc increase from last year and ahead of its guidance for 4.4 million subscribers, thanks to better-than-expected growth in both the US and internationally. - Telegraph

Insurance giant Legal & General has agreed to buy pet insurer Buddies with the hope of cashing in on Britain's love for cats and dogs. The FTSE 100 company said it would be purchasing the Northamptonshire-based business, which was set up by husband and wife Marianne Metaxas and Avi Levine in 2000, for an undisclosed sum as part of a wider ambition to expand into the rapidly growing pet insurance space. - Telegraph

The investment firm behind the collapsed Monarch airline should help repay the £60m cost of the repatriation of its customers, the transport secretary has told MPs.The Civil Aviation Authority operated more than 500 flights over the past two weeks to return 110,000 Monarch passengers home after the airline went into administration on 2 October. - Guardian

Staff at Capita are planning to stage a nine-day strike over pension terms after talks between the company and the union broke down. Union Unite said on Monday that last minute talks with mediation firm Acas had failed, and so staff represented by the union would be walking out between October 28 and November 5. - Telegraph

The withdrawal of the old £1 coin was mired in chaos on Monday after it emerged that thousands of parking ticket machines and shops have yet to fall into line with the new rules. Car parks serving as many as one million motorists a day have defied the Royal Mint's deadline for updating their machines to accept the new coin. - Telegraph

Lidl is creating 500 new jobs as it gears up to open its largest UK distribution centre in Peterborough as part of its plans to invest £1.45bn in the country over the next two years. The German discounter, which recently overtook Waitrose to become the UK's seventh biggest grocer, said that the new site would be its 15th distribution centre and will supply groceries and non-food items to the nearby area. - Telegraph

New peerages will have a 15-year time limit under a plan to shrink the House of Lords. The Lords has almost 800 members, making it the second largest legislative chamber in the world after the National People's Congress of China, but pressure has grown on the government to reduce its size. - The Times

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