Jan 17 The following are the top stories on the
business pages of British newspapers. Reuters has not verified
these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
BANKS MUST SELL 'SIGNIFICANT' NUMBER OF BRANCHES, SAYS ED
Ed Miliband will promise to create at least two new
challenger lenders by forcing Britain's biggest high street
banks to sell a "significant" number of branches. The Labour
leader claims that, if elected, one of his first acts would be
to order the Competition and Markets Authority to produce a
report on how to cap the market share of the big banks and
encourage new competitors. Miliband's keynote speech at the
University of London has been widely leaked in advance, but
details released on Thursday made clear the scale and speed of
his proposed reforms.
HSBC FACES 70 BLN STG CAPITAL HOLE, WARN HONG KONG ANALYSTS
HSBC could have overstated its assets by more than
50 billion pounds and ultimately need a capital injection of
close to 70 billion pounds before the end of this decade,
according to an incendiary report published by a Hong Kong-based
ARGOS AND DIXONS TRIUMPH DURING CHRISTMAS SALES AS ONLINE
Argos and Dixons have emerged as winners
from the Christmas battle of Britain's retailers, as booming
online orders drove sales. Sales at Argos stores open a year or
more rose 3.8 percent to 1.8 billion pounds in the trading
period covering Christmas while equivalent sales at Dixons in
the UK and Ireland jumped 5 percent.
GOLDMAN SACHS PAYS EMPLOYEES AVERAGE OF $383,000 AFTER
PROFITS RISE 5 PCT
Goldman Sachs Group Inc paid its bankers an average
of $383,000 in 2013, after profits for the year rose by 5
percent to $8 billion. Putting a fresh focus on the debate over
bankers' pay, Goldman's 32,900 global employees will be told the
size of their individual bonuses on Thursday.
FINANCIAL ADVISERS LOSE THEIR TICKETS TO LUXURY
Overseas junkets, luxury hotel jollies masquerading as
"training weekends" and invitations to top sporting events are
to be outlawed amid a crackdown on inducements offered by
insurers and fund managers to financial advisers.
GROWTH IN CYCLING KEEPS HALFORDS IN GOOD HEALTH
Halfords Group Plc hailed an "excellent" Christmas
as festive sales of children's bicycles kept its recovery firmly
on track. The car parts and bicycle retailer, which in November
announced a return to profit growth, said like-for-like retail
sales rose 5.9 percent over the 15 weeks to January 10 - driven
by a 20 percent rise across its cycle ranges.
MIKE ASHLEY SWAPS DEBENHAMS SHARE STAKE FOR OPTIONS IN
Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley's Sports Direct
investment in Debenhams took another twist on Thursday
as it sold its 4.6 percent share stake in the struggling
department stores chain but took a complex financial option,
which could see it buy an even larger stake at a cheaper price.
REBALANCING THE ECONOMY WILL TAKE YEARS, WARNS VINCE CABLE
Business secretary Vince Cable has admitted the government's
industrial strategy to rebalance the economy away from its
dependence on financial services might need more than a decade
to "take root".