Stock markets have retreated again over worries of further US interest rate rises after the Federal Reserve defied Donald Trump to increase rates for the fourth time this year.

The EU has confirmed it is “actively investigating” a potential breach of its diplomatic communications network, following reports that secret cables had been stolen by hackers.

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Santander has been fined more than £30m for “serious failings” in processing the accounts of dead customers, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says.

BRANDS FINANCE

Owner of Wrangler and Lee jeans considering selling the brands

VF Corp is considering a sale or spinoff of its denim business –which could be valued at several billion dollars.

VF Corp, which owns both Wrangler and Lee, is considering a sale or spinoff of its denim business, according to what sources reported to The Wall Street Journal on Friday. The apparel and footwear company also owns smaller brands Rustlers and Rock & Republic.

Based on the denim business’ sales, it could be valued at several billion dollars. The division posted $2.66 bn in sales and $422 mn in profit last year. Since 2015 though, sales have fallen 5 % and profit has fallen 2 %. The decline is credit in part due to the rise and popularity of yoga pants— which have become a very popular alternative to jeans, and have cut into their sales.

The decline in VF’s denim business has paralleled overall industry trends. Jeans sales in the US were $16.2 bn last year– a decrease from 2013– when the industry had $18.8 bn in total sales.

VF Corp shares rose following news of the potential sale or spinoff, reaching a 52-week high of $97.

Last month, the company reported fiscal first-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street analysts’ expectations. VF’s other prominent brands include sneaker brand Vans, outerwear retailer The North Face and boots maker Timberland.

In March, the company announced plans to sell the Nautica apparel brand. The move was warmly greeted by investors, and VF’s stock climbed more than 50 % in the past year.

VF representatives have not commented on the matter as of now.

-GBO Correspondent.

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