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.

The Bank of England has welcomed a “crucial and positive” move by the EU to help keep a key part of the financial system functioning in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit.

A handful of banks will be forced to write multimillion pound cheques to buy shares in the construction giant Kier Group after some of its biggest investors snubbed the chance to take part in a £250m fundraising.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is to merge its consumer healthcare unit with that of rival Pfizer, to create a new market leader with almost £10bn in annual sales.

 

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

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UK finance minister calls for business support after Brexit in Davos

UK finance minister-GBO

British finance minister Phillip Hammond will try to convince business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos to invest in the country after Brexit

Hammond is due to tell an event hosted by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in which he will state: “Britain is a great place to do business. And we are determined, as we leave the EU, to make sure it remains that way.”

Hammond is also flagging up $131mn in government funding for 1,000 new doctoral research places focused on artificial intelligence for use in public hospitals, voice-recognition software and pollution monitoring.

However, British businesses remain deeply concerned by the government’s refusal to rule out a ‘no deal’ Brexit which would entail lengthy delays for cross-border trade if it cannot get parliamentary support for its preferred withdrawal plan.

CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn warned of “another bleak day for British business” on Monday after Prime Minister Theresa May announced little substantive change to her Brexit plans, less than a week after they suffered an historic defeat in parliament.

On Tuesday James Dyson, a billionaire Brexit supporter who revolutionised vacuum cleaners with his bagless technology, said he was moving his head office to Singapore from Britain to be closer to his company’s fastest-growing markets.

“Instead of swanning around amongst the rich in Davos, Philip Hammond should tell the prime minister to take No Deal off the table,” opposition Labour finance spokesman John McDonnell stated.

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