1 April 2015
Economists and business leaders are not as one on whether the economic policies of the government have been good for Britain.
Labour leader Ed Miliband unveils his party's business manifesto, warning that David Cameron's pledge to hold an EU referendum is "a clear and present danger" to jobs.
The Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, calls for an end to the "toxic blame game" between Greece and Germany.
The number of mortgages being granted across the UK hit a six-month high in February, Bank of England data shows.
That's all from the Business Live page here in New York. Join my colleagues in London from 06:00 tomorrow.
Speaking of cars, here's a 1958 Lincoln Continental, to jog your memories. Mark III, in case you were wondering.
Serial entrepreneur Elon Musk has announced that a "major new Tesla product line", which will be unveiled on 30 April. He adds it is "not a car".
In its latest bid to capture even more of the market, Apple has launched a trade-in scheme through which customers with Android, Blackberry or Windows smartphones can get credit towards a new iPhone, according to 9To5Mac. No word yet on how much the firm is offering for its rivals' handsets.
The EU's 30-year-old milk quotas are coming to an end tomorrow, reports the BBC's Johny Cassidy. "The quotas were first introduced in order to put the brakes on over-production in the 1970s, but the global demand for milk and dairy products means the quotas are stopping UK and EU farmers from cashing in. They finish at midnight tomorrow. End of an era."
Ben Bernanke's first blog, which we mentioned earlier (13:28), has received an enthusiastic endorsement from the New York Times' resident economist Paul Krugman. "The image of the little old lady living hand to mouth off the interest on her bank account is basically a fiction," says Mr Krugman, as he backs up the former Fed chief's defence of low interest rates.
Why are more women buying guns in the US? Business Daily has the answer, with a special report by Jane O'Brien from a women-only club at a Virginia shooting range.
So-called "pending" home sales in the US - contracts that have been signed, but not yet finalised - rose by 3.1% in February, to the highest level since June 2013. The growth was strongest in the Midwest and West, but sales in the South and Northeast fell.
The Lincoln Continental is back. Ahead of the New York Auto Show, Ford announced it would revive the iconic model, which it stopped production of 13 years ago. The luxury brand is popular in China, apparently.
"To maintain economic growth, China is straining to promote innovation, but by enforcing a political chill on Chinese campuses Xi risks suppressing precisely the disruptive thinking that the country needs for the future," writes Evan Osnos in a comprehensive profile of China's president for the New Yorker. "At times, politics prevails over rational calculations," he synopsises.
Profits at Prada tumbled 28% last year as sales took a hit in Europe & Asia; 1st drop since listing in HK 4 years ago.
Eventually, even a centuries-old tradition must yield to modernity. Streit's, which has been baking matzos (unleavened bread eaten by Jews during Passover) in New York's Lower East Side for 90 years, is to close its doors and go digital, moving to a computerised plant outside of Manhattan. It's no small enterprise - annual sales reportedly exceed $20m.
Some important context re: Dreamworks, courtesy of Brent Lang at Variety. The company "is one of the only publicly traded pure-play entertainment companies in the business," he writes, "which means its share price can soar or crash to earth with each film debut. Likewise, prior box office disappointments have resulted in massive writedowns and deep staffing cuts."
Animation studio Dreamworks had a good weekend. Its new release, Home, soared to the top of the US box office on its opening weekend, taking in $54m. Shares are up nearly 9% as a result.
Talking of New York, shares in the company behind one of the Big Apple's landmarks, Madison Square Garden, have shot up by almost 6% this morning. This follows news that the firm will split its sports operations (home to the NY Knicks and Rangers, among others), and its entertainment arm (Billy Joel, et al) into two separate businesses.
The markets are about to open here in New York, but investors have already been handed some unwelcome news. Figures from the US Commerce Department show consumer spending hardly rose at all in February, (a 0.1% increase) with many choosing to put their money in savings instead. This is bad news for the US economy, because spending accounts for more than 65% of economic activity in the country.
That's it from the early team on the Business live page. In an exciting first for our page, it will be hosted this afternoon from New York. Joe Miller is the man at the wheel.
The Daily Show is one of the most influential shows on US television and one of the biggest money makers for the Comedy Central network, owned by Viacom. According to the New York Times, the show's next host will be South African comedian Trevor Noah, after current host Jon Stewart steps down later this year.
The luxury goods firm Richemont, which, among other brands, owns Cartier, is in talks to sell Net-a-Porter, which sells high-end fashion online. Switzerland's Richemont said that it is talking with Italian online retailer Yoox over a possible deal.
The former chief of the US Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, has started a blog. It is hosted by the Brookings Institution and the first post asks: "Why are interest rates so low?" Don't blame the Fed. he says.
Here's a snippet of what the fuss is about - how Labour used business quotes on the EU in today's Financial Times.
Business lobby group the British Chambers of Commerce boss John Longworth responds to Labour's proposals: "The Labour business manifesto sets out a number of sound policies, notably around long-term investment, access to finance, infrastructure and training - all of which are critical to the sort of sustainable, balanced growth that the UK economy needs." But, it goes on: "At the same time, some of the tax and regulatory plans proposed by Labour need a re-think - to ensure these do not negatively affect enterprise and entrepreneurial aspiration."
A Kellogg's spokesman said: "We were told about this on Sunday afternoon and we were really clear that we are not party political. We were concerned about it [the advert]." The spokesman said that "eyebrows were raised internally" about the use of the quote. It appears that the company was told about the advert when it was too late to remove the quote. The quote is from a speech by Jonathan Myers, head of Kellogg's UK and EU operations, made in Manchester in March 2014.
The operator of the German stock market, Deutsche Borse is looking at business deals with China Construction Bank (CCB). Deutsche Borse may give CCB access to trading facilities. In return CCB might boost trading in Chinese currency products in Germany.
David Cameron has just made a speech outside 10 Downing Street in the first day of formal campaigning ahead of the 7 May vote. Mr Cameron said the election presented a "stark choice" between him and Ed Miliband as Prime Minister, warning that a Labour victory would result in "economic chaos".
Live page reader Martin Blagoev writes: I agree entirely that it is a bit easier for young people with connected parents, but in my opinion, there are also plenty of opportunities presented in events such as careers fairs or 'workshops' for schools/colleges run by large companies. As I see it, the problem is that young people are often unwilling to try and reach out because they think it probably won't work anyway. Those with the 'connections', on the other hand, simply don't need to do this as their parents often do it for them!
Ed Miliband defends use of comments from Siemens UK on Europe in FT advert - says they were public comments
Oh dear. It looks like Labour's much trumpeted business manifesto advert in the Financial Times concerning membership of the European Union has ruffled a few feathers. Siemens has told me that the party "over-stepped the mark" when they quoted Juergen Maier, the chief executive of Siemens UK, in the advert.
Gordon Brown tells supporters in Glasgow, Labour will "end austerity" by adding £800m to Scottish departmental spending in 2016/17. Gordon Brown says extra funding will come from bankers' bonus tax, mansion tax and changes to corporation tax & pensions tax relief.
German civil servants and chemical workers followed metalworkers in securing big pay rises. Bodes well for Ger domestic demand and inflation
"For every hour worked we produce 20% less than our competitors in the G7", says Ed Miliband in a speech launching Labour's business manifesto. He wants to close the UK productivity gap with the rest of the world. A "gold standard" vocational baccalaureat would be one of the measures he would introduce if elected to power in May. He also pledges to cut and freeze business rates for small firms.
Staff at the visitor centre of Windsor Castle are to be balloted on industrial action over pay. The dispute involves 120 members of the Public and Commercial Services union, which includes guides and kitchen staff. The union says it is "scandalous" that staff are "appallingly" paid.
Yanis Varoufakis has called for an end to the "toxic blame game" between Greece and Germany. The finance minister made the call as Greece prepares to finalise its list of economic reforms to present to its international creditors.
The new Bank of England stress tests include dealing with a sharp slowdown in China and a eurozone crash. The Bank of England also said the 2015 tests would exclude the Co-operative Bank, which failed last year's health check and is in a deep restructuring programme.
tweets: "Headhunters have been appointed to look for a successor to CBI Director General John Cridland who is standing down from the post."
tweets: "The basic state pension would be £1.15 a week higher from April if the Coalition had not changed the uprating rules "
Business Live earlier mentioned Debrett's and its concern about young talent. It is putting its money where its well-spoken mouth is in doing its bit to help people who don't have an address book full of the well-heeled. It's set up a foundation to boost the chances of the talented but less-well connected.
Teaser for the main German inflation figures due at 12.00GMT. Consumer prices in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia were 0.5% higher in March than in February, and were up 0.2% year-on-year, said the state's statistics office. Brace yourself for the countrywide ones in a few hour's time.
Mortgage approvals hit a six-month high in February. In total 61,760 mortgages were approved in February, a rise for the third month in a row, according to Bank of England figures.
In Italy after three years of recession there are indications of business and consumer confidence rising sharply. # Italy
The Conservatives respond to Labour's effort to woo business: "It is also ridiculous for Labour to claim they are on the side of British business. Labour's plans to raise corporation tax would cost people their jobs, put firms under pressure and hit our economy hard... The Conservative Party believes that Britain's relationship with Europe isn't working and needs to change," a government spokesperson said.
As Greece and its international creditors argue over the nation's bailout, a letter to the FT muses on whether Grexodus is a better term than Grexit (shorthand for Greece leaving the euro). Exit is Latin, exodus Greek in origin, says Desmond Lachman of the American Enterprise Institute.
Mr Miliband hopes that Labour's pro-EU policy will be a win with many businesses and is clear dividing line with the Conservatives. It will be for businesses - and voters - to decide if that is the case.
Each day the new programme will feature a top boss. Today's is Cathy Engelbert who this month became boss of Deloitte. Her answer to whether big businesses have overcomplicated their tax strategies by moving money offshore? "Companies are looking to be competitive globally. If that means they will pay the lowest tax rate that's what they will do. We're helping companies juggle that."
The new programme leads with the big story of the day - Greece and its debt. Greece will run out of money in April if it doesn't get €7.2bn. Thanos Vamvakidis, from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, says the rest of Europe has the upper hand in these talks.
Kingfisher has dropped its plan to buy French DIY chain Mr Bricolage. It had had a binding agreement with principle Mr Bricolage shareholders last July, as long as anti-trust hurdles were cleared by the end of March. They have not been. The deal is off.
"Fair point", says Deputy PM Nick Clegg, frank in acknowledging he hasn't detailed all of his spending commitments. "We haven't crossed all the t's and dotted all the i's yet in public," he says, "But we will."
Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna says the UK's EU membership is "the most important thing" for business. He says a Labour government would be "deeply engaged, working to ensure we get the best out of Europe for Britain". And he claims that David Cameron has presided over a decline in the UK's influence in the EU.
The BBC's new daily business programme launches this morning. Here's the studio waiting for action. Kick off at 08.30 BST. To come: Greece's debt discussions plus an interview with Deloitte's boss.
Young people from poorer backgrounds are losing out to better connected people in the battle to find a job, according to posh people's handbook Debrett's. Its chief executive Joanne Milner says that in her day people would take two or three placements before finding full time work, but now on average people are taking seven work placements to find a job. "Internships are more readily available to the better connected," she said.
Unless you have ticked a box saying that information can be shared, then companies are obliged to keep your data private, says information commissioner Christopher Graham. But, given new pension freedoms, his office is concerned that pension selling and the accessing of pension information could be the "next PPI scandal".
The front page of today's Daily Mail reads "Your pension secrets sold to conmen for 5 pence". "On the face of it, it is a very serious breach of the data protection act," said Christopher Graham the Information Commissioner on Today. His office is investigating allegations that financial information is being passed on without customers' knowledge. Individuals involved could potentially be in "deep trouble" he said.
Rolls-Royce has announced a new order worth $1bn from Air China for its Trent 1000 engines, plus service contracts. They will be used on the 15 of the airline's new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner craft.
More from the newspapers. The Telegraph business section reports that Nationwide is planning to invest £300m in its branch network, while rivals are cutting back on branches. The Telegraph also says that Tesco has begun selling land that was earmarked for new stores.
The Financial Times leads with an expected bid later today by Labour leader Ed Miliband to win over business. He will stress his party's pro-Europe stance and will contrast that with Conservative plans for a referendum, should they win power, the FT says. The Times says the Treasury has criticised the Office for National Statistics of "sloppiness". Sports Direct has a dysfunctional board and does not check firm's founder Mike Ashley, that's according the Guardian which quotes an executive at the Institute of Directors.
Australian airlines flying more than 50 passengers will have two crew members in the cockpit at all times. Australia's deputy prime minister, Warren Truss, said: "It would apply to the larger propeller-driven aircraft and all of the jet aircraft operating under Australian air certificates." Many countries have instituted such a rule following the crash of a Germanwings aircraft in the French Alps.
Business lobby group the CBI says the financial services industry is feeling a bit more chipper these days. It says financial services firms are more optimistic about the future than at any time in the last 15 months. But on Today John Cridland, director general of the CBI , says profits in the banking industry are under pressure. That's due to competition and regulatory costs. As a result the banking industry is cutting jobs, says Mr Cridland.
Thanos Vamvakidis, Greek economist from BofA Merrill Lynch is "confident" that Greece can avoid a chaotic exit from the euro. Bailout talks are deadlocked because Greece has not promised enough economic reform - for example over the labour market. But they have not also supplied a detailed timetable of when reforms will be put into place.
The Bank of England is likely to outline a wider range of scenarios that banks must be able to withstand, including shocks from a slowdown in emerging markets, volatile commodity prices and the Chinese economy. That's according to Paul Sharma a former deputy head of the UK's Prudential Regulation Authority and now managing director with Alvarez & Marsal on Wake Up to Money.
An investigation has been launched into claims that the details of millions of people's pensions are being sold to fraudsters and cold-calling firms. Information about people's salaries, the value of their investments and the size of their pensions is being sold for as little as 5p, without consent, the Daily Mail said. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said it would be speaking to regulators and the police.
tweets: "Morning all...a busy day ahead with the launch of our new show! #Greece is our top story. Plus #JackLew in #China and #crowdfunding." The new programme begins at 08.30.
Stress tests feature on Wake Up to Money as the Bank of England sets out new tougher tests to see if our banks can cope with a crisis.
Good morning. Another Business Live week begins. Greece and its finances are one of the leading topics this Monday. We'll be keeping a beady eye on that - and everything else.
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Last Updated at 05:22 ET
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