News Column

TOP NEWS: ICAP Faces European Commission Fine Over Yen Libor

June 10, 2014



LONDON (Alliance News) - The following is a summary of top news stories Tuesday.

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COMPANIES

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Brokerage ICAP PLC could now be hit by fines from the European Commission over the manipulation of yen Libor rates, after it said it has received a so-called statement of objections from the EU's executive body, which it said it intends to fight vigorously. The company has already been fined by US and UK regulators, which said its brokers helped certain bank traders to manipulate the Japanese yen London interbank offered rate. A statement of objections is a formal step in European Commission antitrust investigations in which the Commission informs the parties concerned in writing of the objections raised against them.

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British supermarket chain Tesco PLC said Tesco Bank has launched its first current account. Tesco Bank was created as a joint venture with Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC in 1997 and has been wholly owned by Tesco since December 2008. It serves six million customers in the UK. Tesco said the launch of the current account means that Tesco Bank now offers a full range of retail banking and insurance products. Previously, it had offered savings accounts and consumer loans but not a current account. "The account has been designed after listening to more than 20,000 customers, and includes all the key features that matter most to them," Tesco said in a statement

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The US Supreme Court ruled Monday that British oil giant BP PLC must continue paying compensation for damage done by the April 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico while the company appeals terms of its settlement with some businesses. The US Supreme Court said it will not interfere with a lower court's decision requiring BP to restart payments.

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Imperial Tobacco PLC said it will float its European logistics business, Logista, on the Spanish stock exchanges. The FTSE 100-listed cigarettes and tobacco company had said back in February that it was reviewing its options in relation to a potential IPO of CompaÑia de DistribuciÓn Integral Logista SA. In a short statement Tuesday, Imperial Tobacco said that it will launch an IPO of Logista via Imperial's indirect wholly-owned subsidiary Altadis SAU. The tobacco company said it will sell a portion of its shares to institutional investors, but will retain the majority of Logista shares.

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Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC said it has won a GBP50 million contract to deliver deck machinery for four large anchor handlers for Edison Chouest Offshore. Rolls-Royce said the vessels are designed by North American Shipbuilder Inc and will be built in Brazil by Estaleiro Navship LTDA.

The vessels have been developed to operate specifically in Brazilian waters under an eight-year contract with Petrobras, though they will meet all demands for world-wide operations, said the FTSE 100-listed company.

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The London Stock ExchangeGroup PLC is close to buying US index compiler and asset manager, Russell Investments, in a deal worth approximately USD2.8 billion, the Financial Times reported late Monday. The deal would substantially increase the UK group's US operations, said the newspaper, reporting that the two sides have now reached a tentative agreement on the price and structure of the deal and are planning to announce the agreement later this month, citing people familiar with the situation.

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Lonmin PLC said the talks set up by the South African Minister of Mineral Resources to solve the ongoing strikes that are crippling the platinum mining industry in the country and weighing on its economic growth dissolved without an outcome. Miners Lonmin, Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd and Anglo American Platinum Ltd, a subsidiary of Anglo American PLC met Monday with representatives of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, on the last day for talks set up by Minister of Mineral Resources Ngoako Ramatlhodi to solve the wage strikes in the country, now in a 21st week.

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KentzCorp Ltd said it has been awarded a services contract, valued at USD125 million, by Qatargas Operating Co Ltd for a new wastewater facility at the Qatargas Liquefied Natural Gas Plant in the Ras Laffan Industrial City, Qatar. The oil services company said its scope of work on the contract is to supply process engineering, procurement, installation, construction, and commissioning services to provide wastewater recycling and reduction facilities for four LNG trains.

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MARKETS

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London's stock indices are lower across the board amid more thin volumes. The FTSE 100 came close to a fresh all-time high on Monday, but failed to make it for the second time in a month. Volumes in London remain low.

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FTSE 100: down 0.6% at 6837.63

FTSE 250: down 0.2% at 16189.3

AIM ALL-SHARE: down 0.3% at 802.97

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The pound has slipped back against the dollar having earlier gained ground following the release of data showing UK industrial production expanded at a faster pace in April.

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GBP-USD: down at USD1.6785

EUR-USD: down at USD1.3540



GOLD: up at USD1252.8 per ounce

OIL (Brent): flat at USD109.91 a barrel



(changes since end of previous GMT day)

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ECONOMICS AND GENERAL

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UK industrial production expanded at a faster pace in April, the Office for National Statistics reported. Industrial output gained 0.4% in April from March, when it grew by revised 0.1%. The rate matched economists' expectations. The increase in total production reflected increase of 0.4% in manufacturing, the fifth consecutive increase since November 2013. Manufacturing output growth also came in line with expectations. On a yearly basis, industrial production grew 3% versus 2.5% in March. This was the eighth consecutive increase since August 2013. At the same time, manufacturing output advanced 4.4%.

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The total value of like-for-like sales in the UK was up 0.5% on year in May, the British Retail Consortium said. That was well shy of forecasts for an increase of 1.6% following the 4.2% gain in April. Total sales were up an annual 2.0%. In the three months ending in May, like-for-like sales were up 0.8% on year, while total sales gained 2.3%. Like-for-like food sales were down 2.2%, while non-food sales jumped 3.2%. Through the first five months of the year, like sales gained 1.2% and total sales jumped 2.7%.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel restated her support for former Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker as new president of the European Commission as an informal summit of four European centre-right leaders closed. "For me, Jean-Claude Juncker is the candidate for the commission, and I want him as president of the commission," she said. Merkel underlined the need to act "in a European spirit" and that "threats are not part and parcel of that spirit."

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Consumer prices in China were up 2.5% on year in May, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

That was slightly above expectations for 2.4% and up from 1.8% in April. Among the individual components of inflation, food prices were up 4.0% on year and non-food prices gained just 2.0%. The bureau also noted that producer prices fell 1.4% on year versus forecasts for -1.5% after falling 2.0% in the previous month. On a monthly basis, consumer prices added 0.1% and producer prices fell 0.1%.

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Five NATO troops and an Afghan soldier were killed in a friendly-fire incident in southern Afghanistan, Afghan officials and Taliban said. The NATO-led international military alliance said the soldiers were killed Monday in the southern part of the country, but did not give details on the nationalities of the deceased soldiers or the exact location of the incident. Afghan police said that NATO aircraft bombed the soldiers. "They were returning from an operation launched in Gazak area of Arghandab district last night and faced a Taliban ambush," said Ghulam Sakhi Roghlewanay, the Zabul provincial police chief.

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Suspected militants have attempted to storm a building adjacent to Pakistan's largest airport, the same facility where Taliban fighters killed 28 civilians and security officials in a night-long gun battle this weekend, according to media reports. Authorities suspended all flights and closed roads leading to Karachi'sJinnah International Airport after gunmen fired shots at guards at the entrance of a residential colony for airport security forces, Dunya television reported. Television footage showed troops from the paramilitary Rangers and elite police commandos rushing the area in vehicles.

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Nigerian authorities launched an investigation to find 22 girls and young women abducted by suspected members of Islamist extremist sect Boko Haram. Gunmen in military uniforms on Monday kidnapped the girls and women in the village of Dikway, which is located near Chibok, the village from where Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 teenagers on April 14. Three villagers who tried to stop the kidnapping were also abducted, witnesses told local broadcaster Television Continental.

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A safety corridor will be created to allow civilians to flee the ongoing fighting in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian President Petro Poroschenko said. The corridor will allow anti-terror operations in the region against pro-Russian separatists to continue without endangering noncombatant lives, the president's office said in a statement. Fighting continued in the areas of Luhansk and Donetsk, between government troops and separatists who say they do not recognize the Western-backed government

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Israel's Knesset will elect a new president of the country on Tuesday to replace outgoing leader Shimon Peres, in a race that has been rife with smear campaigns. Over the weekend, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, a former general and defence minister from the Labour party, pulled out of the race, amid corruption accusations, which he denies. This could make it easier for Reuven Rivlin, a former Knesset speaker from the right-wing Likud party, to be elected.

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Source: Alliance News


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