=Philip Clarke survived his third annual meeting as chief executive of Tesco. Will he be there for a fourth? Half the City is playing the game of fantasy chief executive, and some former Tesco directors have been muttering darkly about Clarke's supposed strategic errors and how the company's woes shouldn't be dumped on former boss Sir
Clarke certainly has made mistakes. He should have binned Leahy's US folly, the Fresh & Easy chain in the US, immediately.
But shareholders have good reason to ditch Clarke only if they believe his
"Be in no doubt, reducing prices doesn't result in an immediate increase in sales," said Clarke yesterday. "These things take time." In other words, he is not the man to launch a price war. He is seeking "the right blend of price, quality, range and service", as he put it in February.
The sermon sounds complacent. The view from the tills, as expressed by one shareholder-employee yesterday, is that customers don't want vouchers and "price promises", they want lower prices.
Do Tesco shareholders really want to sanction a price war, which would mean accepting a lower share price, at least in the short-term? Most, one suspects, are not convinced by Clarke's strategy but still hope he might be proved correct. Another profits warning would force them to get off the fence. If it doesn't happen, Clarke ought to be safe. But a warning after three years of heavy capital investment would surely force a strategic rethink.
=Another day, another message from the governor of the Bank of
An "old normal" rate was 5%, he told the Today programme, but the world has changed.
One can understand why Carney wants to return attention to the Bank's "big picture" view that increases in rates will be "gradual and limited". It was a mistake to ignite a debate on the actual timing of the first rise, as Carney did in his Mansion House speech when he made the electrifying remark that the moment could come "sooner than markets currently expect".
Inevitably, the comment would be over-analysed, notwithstanding the get-out clauses. Equally inevitably, Carney would be obliged to clarify, or at least emphasise, the uncertainties in the data. As a result, MP
What to make of this latest talk of the "new normal" being 2.5%? The precision jars. The Bank's forecasting record on the economy is poor. It is perfectly possible that bank rate could be stuck at 1.5% in early 2017 if growth in wages continues to be sluggish and if the eurozone is still in a funk. On the other hand, one can imagine the "new normal" being close to the "old normal" if events turn out differently.
="I have always made it clear that cultural change will take time," says
Perfectly true. Jenkins has often said his admirable ethical crusade is a five- to 10-year affair and that there will be "challenges" along the way. Even so, copping a big fine for running a dodgy "dark pool" would look naive.
To recap, the
That the supposed fish are actually big institutional investors, who ought to know to carry shark-protection equipment, is beside the point. Schneiderman's main allegation is that
Jenkins has dispatched the group's general counsel and brought in "substantial external resource" to establish the facts. A full response will follow. "If there has been wrongdoing, we will address it quickly and decisively," he says.
Fine, but if wrongdoing is admitted or proved, Jenkins will have to explain how
Regulators have made no secret of their wish to peer into these dark, or private, trading pools. The US securities and exchange commission has been running an investigation for the past year.
Central bankers have been fretting about ultra-fast computer trading since the "flash crash" on
In short, the warning lights for operators of dark pools should have been written in neon.
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