Friday newspaper round-up: Business confidence, Brexit, chicken scandal, BT

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Friday newspaper round-up: Business confidence, Brexit, chicken scandal, BT

Fri, 29 September 2017
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Friday newspaper round-up: Business confidence, Brexit, chicken scandal, BT

(ShareCast News) - Business confidence is rising but still at its second-lowest level this year, according to the latest survey from Lloyds Bank's business barometer. Britain's biggest high street lender said that the reading rose by six points this month to 23 per cent. Economic confidence among businesses surveyed rose by 7 points to 12 per cent, though this was also at the second-lowest level this year. - The Times
Consumers have defied expectations that their economic confidence would falter and cause a slowdown in spending, according to figures released today. The GfK consumer confidence index rose a point to -9, up from a negative balance of -10 in August and building on an upward shift of two points in July. - Telegraph

The Brexit negotiations could be in a stalemate for months unless the UK agrees to honour all its financial commitments, the EU's chief negotiator has suggested at the end of the latest round of talks. A "new dynamic" had been created by Theresa May's speech in Florence last week, Michel Barnier said during a press conference with the Brexit secretary, David Davis. - Guardian

The largest supplier of chicken to UK supermarkets has been tampering with food safety records in moves that could dupe consumers into buying meat past its use-by date. An investigation by the Guardian and ITV News recorded undercover footage of workers altering the slaughter date of poultry being processed at a 2 Sisters Food Group plant. The group produces a third of all poultry products eaten in the UK and supplies top grocers including Tesco, Sainsbury's, Marks & Spencer, Aldi and Lidl. - Guardian

Tensions between the United States and North Korea are now so high that war is "a real possibility" that Britain must prepare for, a respected defence think tank has warned. Such a conflict would result in "hundreds of thousands" of casualties, severely disrupt the global economy, and have profound implications for the political and diplomatic landscape of East Asia, the report for the Royal United Services Institute said. - Telegraph

The end to almost fifty years of Brussels protectionism this weekend is set to shake up Britain's sugar industry - with the potential for boom or bust for producers. But there's a sweetener for consumers, as prices are expected to fall. The European Union is abolishing its system of quotas and minimum pricing for sugar from Sunday 1 October, in one of the biggest changes for British agriculture in recent years that sugar beet growers and AB Foods' refiner British Sugar expect to allow them to increase production by 50% annually. - Guardian

Ryanair has been ordered to tell hundreds of thousands of passengers how it proposes to provide alternatives to cancelled flights by 5pm on Friday. As criticism of the Ryanair's treatment of affected passengers intensified, the aviation regulator told the Irish airline to explain how it will reroute passengers and email all those affected by Wednesday to explain their options. - Guardian

BT could be forced to stump up an extra £2 billion over the next two years to reduce its growing pension deficit, posing a cashflow problem for the telecom group, a leading credit rating agency has warned. Moody's said that the extra cash needed to plug the gap in its pension fund - Britain's largest private sector scheme - would have a negative impact on the group's overall credit rating, which has already been cut repeatedly. - The Times

The future of Ford's Bridgend plant has been thrown into further doubt after luxury car maker Jaguar Land Rover revealed it was bringing forward the end of a contract to produce engines at the Welsh site. JLR, the UK's biggest car producer, will terminate its contract with Ford "slightly earlier than expected" in 2020, the US car giant said. It is thought the deal will now end in September 2020, as opposed to December of that year. - Telegraph

The Government's flagship welfare reforms have been thrown into jeopardy after 12 Conservative MPs wrote a private letter to the Work and Pensions Secretary demanding a pause in the roll-out of Universal Credit. The Telegraph understands that the 12 MPs, led by Heidi Allen, have warned David Gauke not to go ahead with a planned tenfold increase in the roll-out of Universal Credit.

Brompton has recalled three years' worth of fold-up bikes due to faulty brackets, an issue its chief executive said he has been aware of for three months, but one which he called a "hassle, a pain". The manufacturer said it was recalling all of its bikes that were made between April 2014 and May 2017, totalling 144,000 bikes. - Telegraph

Wood burning is set to be banned in some urban areas to reduce air pollution under proposed restrictions that would be the strongest in Europe. Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, is seeking powers to prohibit all burning of wood in parts of the capital with poor air quality. He also wants tighter curbs on wood-burning stoves, with only low- emission versions allowed to stay on sale. - The Times

Struggling rent-to-own retailer Brighthouse has hoisted a 'for sale' sign over the business amid mounting financial pressures. The company, owned by private equity firm Vision Capital, has retained advisers at Rothschild and will start a sales process in mid-October as it races to refinance £220m of bonds that are due next year. - Telegraph

NASDAQ 100 Top Risers

Name Last Chg.% Time
Baidu Inc. 272.82 3.86 22:58
Wynn Resorts Ltd. 146.81 3.15 22:50
Micron Technology Inc. 41.49 2.70 23:09
JD.com, Inc. 39.67 2.45 23:05
Applied Materials Inc. 55.04 2.04 23:03

NASDAQ 100 Top Fallers

Name Last Chg.% Time
Mercadolibre Inc. 233.00 -4.86 23:02
Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc. 193.70 -2.46 22:58
Intuitive Surgical Inc. 353.55 -2.41 22:58
Liberty Global Plc Lilac Class A 22.77 -2.40 22:28
J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. 101.64 -2.28 22:28