“Spain has set off further alarm bells among bond investors and its crisis-hit eurozone neighbours by conceding that its debts will balloon this year to their highest level for two decades. The admission fanned fears that the recession-bound country will lose its battle to stay on top of its debts without reaching for outside bailout funds and knocked Spanish government bond prices. Despite announcing its most austere budget for more than 30 years last week, Spain’s government admitted on Tuesday that the debt-to-GDP ratio will jump to 79.8% in 2012 from 68.5% last year,” according to the Guardian.
“The US Federal Reserve has stepped back from another round of quantitative easing, with only two out of 10 voting members saying it ‘could become necessary’, according to the minutes of its March meeting. That is in marked contrast to January when a ‘few’ members of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee thought that economic conditions could justify another round of asset purchases ‘before long’ and several more thought that additional QE might be needed,” writes the Financial Times.
“The Government should not try to ‘play the stock market’ and must begin the sale of the state’s holding in Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group as soon as possible, according to the Taxpayers’ Alliance. Emma Boon, campaign director of the lobby group, said the Government must look at selling some of its shares in the two state-backed banks even if their value remained below the breakeven price,” the Telegraph says.
“One of the City’s most prominent bankers was fighting to save his reputation last night after being accused of passing on confidential information about a client, in breach of financial rules. Ian Hannam, who became known as the ‘king of mining’ after advising on some of the biggest flotations in the past two decades, vowed to clear his name after stepping down from a senior post at JP Morgan Cazenove, having been fined £450,000 by the Financial Services Authority for market abuse,” according to the Times.
“Leisure giant Whitbread yesterday down-played speculation that it would demerge its Costa Coffee chain despite highly- regarded financial director Chris Rogers being put in charge of the fast-growing brand. Whitbread chief executive Andy Harrison said there was no ‘hidden agenda’ behind the management change and added that Costa’s future lay within Whitbread. However, he declined to rule out a demerger at some stage,” writes the Scotsman.
“The market value of JJB Sports surged by more than a half yesterday after the embattled chain said it was in talks with a ‘potential strategic partner’ that is understood to be a US sports equipment giant. Dick’s Sporting Goods, which has nearly 500 shops in the US, is thought to be in negotiations with JJB about acquiring a minority stake, which would provide it with funds to help safeguard its medium-term future,” reports the Independent.