AOL MAY have just announced the biggest corporate loss ever, $98bn, but don't tell that to the UK's ...
AOL MAY have just announced the biggest corporate loss ever, $98bn, but don't tell that to the UK's house buyers, who are still pushing prices up at a record pace according to the latest Nationwide survey.
It says inflation ran a 26.5% in the year to January, the fastest rate since 1989, and evidence that completely contradicts what some other market observers have been saying in recent weeks.
However, Nationwide is also forecasting a slowdown from this high rate, the FT reports, with predictions that it will drop to 10% on an annualised basis by the end of this year.
WHAT COULD puncture homeowners' dreams is the news that chancellor Gordon Brown may have to put up taxes by an additional £11bn in order to counteract the effects of the falling stock market, according to figures from the Institute of Fiscal Studies.
The Times reports that the intra-day low of less than 3,400 points hit yesterday indicates a massive "black hole" is opening up in public finance revenues.
The IFS also says Brown may have to increase taxes anyway, even if the stock market and the wider economy recover this year if he is to keep to his spending plans and stick to his own rules for public finances.
A SIGN of the troubles falling share prices is causing came through yesterday's rushed stock exchange announcement from Britannic, which denied it is close to breaching its solvency margins, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Its shares had fallen nearly 30% before the announcement was put out, and it finished the day down 12% at a new 16-year low price of 101p per share – they are down 70% since the start of the year.
The rot hit a swathe of peers, however, including Standard Life, which lost its AAA rating from Standard & Poor's, which also cut ratings on the Pru, Scottish Provident and L&G.
THE SCOTSMAN says SL refused to comment on the downgrade yesterday, despite previously having made much of the S&P AAA rating in the face of downgrades of peers.
SL has been a major seller of equities in recent weeks, the paper adds, which along with similar action by peers is a likely reason for the current big falls in the FTSE.
DUTCH INSURER Aegon is being accused in a US court of having "deliberately" misled investors in the run-up to a profits warning issued last July, the FT reports.
The lawsuit criticises the company for maintaining positive earnings forecasts prior to the warning, despite plenty of evidence from peers that it was just as vulnerable to the market downturn as every other insurer.
Aegon generates 65% of its profits in the US, the FT says, and any problems with the law there could hurt it more than its peers.
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