The Times and The Scotsman both lead today with news that the US recession was deeper than first tho...
The Times and The Scotsman both lead today with news that the US recession was deeper than first thought and that growth in the world's largest economy is still on the skids.
The Times says that economic data released yesterday indicates an increased possibility of a double-dip recession, something that many have been talking about for some time.
Annualised growth in the second quarter stood at 1.1%, just half of previous expectations, and well down on the 5% rate experienced in the previous quarter.
In comparison with the UK, the US grew its GDP just 0.3% in June, while here the economy grew by 0.9%.
The Scotsman notes that the data comes just before the Monetary Policy Committee is set to announce its latest decision on UK interest rates.
The Bank of England previously said it would lower interest rates if the economic situation in the US deteriorated again, so there could even be calls for a rate cut here, the paper argues.
The data will also raise fresh questions about the Bush administration's handling of the US economy, as it has always argued it did not technically fall into recession last year.
Financial analysts of another sort will be under attack here if FSA plans to revamp rules governing equities analysts goes ahead, The Times says today.
The regulator could end up forcing analysts to mark their research reports as advertisements or financial promotions if there are conflicts of interest involved, the paper says.
It quotes Terry Smith, chief executive of broker Collins Stewart, as saying the only real way to guarantee independence would be to ban analysts from writing about companies that their employers have a relationship with.
Friends Provident provided some good cheer for shareholders yesterday, but The Scotsman today looks at the issue of bonus cuts announced for with profits investors.
It says the additional 6% cut announced yesterday takes the total over the past year to 23%.
This has pleased the City, but angered savers, the paper says, and there is no way of knowing when the squeeze will end.
The Telegraph picks up on the theme, writing that chief executive Keith Satchell was at pains yesterday to get the message out that life companies are not on the cusp of massive bankruptcies, and that they are in better financial strength than many believe.
He is particularly concerned with the idea that any insurance company with a free asset ratio below 8% is in danger, saying that the figure seems to have caught the imagination of the press and analysts alike.
"Is 7.9% bad and 8.1% okey?" he said according to The Telegraph.
Allianz, one of Germany's biggest financial institutions, has just reported a €350m loss for its second quarter of trading this year, news that is likely to stun the financial services sector says the FT.
The firm is big enough to withstand a loss of this magnitude because of its sheer size and breadth of business exposure, but analysts are now expecting up to 4,000 job losses as restructuring moves kick in.
The loss is blamed on falling stock markets affecting earnings at its Dresdner Bank subsidiary, which provides investment banking services, while the value of Allianz' underlying portfolio of assets dropped significantly as the markets were hit.
The good news for UK insurers is that Allianz also reported strong premium growth in its life and general insurance businesses.
In US news, the FT reports that Elliot Spitzer is going after executives that made millions by cashing in on stock options before their companies went bust, such as Enron and Worldcom.
This is the same New York State attorney who forced Merrill Lynch to pay a $100m fine after he found emails between the firm's equities analysts privately slamming companies that were supposed to be recommended as 'buys' to clients.
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