Following reports yesterday by the Financial Times that the US and Canada are to ban imports of lives...
Meanwhile Tony Blair remains steadfast in his ambition to take the country to the polls on 3 May. The FT notes objections from leaders of the rural community.
The paper also reports that "Kemal Dervis, Turkey's new economy minister, on Wednesday outlined key structural reforms in a radical rescue package intended to haul the economy out of crisis."
The Guardian says "Interbrew has cleared the first hurdle in its legal challenge to trade secretary Stephen Byers' order that it unwind its £2.3bn purchase of Bass."
US president George W Bush, reports The Daily Telegraph, has urged Americans not to panic after the stock market plunged again amid increasing fears about the economy.
The paper says "AXA unveiled disappointing returns for its UK arm yesterday. The French company, which is one of the biggest insurers in the world, said that cash earnings from the UK life business were down 5% at Eu179m (£112m). Revenues fell 4% to Eu7.9bn, a result it blamed on 'increased competition' and intentionally lower sales of with-profit bonds. The general insurance business, which includes GRE, the insurer bought for £3.4bn in a deal driven by Mr Wood, suffered badly. Cash earnings fell by Eu161m to a loss of Eu150m (£94m), as Axa increased reserves to cope with a tougher car insurance market."
Still in the world of insurance The Times says "Prudential shareholders stand to lose at least £500m worth of orphan assets after the £28bn merger with American General. The life insurer is believed to have valued surplus assets in its life fund at £1 billion ahead of the proposed merger. If the deal goes ahead, American General shareholders, who will own 49.5% of the combined group, will pick up half of any distribution."
ABC News.com reports "The Dow Jones average of industrial stocks closed under the 10,000 mark on Wednesday for the first time in five months, and for one of the few times since it first reached that level two years ago this week - March 16, 1999. Losing 317.34 points while taking another pounding, the Dow ended the day at 9,973.46. The index quickly plummeted in early trading and after a brief morning rally spent much of the day on the short side of 10,000. It was the 10th-biggest single-day point loss in the history of the Dow, which dates to 1896."
By Andy Wild
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