Monthly Archives: February 2014

Serco poaches Aggreko’s Soames to be CEO

©Bloomberg Rocked by upheaval in its empire from England to Australia, Serco Group has brought in a Churchillian scion to restore order. Rupert Soames, one of the longest-serving FTSE 100 chief executives, having led power rental group Aggreko for 11 years, has been poached by the outsourcer to restore its tarnished fortunes. The grandson of wartime prime minister Winston Churchill…

UK day-trading practices under scrutiny

For a forex trader, Andrew Argent has a surprising view of retail foreign exchange trading. “I would say there is a 97 per cent failure rate,” the former plumber turned day-trader says. Sitting on a black sofa in the Essex-based venue he founded in 2012, Mr Argent recounts how he used to tell aspiring day-traders that if they could not…

Renminbi’s fall marks seismic shift

©Bloomberg Compared with the recent turmoil of double-digit currency devaluations and political unrest in other emerging markets, a modest fall this week in China’s currency was an unlikely cause for global alarm. But, as with many things, China is different. An unexpected slide in the renminbi – supposedly carefully managed and stable – led to a surge in speculation about…

EPA stalls Alaska copper mine plans

A controversial plan to mine the world’s largest undeveloped copper deposit in Alaska is facing action from the US Environmental Protection Agency that could result in the project being blocked. The EPA said on Friday it was exercising rarely-used powers under the Clean Water Act to investigate how to protect the abundant salmon fisheries of Bristol Bay on Alaska’s south…

New enthusiasm for biotech

A cure for cat allergies might not sound like the most promising starting point for the next stock market boom. Yet many in the UK biotech industry are hoping the planned flotation this month of Circassia – a specialist in anti-allergy drugs – will mark the return to favour of a sector long shunned by British investors. The Oxford-based company…

Mt Gox files for bankruptcy protection

A Bitcoin trader holds a placard to protest against Mt Gox in Tokyo The Bitcoin exchange at the centre of a $480m heist has filed for bankruptcy protection, in a move that leaves thousands of virtual-currency investors in limbo. Events unfolding at Tokyo-based Mt Gox, once the dominant platform for trading and storing Bitcoin, had drawn increasing attention over the…

StanChart slides on dividend fears

Renewed fears of a dividend cut sent Standard Chartered sliding. Investors had underestimated the drag on StanChart’s capital from higher risk weightings on its loan book, according to Morgan Stanley. With an Asian macroconomic slowdown raising loan defaults from the current low levels, StanChart will have to adjust its default probabilities on existing books, said Morgan Stanley. It forecast a…

Gold in biggest monthly gain since July

Gold held firm above $1,320 a troy ounce to register its biggest monthly gain since July as concerns about the US and Chinese economies persisted. Bullion rose 7 per cent during February and is up 10 per cent since the start of the year. Weak economic data, a lower dollar and the political crisis in Ukraine have all supported the…

Total to sell stake in Azeri gasfield

Total is in talks to sell its stake in a huge gasfield in Azerbaijan after it baulked at the enormous cost of the project, which would deliver Caspian gas directly to European markets for the first time. The French major is likely to sell its entire 10 per cent stake in the Shah Deniz field, according to people familiar with…

Fortress loses $8m on Bitcoin investment

Fortress Investment Group, the private equity and hedge fund manager, is sitting on losses of $8m on an experimental investment in Bitcoin. The company’s annual report revealed that it bought $20m of the virtual currency in the final months of last year, making it the first mainstream investment company to list Bitcoin among the assets on its balance sheet. The…