Morning papers: S&P 500 poised for new highs in 2013

After finishing 2012 on a high note, investors believe US equities are bound to extend last year’s run, reports the Financial Times.

Progress made in US fiscal negotiations, easing eurozone fears and recent supportive economic data from China and other developing nations may help set the stage for higher corporate profits and stock gains, analysts say.

Punishing year looms for the banks as risks keep piling up

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The risks faced by British banks have increased in the past 12 months, underlining how the sector faces a turbulent and costly year ahead, reports The Times.

A report suggests that banks are under-reporting levels of pain from mis-selling scandals such as payment protection insurance and mortgage protection insurance, as well as the losses from underperforming assets that have yet to be acknowledged on their balance sheets.

European Commission to review ‘dangerous’ accounting rules

A group of leading British investors has secured a pledge from the European Commission that it will intervene to deal with fears that bank accounting rules are “dangerously flawed”, reports the Daily Telegraph.

A review of the controversial International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) has been sanctioned by Commissioner Michel Barnier to start early this year, in what amounts to a major breakthrough in a long-running campaign supported by The Daily Telegraph.

China manufacturing continues to grow, surveys show

China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index held steady in December at 50.6, matching November’s seven-month high, as growth in new orders was unchanged and the pace of output softened marginally, reports the Guardian.

With the main index above 50 for three successive months, the survey indicates that China’s vast factory sector is expanding. A PMI reading below 50 suggests growth has slowed; above 50 indicates an acceleration.

Vodafone ‘considered setting up as a bank’

Vodafone “seriously” considered setting up as a full-scale retail bank, its chief executive has revealed, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The mobile operator is already investing heavily in technology to enable people to make payments with their mobile phones, but at one point looked at going considerably further than that.

Retail bankruptcies soar for third year amid weak demand and rising costs

The number of retailers filing for bankruptcy has continued to mount over the past three years, rising 6% last year compared with 2011 and up 18% on 2010, a report from accountants Deloitte shows, reports the Guardian.

Thousands of shop workers lost their jobs last year as a series of high street names collapsed into administration, battered by a combination of weak demand and escalating costs. Comet, JJB Sports and Blacks were just a few of the 194 retail failures over the year.