Morning papers: Europe brightens to investors

Evidence is piling up that European financial markets think the eurozone’s debt crisis is fading - the euro rose to near a 10-month high on Thursday - but feeble economic activity suggests the crisis is only in remission, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Among the positive signs are that Spanish and Italian government bonds have been strengthening dramatically for six months. Spain successfully sold a raft of new debt on Thursday, and the acute tensions in Europe’s banking system have dulled.

S&P sees deeper house price falls in eurozone as slump engulfs core

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Europe’s housing slump is engulfing large parts of the eurozone core as recession deepens, with prices to keep sliding for another two years, Standard & Poor’s has warned, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Sterling dives to nine-month low against the euro

The pound hit a nine-month low against the euro on Thursday amid worries over the UK economy and Britain’s future in Europe, reports the Daily Mail.

Sterling fell as low as €1.1954 against the single currency and was also at an eight-week low of $1.5957 against the dollar.

Banks seek support for PPI deadline

Britain’s banks are in talks with the City watchdog to enlist its support for a deadline to be imposed for compensation claims in one of the UK’s costliest consumer scandals, reports the Financial Times.

Lenders want a deadline of May 2014 to be set on claims lodged by customers saying they were mis-sold payment protection insurance as compensation costs snowball, according to one senior executive.

Barclays eyes bonus pool to pay Libor fine

Barclays is weighing whether to recoup some or all of the £290m Libor rate-rigging fine imposed by regulators last year from the 2012 bonus pool of its investment bankers, reports the Financial Times.

Aberdeen sees risk-taking rise

Investors are taking risks because they are fed up with buying government debt, according to the chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, Martin Gilbert, reports the Independent.

Winners emerge from high street wreckage

A burst of retail winners have provided hope for the high street after a week of gloom that has seen the collapse of three of retail’s biggest names, reports the Guardian.

Primark and Asos revealed soaring fashion sales despite the economic downturn, while Dixons and Argos revealed strong sales, albeit helped by the demise of the electricals store Comet.

Ousted Rio Tinto boss pocketed £22m in cash and shares

Tom Albanese, ousted from Rio Tinto on Thursday after a series of disastrous acquisitions, pocketed almost £22m in cash and share options during his stint leading the mining company, which ended abruptly in the wake of a further $14bn (£8.8bn) writedown, reports the Guardian.

Cayman Islands to open up to scrutiny

The Cayman Islands are poised to break with decades of secrecy by opening thousands of companies and hedge funds domiciled on the offshore Caribbean territory to greater scrutiny, reports the Financial Times.

UK car exports drive industry’s revival

Britain exported more cars last year than ever before, underlining the strides made by the automotive sector after being close to written off as a failed industry a decade ago, reports the Financial Times.