Morning papers: ‘Fat finger’ trader loses £400k in seconds

A trader in the City may have lost £400,000 in 30 seconds by accidentally purchasing shares in HSBC, the Independent reports.

The paper says this “fat finger” trade resulted in the price of HSBC shares rising 10 per cent and led to a five minute suspension of its shares.

Although the paper did not identify the financial institution involved, it said the loss could have happened if trades were not spread out over a long enough period and therefore vulnerable to sudden fluctuations in price.

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SFO seeks £19m in emergency funds

The Serious Fraud Office has requested £19m in emergency funding from the government representing 59 per cent of its annual budget, the Financial Times reports.

Oliver Heald, the solicitor general at the SFO, told the paper the organisation had applied for the emergency funding “to meet an urgent cash requirement on existing services” and to “settle material liabilities”.

The SFO’s budget was cut from £52m in 2008 to £32m in this fiscal year as part of an overall government effort to cut costs.

US economy beats forecasts

The economy of the United States surpasses forecasts and grew 3.2 per cent in the final quarter of 2013, the Telegraph reports.

According to the paper, the new figures show that the US has enjoyed one of the best six-month periods of growth in 10 years.

Although optimistic, the figures do represent a slowdown compared to the 4.2 per cent growth reported in the third quarter of the year. However, it remained above the 3 per cent annualised growth forecast by economists.

Businesses were more inclined to increase spending than households, with a 3.8 per cent increase in purchases.

Home office scolded over £6.5m in bonuses

The Home Office has been dubbed irresponsible by members of Parliament after it was revealed to have paid £6.5m in bonuses to its staff, the Guardian reports.

According to the paper a total of 11,672 bonuses were paid in 2012/13 to around 40 per cent of the 24,000 Home Office staff. This works out to a mean bonus of £559, or 1.7 per cent of the median Home Office salary.

MP Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee said: “It is irresponsible that the Home Office has continued to pay big bonuses despite presiding over many failures … we should end the culture of rewarding failure.”

Living standards to remain below pre-crash levels until after 2015

British living standards will not return to the levels reached before the banking crisis until after the election in 2015 despite economic growth gaining pace, the Daily Mail reports.

The paper reports that the Institute for Fiscal Studies has said that although household incomes will likely stop falling, living standards are currently “dramatically” below pre-crisis levels.

Families on lower incomes would likely take the longest to recover due to cuts to benefits and tax credits introduced by the Coalition government in 2010.

Danish government on brink of collapse