Friday newspaper round-up: Lloyds, Royal Mail, Homeowners
“The grapevine delivers a steady drip of news of wildly optimistic estate agent valuations, turning into properties put up for sale, and then near asking price offers accepted. Even by London’s usual standards things have gone bonkers and while prices may continue to rise for now, the bubble will burst. They always do,” The Daily Mail’s Simon Lambert writes.
Lloyds Banking Group came a step closer to being able to pay dividends for the first time since the financial crisis after holding talks to sell its investments arm to Aberdeen Asset Management for as much as £500m. Lloyds’ shares jumped 3% as investors speculated that the bank could use the proceeds of a sale of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership to press its case for resuming dividends, The Times explains.
One of the world’s largest investment banks told ministers ahead of the Royal Mail flotation that they could sell the postal business for £10bn, around two and a half times more than the government finally received for it. News of the valuation from JP Morgan re-ignited the huge row over the privatisation with Billy Hayes, the postal workers union leader, claiming a “conspiracy against the taxpayer” and demanding the sacking of Vince Cable as business secretary, The Guardian says.
Speaking at an FT event yesterday Mark Carney, the new Governor of the Bank of England (BoE), signalled a break with the policies of his predecessor by announcing a sweeping overhaul of the way the central bank deals with lenders in financial difficulties. Carney said the BoE had a duty to “keep up” with events and provide a backstop to enable greater dynamism in financial services. He said five words described the BoE’s willingness to provide liquidity if banks need it: “We are open for business,” the Financial Times writes.
Carmakers led a surge in manufacturing optimism yesterday as it emerged that morale among industrial groups was at a three-and-a-half-year high. More than 1.1m cars have rolled off production lines in Britain this year, 3.9% ahead of last year, after a 9.9% improvement last month. Output is now not far below pre-recession levels. Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “This year alone, more than £2.6bn has been committed across the UK automotive sector, from the supply chain to global car manufacturing brands […]”, according to The Times.
Confidence among homeowners in the availability of mortgages and rising house prices hit a four-year high in the three months to September, research today finds. Property website Zoopla said its survey of over 9,000 people found 89% of homeowners expect house prices to rise in the next six months compared to 80% in the previous three months. Only 4% of homeowners see house prices falling over the next six months, down from 7% in the three months to the end of June and 17% during the same period a year earlier, The Daily Mail explains.