Two graphs tell an apparently conflicting story: analysts forecast a steady recovery in BP’s dividends, but its valuation remains weak. Tom Bergin’s close look at the potential costs facing BP as a result of its Gulf of Mexico oil spill helps explain the latter, but less so the former.
“They love a conspiracy theory on the boards,” David Jones, chief market strategist at spread betting firm IG Index told UK correspondents Rosalba O’Brien and Matt Scuffham when they were reporting for “The stock, the web, the CEO and his lawyers” . It’s a look at some of the shenanigans around highly speculative resource stocks when they are discussed on message boards like ADVFN and iii. Late-night gossip and personal insults are par for the course: some suspect organised short-sellers may be behind the talk. Given the high volumes of online trading in the UK, we wonder how long it will be before regulator FSA is forced to take a closer look.
It’s taking a while to filter through to those of us who don’t follow these things that Israel might become an energy exporter. Ari Rabinovich in Tel Aviv explores some of the potential consequences.
“I see it becoming a source of considerable tension until the location and the scale of the reservoirs are better understood,” says Catherine Hunter, a Levantine energy analyst at IHS in London.
BP’s Macondo Gulf spill would be nothing compared to the effect of a drilling accident in the Arctic, Jessica Bachman reports from “the foulest place in all of Russia.” Scientists and Russian officials are just starting to wake up to the fact that “if something happens on the Arctic Barents Sea in November it would be, ‘OK, we’ll come back for you in March,’” Jessica says.
But quite what Russia would do about that is not at all clear. The Russian government gets more than 50 percent of its revenues from oil and gas and Prime Minister Putin’s stated aim is to keep producing more than 10 billion barrels a day through 2020. Environmentalists aren’t the only ones who are worried.
Kate Kelland, EMEA Health and Science Correspondent, has won the British Guild of Health Writers Award for Best Online Feature 2010 for her Special Report on using financial incentives to nudge people towards kicking their unhealthy habits: Special Report: In austere times can bribery be healthy?
The judges of the award, which was presented at an event in London on November 4th, praised Kate for what they said was a “fascinating” piece which was well written, thoroughly and accurately reported, informative and insightful. We couldn’t agree more.
In Britain, the coalition government is readying its “comprehensive spending review” later this month. Rather than get caught up in chasing which government departments or bodies will be cut, two of our reporters focused on a single council – in this case, the City of Birmingham, which happens to be the biggest local authority in Europe – and explored what it’s doing to prepare for the change ahead.
For a lot of people, the most visible sign of cuts in Britain will be at a local level, as services are pulled back and jobs are lost. In the leadup to the spending review details, lobbyists in London have been doing great business. Check out their tactics for survival – although if you’re worried about your government contract but haven’t done anything about it, you’re probably already too late.
We went behind the scenes of Dubai’s debt debacle last November and found a much more sober city-state starting to rebuild itself from the $59 billion hole that was dug by the whizz kids who had powered its transformation. Loans don’t come as easy — particularly the nod and the wink of association with the royal family isn’t cutting it like it used to.
Some people see a connection between the crisis and the fact that Dubai has also started to tighten up on its trade with Iran, in line with broader international sanctions, but we’re not so sure about that.
If the life settlements market seems ghoulish, here’s a British scandal which isn’t doing the image of the business any favours. It’s one of the worst the country’s seen.
Around 30,000 mainly elderly investors in the UK put their money into a company called Keydata, hoping to make a little extra cash to fund their own retirement with the promise of a healthy return.
Here in Europe, as spending cuts bite ever deeper, you might expect people to have taken to the streets in their thousands and be up in arms, in defence of the hard-won rights that this round of austerity is threatening. Some are, but not in anything like the numbers they have been in the past. With a Europe-wide day of action coming up on Sept 29 that may change…
But, so far at least, the most remarkable thing has been just how tame the strikes have been, how ineffective the unions look. Why is it that? Are Europe’s unions less powerful? Or less relevant? Sarah Morris in Spain and Gavin Jones in Italy found a host of reasons why young and old today are not rallying to the cause — and not just that they’re scared of losing their jobs.
We’re wondering who is.
We see bailed-out banks returning to profit at the same time as headlines about others still refusing to lend. The personal finance pages are bristling with stories about mortgage famine . Big businesses may have been overcharged for banks’ services in raising new equity capital; lending to smaller businesses is down, and the interest offered on savings is so derisory, would-be savers are being pushed into taking more risk to try to preserve their capital.
What are we missing? What is the magic ingredient that makes you as a customer happy with your bank? Or are we right in thinking “customer satisfaction” is a figment of executive imagination? Tell us your stories.