Wall Street’s watchdog does not follow its very own counsel on disclosing cyberattacks

Inside a 2014 speech, the then-chair from the Registration, Mary Jo White-colored, offered a stern indication to corporate America: If hit by online hackers, they’d to inform the general public about this.

Now, the company, the country’s top Wall Street regulator, has acknowledged that online hackers permeated certainly one of its most sensitive databases this past year and might have been able to utilize the data to achieve a buying and selling edge on the investing public to pocket illicit profits.

However the agency didn’t follow its admonition to corporations. It offered couple of information regarding the hack, mentioning it just briefly inside a bigger policy statement about cybersecurity issued after 7 p.m. Wednesday by Jay Clayton, the present mind from the agency.

“So this seems to become a situation of ‘Do when i regulate, less I demonstrate,’ ” stated Bradley J. Bondi, someone at Cahill Gordon & Reindel along with a former senior SEC official.

The machine which was breached, referred to as Edgar, works as a clearinghouse for that public filings that companies must make towards the agency, including reports on periodic financial results and newsworthy developments. For a number of reasons, there can frequently be considered a lag between your time when reports are digitally filed using the agency and whenever they can be observed through the public, making the machine a potentially lucrative target to online hackers wishing to understand sensitive information before all of those other market.

“Edgar is the same as Fort Knox for sensitive corporate filings prior to being released openly. It’s a gold vault for insider traders,” Bondi stated.

The SEC declined to comment with this report.

News from the breach follows around the heels of revelations that Equifax, the large credit rating company, also have been the victim of the cyberattack. Equifax announced earlier this year that sensitive information, including Social Security figures, on 143 million people have been stolen.

Equifax, too, delayed in disclosing the breach because it searched for to know the level from the damage.

For pretty much ten years now, regulators happen to be sounding the alarm about ever-aggressive cyberattacks targeted at governing the public markets.

In 2015, federal investigators stated an worldwide hacking ring equipped with thousands of corporate secrets pocketed greater than $100 million from illicit trades. The online hackers stole greater than 150,000 news releases which were scheduled to be sent to investors. Two times this past year, the SEC stated it identified overseas hacking rings which had targeted nonpublic information.

The SEC is grappling with how to reply to the onslaught. In 2014, it started requiring stock markets, like the New You are able to Stock Market, to the company within hrs of learning of the cyber-breach. Captured, Clayton initiated overview of the agency’s internal cybersecurity risks, including establishing a ­senior-level working group.

“I notice that the most diligent cybersecurity efforts won’t address all cyber risks that enterprises face,” Clayton stated within the statement released Wednesday evening. “That stark reality makes sufficient disclosure believe it or not important.”

But because the SEC elevated pressure on corporations and also the entities it regulates to strengthen their systems against cyber­security risks, it’s battled to maintain because the markets have more and more become controlled by computers which will make decisions in fractions of the second. In This summer, the federal government Accountability Office noted the agency had yet to completely implement nearly twelve recommendations associated with “security controls over its key economic climates and knowledge.Inches

“There is really a certain irony here since the SEC continues to be more and more bellicose in getting enforcement cases against registered entities which have been victims of cyberattacks,” stated Scott H. Kimpel, someone at Hunton & Johnson along with a former SEC attorney. “It appears such as the SEC wouldn’t entitled to the standard it set.”

John Reed Stark, a virtually 20-year veteran from the SEC’s enforcement division and founding father of its Office of Internet Enforcement, recommended the agency restore its specialized cyber enforcement unit, that was shut lower within an 2010 reorganization.

The breach made the SEC an “unwitting tipper within an insider-buying and selling plan,” stated Stark, who now runs their own security firm. “Now, more than ever before, the SEC requires a dedicated and specialized corp of cyber sleuths to find and deter online hackers like those who compromised Edgar inside a possible insider buying and selling plan.”

The hack of Edgar was the effect of a “software vulnerability” which was “exploited and led to use of nonpublic information,” based on the SEC. The company detected the breach this past year, but didn’t learn until recently the vulnerability might have been employed for improper buying and selling. The breach didn’t result in the discharge of your personal data as well as an analysis in to the matter is ongoing, the company has stated.

“This isn’t the condition from the art when it comes to what we should expect someone-facing company to reveal,Inches stated Kimpel, the previous SEC attorney. “It’s a bit disturbing that there’s no more detail.”

The SEC might have determined that disclosing the breach earlier or differently might have sparked unnecessary concern, stated Chris Hart, a cybersecurity expert and attorney at Foley Hoag. “We have no idea exactly what the SEC understood so when they understood it.”

This isn’t the very first time Edgar continues to be compromised. The machine receives a large number of documents each day. In 2015, fraudsters published fake information on the website concerning the takeover of Avon Products, driving their stock cost up considerably prior to being detected. As well as in 2014, several researchers discovered that information posted to Edgar was open to quite a few users for thirty seconds before it grew to become openly available, potentially giving some traders an unfair advantage. (High-speed traders, for instance, could make a large number of trades inside a blink of the eye.) “It should give companies pause,” Kimpel stated. “They are needed to provide growing quantity of information towards the government about a variety of proprietary matters, a lot of the information is within Edgar. Just how can they ensure it will likely be safe.”

The most recent announcement may also hamper the SEC’s efforts to gather more in depth details about stock trades right into a central database that may allow it to be simpler for that agency to identify market manipulation. Some key Wall Street institutions, such as the New You are able to Stock Market, have cautioned the database turn into a target for online hackers.

Before Wisconsin, Foxconn Vowed Big Spending in South america. Couple of Jobs Came.

Prior to the Taiwanese manufacturing giant Foxconn promised to invest $10 billion and make 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin, the organization designed a similar promise in South america.

In a news conference in South america, Foxconn officials unveiled intends to invest vast amounts of dollars and make among the world’s greatest manufacturing hubs within the condition of São Paulo. The federal government had high expectations the project would yield 100,000 jobs.

Six years later, South america continues to be awaiting the majority of individuals jobs to materialize.

“The area where Foxconn stated it might develop a plant is completely abandoned,” stated Guilherme Gazzola, the mayor of Itu, among the metropolitan areas that wished to take advantage of the project. “They haven’t even expressed a desire for meeting us.”

Foxconn’s experience of South america along with other parts around the globe illustrates how difficult it’s been for this to duplicate its enormously effective Chinese manufacturing model elsewhere.

In China, Foxconn has generated vast factories supported by large government subsidies. Its operations — assembling iPhones for Apple, Kindles for Amazon . com and PlayStations for The new sony — employ legions of youthful set up-line workers who frequently toil 60 hrs per week for around $2.50 an hour or so. Labor protests in China are rare, or quashed quickly.

However the model doesn’t translate easily abroad, where Foxconn must navigate different social, political and labor conditions.

In South america, Foxconn’s plans unraveled rapidly. The administration which had wooed the organization was soon taken from power among corruption allegations as well as an impeachment election. A few of the regulations and tax breaks that were guaranteed were reduced or abandoned, as economic growth and consumer spending slumped.

Today, Foxconn employs no more than 2,800 workers in South america.

Foxconn will the “big song and dance, getting the Chinese dragon dancers, ribbon cuttings, toasts and signature from the usual boilerplate contracts,” stated Alberto Moel, a trader and advisor to early-stage tech companies who until lately would be a technology analyst in the research firm Sanford C. Bernstein. “Then, if this will get lower to brass tacks, something way smaller sized materializes.”

Foxconn stated inside a statement it had become dedicated to investing vast amounts of dollars in building facilities outdoors China. But the organization also stated it absolutely was forced to adjust to altering conditions in markets like South america, in which the economy had stagnated.

“This and also the altering requirements of our customers our suggested investments specified for for everyone have led to scaled lower operations in the united states at the moment,Inches the organization stated in the statement.

Regarding the Wisconsin project, Foxconn has stated it intends to build among the world’s largest manufacturing campuses within the southeastern area of the condition. The organization expects the structures that can make in the campus to total 20 million square ft — around three occasions how big the Government — and also to help transform the location right into a major production center for flat-panel displays.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, known as the Foxconn deal a “game changer” that may help spur a producing revival within the Midwest. In the White-colored House in This summer, President Trump hailed the agreement like a great one for American manufacturing, American workers and “everybody who believes within the concept, within the label, Produced in the U.S.A.” Gov. Scott Master of Wisconsin formally approved the offer on Monday.

Foxconn has valid reason to diversify its manufacturing operations. About 95 % from the company’s 1.a million employees operate in China. Creating a large work pressure elsewhere could lessen the company’s reliance on one locale, lowering its risk if countries enforced tariffs or any other trade barriers on Chinese exports.

“The closer they reach big markets such as the U.S. or South america, the less they need to bother about import taxes or any other barriers,” stated Gary Gereffi, director from the Focus on Globalization, Governance, &amp Competitiveness at Duke College. “Getting outdoors of China to provide these markets is much like jumping over any potential tariff wall.”

But conveying Foxconn’s Chinese technique is virtually impossible.

The worldwide logistics for electronics remains firmly rooted in Asia, where advantages like low-cost labor and a good amount of skilled engineers happen to be essential to the region’s development like a manufacturing base.

Why is Foxconn’s Chinese operations really hum would be the remarkable degree of government subsidies and support, and also the sheer proportions of individuals operations. Local governments frequently finance and make their factories, manage its dormitories and recruit thousands of workers. Some government officials go door-to-door in small counties to recruit workers.

The federal government aid can achieve in to the vast amounts of dollars.

Foxconn started to shift large-scale production operations beyond China within 2009, if this opened up plants elsewhere in Asia, including Vietnam and India. The organization presently has factories within the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, along with a large plant in Mexico which uses 18,000 workers.

When several countries started to want that some components be produced in your area as a means of encouraging production in your own home, Foxconn walked up its efforts to construct outdoors China. And company executives basically adopted exactly the same playbook they’d used inside China.

Foxconn’s chairman, Terry Gou, met rich in-ranking leaders, including Brazil’s president at that time, Dilma Rousseff, and Pm Narendra Modi asia. Mr. Gou made pledges won regulations and tax breaks and government concessions and announced intends to spend vast amounts of dollars to produce thousands of jobs in multiple countries. South america known as among the planned Foxconn sites the “City for the future.Inches

Then reality occur.

Labor strikes in India and Vietnam motivated Foxconn’s operations in individuals countries to become shut lower temporarily. Economic and political turmoil in South america brought the government bodies there to lessen a number of regulations and tax breaks it’d offered the organization. An agenda to take a position $1 billion in the making of a plant in Jakarta, Indonesia, collapsed, partially because Foxconn couldn’t get the logistics it’d wished to, based on analysts and government officials.

Foxconn’s plans also fizzled in Pennsylvania. In 2013, the organization, with a small office in Harrisburg, stated it meant to develop a $$ 30 million factory within the condition that may employ 500 workers. The guarana plant has not yet been built.

Pennsylvania officials declined to discuss why the factory was not built, but stated that they not quit hope. (Foxconn also didn’t comment.)

“We don’t believe Pennsylvania has run out of the important for just about any particular project,” David Cruz, a spokesman for that Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Rise in Harrisburg, stated about Foxconn’s commitment within the condition.

For Foxconn, the proceed to Wisconsin offers political benefits.

Around the campaign trail, Mr. Trump skewered China over what he considered its unfair trade practices. He vowed to pressure Apple to create its products within the U . s . States and stated his administration might impose a border tax on imports, raising the possibilities of a trade war.

Following the election, Foxconn became a member of a parade of worldwide companies bearing promises.

Jack Ma, the manager chairman from the Chinese internet giant Alibaba, showed up at Trump Tower in New You are able to and promised to produce a million jobs in the usa. Masayoshi Boy, the founding father of SoftBank of Japan, stated his company would invest $50 billion within the U . s . States. And also at around the same time frame, Foxconn stated it had been intending to build plants within the U . s . States.

The Trump administration helped start a few of the talks between Foxconn and officials in Wisconsin, including teams brought by Mr. Ryan and Mr. Master. Negotiations started in June as well as an agreement was arrived at per month later, with Wisconsin pledging $3 billion in regulations and tax breaks along with other subsidies more than a 15-year period.

Democrats within the condition asked if the cost tag was justified and if the jobs would materialize. A condition analysis, through the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, discovered that taxpayers wouldn’t recoup the state’s investment until a minimum of 2042.

Wisconsin lawmakers pressed it through nevertheless, so when Mr. Master approved the offer on Monday, he known as it “a truly transformational step for the condition.”

JPMorgan and Citigroup pledge to become operated by 100% renewables by 2020

US investment banking giants Citigroup and JPMorgan have both dedicated to being powered entirely by alternative energy by 2020.

The Wall Street banks made their bulletins to participate the RE100 pledge initiated by ecological charitable organization The Weather Group in an worldwide global warming action event in New You are able to on Tuesday.

Other businesses that have became a member of the charity’s pledge by investing in source only alternative energy across their global operations include Estee Lauder, Kellogg and DBS Bank.

​JPMorgan, the US’ greatest bank, with assets peopleDollar2.6 trillion, initially sailed an agenda to visit 100 percent renewable in This summer.

The move towards renewables might make seem business sense for that two banking titans. The price of solar, wind along with other eco-friendly technologies is plunging quicker than forecasters anticipated only a couple of years back, based on Michael Liebrich, founding father of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Inside a presentation towards the research group’s conference working in london , Liebreich stated  that clean energy will end up cheaper than non-renewable fuels for utilities in lots of places. 

JPMorgan stated inside a statement it has offices and processes in additional than 60 countries across over 5,500 qualities, covering roughly 75 million square ft – about 27 occasions the sq footage from the work place in the Empire Condition Building, all of which be operated by renewables.

It said it aims to attain its target by using alternative energy technology across its structures and branches, signing power purchase contracts with alternative energy projects and reducing its energy consumption.

JPMorgan also dedicated to facilitating US$200bn (£148bn) in clean energy financing by 2025.

Matt Arnold, global mind of sustainable finance at JPMorgan, stated: “Business comes with an essential role to experience in evolving the transition to wash energy along with a safe climate.”

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Facebook Navigates an Internet Fractured by Governmental Controls

On a muggy, late spring evening, Tuan Pham awoke to the police storming his house in Hanoi, Vietnam.

They marched him to a police station and made their demand: Hand over your Facebook password. Mr. Tuan, a computer engineer, had recently written a poem on the social network called “Mother’s Lullaby,” which criticized how the communist country was run.

One line read, “One century has passed, we are still poor and hungry, do you ask why?”

Mr. Tuan’s arrest came just weeks after Facebook offered a major olive branch to Vietnam’s government. Facebook’s head of global policy management, Monika Bickert, met with a top Vietnamese official in April and pledged to remove information from the social network that violated the country’s laws.

While Facebook said its policies in Vietnam have not changed, and it has a consistent process for governments to report illegal content, the Vietnamese government was specific. The social network, they have said, had agreed to help create a new communications channel with the government to prioritize Hanoi’s requests and remove what the regime considered inaccurate posts about senior leaders.

Populous, developing countries like Vietnam are where the company is looking to add its next billion customers — and to bolster its ad business. Facebook’s promise to Vietnam helped the social media giant placate a government that had called on local companies not to advertise on foreign sites like Facebook, and it remains a major marketing channel for businesses there.

The diplomatic game that unfolded in Vietnam has become increasingly common for Facebook. The internet is Balkanizing, and the world’s largest tech companies have had to dispatch envoys to, in effect, contain the damage such divisions pose to their ambitions.

The internet has long had a reputation of being an anything-goes place that only a few nations have tried to tame — China in particular. But in recent years, events as varied as the Arab Spring, elections in France and confusion in Indonesia over the religion of the country’s president have awakened governments to how they have lost some control over online speech, commerce and politics on their home turf.

Even in the United States, tech giants are facing heightened scrutiny from the government. Facebook recently cooperated with investigators for Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the American presidential election. In recent weeks, politicians on the left and the right have also spoken out about the excess power of America’s largest tech companies.

As nations try to grab back power online, a clash is brewing between governments and companies. Some of the biggest companies in the world — Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Alibaba among them — are finding they need to play by an entirely new set of rules on the once-anarchic internet.

And it’s not just one new set of rules. According to a review by The New York Times, more than 50 countries have passed laws over the last five years to gain greater control over how their people use the web.

“Ultimately, it’s a grand power struggle,” said David Reed, an early pioneer of the internet and a former professor at the M.I.T. Media Lab. “Governments started waking up as soon as a significant part of their powers of communication of any sort started being invaded by companies.”

Facebook encapsulates the reasons for the internet’s fragmentation — and increasingly, its consequences.

Graphic | Global Reach

The company has become so far-reaching that more than two billion people — about a quarter of the world’s population — now use Facebook each month. Internet users (excluding China) spend one in five minutes online within the Facebook universe, according to comScore, a research firm. And Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, wants that dominance to grow.

But politicians have struck back. China, which blocked Facebook in 2009, has resisted Mr. Zuckerberg’s efforts to get the social network back into the country. In Europe, officials have repudiated Facebook’s attempts to gather data from its messaging apps and third-party websites.

The Silicon Valley giant’s tussle with the fracturing internet is poised to escalate. Facebook has now reached almost everyone who already has some form of internet access, excluding China. Capturing those last users — including in Asian nations like Vietnam and African countries like Kenya — may involve more government roadblocks.

“We understand that and accept that our ideals are not everyone’s,” said Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s vice president of communications and public policy. “But when you look at the data and truly listen to the people around the world who rely on our service, it’s clear that we do a much better job of bringing people together than polarizing them.”

Friending China

By mid-2016, a yearslong campaign by Facebook to get into China — the world’s biggest internet market — appeared to be sputtering.

Mr. Zuckerberg had wined and dined Chinese politicians, publicly showed off his newly acquired Chinese-language skills — a moment that set the internet abuzz — and talked with a potential Chinese partner about pushing the social network into the market, according to a person familiar with the talks who declined to be named because the discussions were confidential.

At a White House dinner in 2015, Mr. Zuckerberg had even asked the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, whether Mr. Xi might offer a Chinese name for his soon-to-be-born first child — usually a privilege reserved for older relatives, or sometimes a fortune teller. Mr. Xi declined, according to a person briefed on the matter.

But all those efforts flopped, foiling Facebook’s attempts to crack one of the most isolated pockets of the internet.

China has blocked Facebook and Twitter since mid-2009, after an outbreak of ethnic rioting in the western part of the country. In recent years, similar barriers have gone up for Google services and other apps, like Line and Instagram.

Even if Facebook found a way to enter China now, it would not guarantee financial success. Today, the overwhelming majority of Chinese citizens use local online services like Qihoo 360 and Sina Weibo. No American-made apps rank among China’s 50 most popular services, according to SAMPi, a market research firm.

Chinese tech officials said that although many in the government are open to the idea of Facebook releasing products in China, there is resistance among leaders in the standing committee of the country’s Politburo, its top decision-making body.

In 2016, Facebook took tentative steps toward embracing China’s censorship policies. That summer, Facebook developed a tool that could suppress posts in certain geographic areas, The Times reported last year. The idea was that it would help the company get into China by enabling Facebook or a local partner to censor content according to Beijing’s demands. The tool was not deployed.

In another push last year, Mr. Zuckerberg spent time at a conference in Beijing that is a standard on the China government relations tour. Using his characteristic brand of diplomacy — the Facebook status update — he posted a photo of himself running in Tiananmen Square on a dangerously smoggy day. The photo drew derision on Twitter, and concerns from Chinese about Mr. Zuckerberg’s health.

For all the courtship, things never quite worked out.

“There’s an interest on both sides of the dance, so some kind of product can be introduced,” said Kai-Fu Lee, the former head of Google in China who now runs a venture-capital firm in Beijing. “But what Facebook wants is impossible, and what they can have may not be very meaningful.”

This spring, Facebook tried a different tactic: testing the waters in China without telling anyone. The company authorized the release of a photo-sharing app there that does not bear its name, and experimented by linking it to a Chinese social network called WeChat.

One factor driving Mr. Zuckerberg may be the brisk ad business that Facebook does from its Hong Kong offices, where the company helps Chinese companies — and the government’s own propaganda organs — spread their messages. In fact, the scale of the Chinese government’s use of Facebook to communicate abroad offers a notable sign of Beijing’s understanding of Facebook’s power to mold public opinion.

Chinese state media outlets have used ad buys to spread propaganda around key diplomatic events. Its stodgy state-run television station and the party mouthpiece newspaper each have far more Facebook “likes” than popular Western news brands like CNN and Fox News, a likely indication of big ad buys.

To attract more ad spending, Facebook set up one page to show China’s state broadcaster, CCTV, how to promote on the platform, according to a person familiar with the matter. Dedicated to Mr. Xi’s international trips, the page is still regularly updated by CCTV, and has 2.7 million likes. During the 2015 trip when Mr. Xi met Mr. Zuckerberg, CCTV used the channel to spread positive stories. One post was titled “Xi’s UN address wins warm applause.”

Fittingly, Mr. Zuckerberg’s eagerness and China’s reluctance can be tracked on Facebook.

During Mr. Xi’s 2015 trip to America, Mr. Zuckerberg posted about how the visit offered him his first chance to speak a foreign language with a world leader. The post got more than a half million likes, including from Chinese state media (despite the national ban). But on Mr. Xi’s propaganda page, Mr. Zuckerberg got only one mention — in a list of the many tech executives who met the Chinese president.

Europe’s Privacy Pushback

Last summer, emails winged back and forth between members of Facebook’s global policy team. They were finalizing plans, more than two years in the making, for WhatsApp, the messaging app Facebook had bought in 2014, to start sharing data on its one billion users with its new parent company. The company planned to use the data to tailor ads on Facebook’s other services and to stop spam on WhatsApp.

A big issue: how to win over wary regulators around the world.

Despite all that planning, Facebook was hit by a major backlash. A month after the new data-sharing deal started in August 2016, German privacy officials ordered WhatsApp to stop passing data on its 36 million local users to Facebook, claiming people did not have enough say over how it would be used. The British privacy watchdog soon followed.

By late October, all 28 of Europe’s national data-protection authorities jointly called on Facebook to stop the practice. Facebook quietly mothballed its plans in Europe. It has continued to collect people’s information elsewhere, including the United States.

“There’s a growing awareness that people’s data is controlled by large American actors,” said Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, France’s privacy regulator. “These actors now know that times have changed.”

Facebook’s retreat shows how Europe is effectively employing regulations — including tough privacy rules — to control how parts of the internet are run.

The goal of European regulators, officials said, is to give users greater control over the data from social media posts, online searches and purchases that Facebook and other tech giants rely on to monitor our online habits.

As a tech company whose ad business requires harvesting digital information, Facebook has often underestimated the deep emotions that European officials and citizens have tied into the collection of such details. That dates back to the time of the Cold War, when many Europeans were routinely monitored by secret police.

Now, regulators from Colombia to Japan are often mimicking Europe’s stance on digital privacy. “It’s only natural European regulators would be at the forefront,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer. “It reflects the importance they’ve attached to the privacy agenda.”

In interviews, Facebook denied it has played fast and loose with users’ online information and said it complies with national rules wherever it operates. It questioned whether Europe’s position has been effective in protecting individuals’ privacy at a time when the region continues to fall behind the United States and China in all things digital.

Still, the company said it respected Europe’s stance on data protection, particularly in Germany, where many citizens have long memories of government surveillance.

“There’s no doubt the German government is a strong voice inside the European community,” said Richard Allen, Facebook’s head of public policy in Europe. “We find their directness pretty helpful.”

Europe has the law on its side when dictating global privacy. Facebook’s non-North American users, roughly 1.8 billion people, are primarily overseen by Ireland’s privacy regulator because the company’s international headquarters is in Dublin, mostly for tax reasons. In 2012, Facebook was forced to alter its global privacy settings — including those in the United States — after Ireland’s data protection watchdog found problems while auditing the company’s operations there.

Three years later, Europe’s highest court also threw out a 15-year-old data-sharing agreement between the region and the United States following a complaint that Facebook had not sufficiently protected Europeans’ data when it was transferred across the Atlantic. The company denies any wrongdoing.

And on Sept. 12, Spain’s privacy agency fined the company 1.2 million euros for not giving people sufficient control over their data when Facebook collected it from third-party websites. Watchdogs in Germany, the Netherlands and elsewhere are conducting similar investigations. Facebook is appealing the Spanish ruling.

“Facebook simply can’t stick to a one-size-fits-all product around the world,” said Max Schrems, an Austrian lawyer who has been a Facebook critic after filing the case that eventually overturned the 15-year-old data deal.

Potentially more worrying for Facebook is how Europe’s view of privacy is being exported. Countries from Brazil to Malaysia, which are crucial to Facebook’s growth, have incorporated many of Europe’s tough privacy rules into their legislation.

“We regard the European directives as best practice,” said Pansy Tlakula, chairwoman of South Africa’s Information Regulator, the country’s data protection agency. South Africa has gone so far as to copy whole sections, almost word-for-word, from Europe’s rule book.

The Play for Kenya

Blocked in China and troubled by regulators in Europe, Facebook is trying to become “the internet” in Africa. Helping get people online, subsidizing access, and trying to launch satellites to beam the internet down to the markets it covets, Facebook has become a dominant force on a continent rapidly getting online.

But that has given it a power that has made some in Africa uncomfortable.

Some countries have blocked access, and outsiders have complained Facebook could squelch rival online business initiatives. Its competition with other internet companies from the United States and China has drawn comparisons to a bygone era of colonialism.

For Kenyans like Phyl Cherop, 33, an entrepreneur in Nairobi, online life is already dominated by the social network. She abandoned her bricks-and-mortar store in a middle-class part of the city in 2015 to sell on Facebook and WhatsApp.

“I gave it up because people just didn’t come anymore,” said Ms. Cherop, who sells items like designer dresses and school textbooks. She added that a stand-alone website would not have the same reach. “I prefer using Facebook because that’s where my customers are. The first thing people want to do when they buy a smartphone is to open a Facebook account.”

As Facebook hunts for more users, the company’s aspirations have shifted to emerging economies where people like Ms. Cherop live. Less than 50 percent of Africa’s population has internet connectivity, and regulation is often rudimentary.

Since Facebook entered Africa about a decade ago, it has become the region’s dominant tech platform. Some 170 million people — more than two thirds of all internet users from South Africa to Senegal — use it, according Facebook’s statistics. That is up 40 percent since 2015.

The company has struck partnerships with local carriers to offer basic internet services — centered on those offered by Facebook — for free. It has built a pared-down version of its social network to run on the cheaper, less powerful phones that are prevalent there.

Facebook is also investing tens of millions of dollars alongside telecom operators to build a 500-mile fiber-optic internet connection in rural Uganda. In total, it is working with about 30 regional governments on digital projects.

“We want to bring connectivity to the world,” said Jay Parikh, a Facebook vice president for engineering who oversees the company’s plans to use drones, satellites and other technology to connect the developing world.

Facebook is racing to gain the advantage in Africa over rivals like Google and Chinese players including Tencent, in a 21st century version of the “Scramble for Africa.” Google has built fiber internet networks in Uganda and Ghana. Tencent has released WeChat, its popular messaging and e-commerce app, in South Africa.

Facebook has already hit some bumps in its African push. Chad blocked access to Facebook and other sites during elections or political protests. Uganda also took legal action in Irish courts to force the social network to name an anonymous blogger who had been critical of the government. Those efforts failed.

In Kenya, one of Africa’s most connected countries, there has been less pushback.

Facebook expanded its efforts in the country of 48 million in 2014. It teamed up with Airtel Africa, a mobile operator, to roll out Facebook’s Free Basics — a no-fee version of the social network, with access to certain news, health, job and other services there and in more than 20 other countries worldwide. In Kenya, the average person has a budget of just 30 cents a day to spend on internet access.

Free Basics now lets Kenyans use Facebook and its Messenger service at no cost, as well as read news from a Kenyan newspaper and view information about public health programs. Joe Mucheru, Kenya’s tech minister, said it at least gives his countrymen a degree of internet access.

Still, Facebook’s plans have not always worked out. Many Kenyans with access to Free Basics rely on it only as a backup when their existing smartphone credit runs out.

“Free Basics? I don’t really use it that often,” said Victor Odinga, 27, an accountant in downtown Nairobi. “No one wants to be seen as someone who can’t afford to get online.”

Welsh factory worth £9.6m set to spread out to create London hybrid taxi parts

Norwegian aluminium company Sapa is placed to reopen a factory in Wales it shut in 2014, where it’ll develop and offer light aluminium for use in most new London hybrid taxis.

Sapa is investing £9.6m and guaranteed £555,000 in the Welsh government because of its plant in Bedwas, south Wales. It’ll initially hire 58 individuals to operate in the factory and intends to create greater than 200 jobs within the next 5 years, as a result of growing interest in aluminium components in lightweight electric and eco-friendly cars.

Production for that revamped, eco-friendly form of the famous London black cab at Bedwas is placed to begin within the final quarter of 2017.

The very first London hybrid black cabs are anticipated hitting the street in November, for the exact purpose of getting 150 on the highway through the finish of the year.

Sapa, which employs over 22,000 people across 40 countries, closed the Bedwas factory in 2014 citing “overcapacity within the market” and costs, Sapa’s business president, John Thuestad, told The Independent.

Sapa hasn’t before provided London cabs. The factory formerly created aluminium components for that building and construction industry.

“This is a great one of methods industrial companies for example Sapa are increasing in advanced markets fuelled by calls for lighter vehicles and much more sustainable materials.”

Mr Thuestad stated the move was partially driven by legislation across Countries in europe favouring sustainable vehicles.

The Federal Government has established that it intends to ban new gas and diesel vehicles from 2040 in order to tackle pollution, echoing an identical target in France.

“With a brief history of sports vehicle production within the United kingdom and the opportunity to grapple using the legendary black cab to suit a zero emissions world, it had been obvious this [factory in Wales] was the way in which forward.”

The hybrid London taxi is going to be operated by battery power that have a selection of around 70 miles. Next, the cab can change to a gas engine.

“Initially we thought we’d support it from Eastern Europe, but we checked out the scope and trends in Europe and also the United kingdom vehicle industry with increased aluminium and much more extrusions, and made the decision there is a company situation to spread out production within the UK”, Sapa’s United kingdom sales director, Barnaby Struthers, stated.

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Kushner’s White-colored House role ‘crushed’ efforts to woo investors for New york city tower

states it features a strong national portfolio of qualities, including 20,000 residential apartments and 13 million square ft of business space.

“This is a asset of Kushner [Companies], Morali stated, describing 666 Fifth Avenue. “It is a part of our assets.”

Kushner divested his stake within the property in The month of january, selling it to have an undisclosed add up to a trust controlled by his sister, Nicole Kushner Meyer.

Kushner declined to become interviewed. White-colored House spokesman Josh Raffel stated inside a statement that within the lead-to the election, Kushner centered on winding lower his property work.

“Throughout the campaign, Jared progressively reduced his day-to-day-role in Kushner Companies,” Raffel stated. “Starting several days prior to the election until he fully resigned, his focus at the organization was on transitioning over his responsibilities and relationships.”

The Manhattan skyscraper isn’t the only Kushner project to attract attention because the election. The organization has acknowledged that federal prosecutors within the Eastern District of recent You are able to have subpoenaed documents about utilisation of the EB-5 visa program at One Journal Square, an organized Jersey City development. Meyer touted her brother’s White-colored House position in courting Chinese investors underneath the program, that provides temporary visas in return for $500,000 investments.

Meyer later apologized, however the Jersey City project lost a condition tax break and it is parting ways with co-working start-up WeWork.

The family’s network of federally subsidized apartments originates under fire from congressional Democrats within the company’s hard-nosed quest for delinquent renters.

In the White-colored House role, Kushner made an appearance before Senate committees to describe conferences with foreign officials he stated he unintentionally overlooked from his security clearance questionnaire. And special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who’s investigating whether Russia colluded using the Trump campaign, is analyzing Kushner’s dealings, The Washington Publish has reported.

As investigations proceed, pressures at 666 Fifth Avenue are building. The issues trace to a brash decision Kushner, then 26 along with a Manhattan property novice, made about ten years ago.

Pressurized

Manhattan real estate was booming when Kushner bought 666 Fifth Avenue in 2007 for $1.8 billion — the greatest cost compensated in those days to have an office tower within the U . s . States. Experts speculated that Kushner had vastly overpaid.

Kushner had over the organization because his father, Charles, had just offered amount of time in federal prison for tax evasion, illegal campaign contributions and witness tampering. Wanting to re-brand their company, the Kushners had offered a lot of their Nj property holdings to help make the Manhattan gamble.

To assist a colossal loan package, the Kushners were built with a $2 billion evaluation, based largely around the premier retail space fronting Fifth Avenue, but several weeks finally, before using your building, the truly amazing Recession pummeled values.

By 2010, Kushner risked losing your building. He was delinquent on payments, based on a study by Trepp, which analyzes property transactions, and that he joined debt restructuring negotiations. He offered the retail portion in a profit, which helped cover the Kushner family’s investment, however the office portion was loss of blood, based on losses outlined in lending documents.

Kushner was under remarkable pressure using their company investors. Kushner, who’d married Ivanka Trump in ’09, switched to 2 buddies of his father-in-law for help.

Barrack, who ran a California investment company known as Colony Capital, had met Jesse Trump within the 1980s as he negotiated with respect to a customer for that purchase from the Plaza Hotel.

This Year, Barrack’s company acquired area of the distressed debt on 666 Fifth Avenue. He invested $45 million and finally designed a profit, he stated.

This Year, Trump known as Barrack to set up a gathering for Kushner. As Barrack remembered it, “Donald known as and stated: ‘Look, I do not know what’s happening. Jared has some deal you’ve got an interest in.’ ”

Kushner travelled to California and told Barrack about his intend to salvage the work. He came alone, without lawyers, and Barrack was impressed. Kushner told him that investors should pay a restructuring intend to keep your project afloat — however some of these would get under they expected using their investment.

After 75 minutes, Barrack decided to help, concluding that “it appears enjoy it is within everyone’s interest to restructure this.” He stated he known as Trump and told him: “You is deserving of lower in your knees that the daughter found this kid. He has run out of central casting. He was sincere, he was totally current around the details and also the figures coupled with a really persuasive attitude.”

Kushner also switched to Steve Roth, Trump’s partner in another Manhattan business building. Roth’s clients are Vornado Real estate Trust. Its ties to Trump attracted attention lately if this invest in a brand new FBI headquarters building, a task the administration later canceled. Roth declined to comment with this article.

This Year, Roth’s company bought 49.5 percent from the office part of 666 Fifth Avenue, enabling Kushner to restructure your debt and extend the $1.2 billion loan to 2019, based on lending documents. Vornado announced at the end of 2012 it compensated $707 million for that retail portion.

Other investors weren’t as lucky. Area Property Partners held $105.4 million of Kushner’s debt, based on lending documents, and objected towards the restructuring terms. The Publish reported in May how Kushner, as who owns the brand new You are able to Observer media outlet, advised reporters to pursue an adverse tip about Area Property’s leader. The Observer reporters stated the end was unfounded with no story was printed. Area declined to comment. Kushner has declined to comment when requested concerning the Observer matter.

At that time, Kushner was positive about 666 Fifth Avenue and the capability to attract new tenants.

Since that time, the occupancy rate has plummeted to 70 percent, far lacking expectations, based on lending documents. Citibank, a principal tenant when Kushner bought your building, has vacated the home aside from a little retail space. Phillips Nizer, an attorney that’s been a tenant for 22 many occupies two floors from the building, is departing in the finish of the year, based on managing partner Marc Landis.

Revenue has declined. When Kushner Cos. required within the property in 2007, the internet operating earnings was $61 million. That dropped to $41 million in 2016 due to the purchase from the retail portion and declining office occupancy, based on Trepp.

Morali stated the building struggles to compete inside a soft commercial market by which office leases have now use trendier Manhattan spaces for example Hudson Yards.

The stress around the Kushners is difficult to evaluate. The organization is independently held, also it declined to supply a completely independent financial report.

The organization has had steps to boost its finances. In 2016, right before Trump’s election, it refinanced its area of the former New You are able to Occasions building, together with a $285 million loan from Deutsche Bank, passing on $74 million greater than Kushner had compensated last year, based on securities filings. The organization declined to specify the way the $74 million has been utilized.

Their greatest challenge was finding a method to turn 666 Fifth Avenue right into a moneymaker prior to the debt came due.

Tall order

The program for turning 666 Fifth Avenue into an 80-story office tower was given to prospective investors and welcomed with skepticism if this grew to become openly known this past year. The Real Thing, a brand new You are able to property publication, described it as being a “tower of hubris” for that Kushners.

The program known as for vacating your building and constructing the taller tower, including rooms in hotels and luxury housing, within design by famous architect Zaha Hadid, who died this past year. A lot of the proposal is conceptual, however a rendering demonstrated a structure having a squat base with top-flight retail along with a tall, thin tower for luxury residences. While financing details haven’t been disclosed, an essential component from the plan is always to have new investors feet a lot of the balance, enabling the Kushner Cos. debt to become upon the market or renegotiated and providing the organization a stake within the new property.

Kushner Cos. valued the renovation at $7.5 billion. Numerous New You are able to City’s greatest property businesses that preferred quick returns declined to obtain involved, based on New You are able to property executives and analysts. The program relied partially on raising money from foreign investors with the EB-5 program. The organization has stated that trying to get such funds was permitted underneath the rules.

Kushner and the company also employed deep-pocketed global investors who might begin to see the building in an effort to create a distinctive mark in Manhattan. However the effort posed ethical questions as Kushner moved into his role with Trump. In 2016, Kushner concurrently helped run Trump’s presidential campaign and offered as president of the company seeking vast amounts of dollars from foreign entities.

One deal that came near to fruition was with Anbang, a business carefully associated with china government that considered investing $400 million, based on Bloomberg News. Anbang had just bought the landmark Waldorf Astoria hotel when Kushner met using its representatives there per week following the election, based on the New You are able to Occasions. Anbang later issued an announcement stating that “there isn’t any investment” and declined to comment further.

Another potential investor would be a fund operated by the previous pm of Qatar, Hamad Bin Jasim al-Thani, among the world’s wealthiest men, who’d have given $500 million, based on the Intercept. Hamad didn’t react to a request comment. Kushner Cos. has confirmed the China and Qatar efforts. Neither effort been successful.

Concerns about Kushner’s business dealings intensified if this was disclosed captured he met in December using the top executive from the Russian bank Vnesheconombank, or VEB. The financial institution has stated the executive, Sergey Gorkov, who’s near to Russian President Vladimir Putin, discussed “promising business lines and sectors” with Kushner. VEB is Russia’s economic development bank and it is considered a leg from the Kremlin.

Kushner assured Congress inside a July 24 statement the meeting didn’t involve “any discussion about my companies, transactions, property projects, loans, banking plans or any private business of any sort.Inches Democrats have required an analysis.

Kushner’s family company stated that by The month of january it’d not searched for investments from entities linked to foreign governments, although that doesn’t eliminate taking money from wealthy people from other countries who also provide business prior to the U.S. government. An individual near to the organization stated that company officials still talk with potential investors in the U . s . States along with other countries.

What you ought to learn about Jared Kushner’s ties to Russia. (Thomas Manley/The Washington Publish)

Morali stated that excluding foreign government funds won’t preclude him from finding investors. “We are actually in a point where we’ve explored lots of different options and I’m happy with the progress we’ve made in it,Inches he stated, “so I’m able to anticipate that more than the following handful of several weeks their bond will make a choice.Inches

Nevertheless, steering obvious of foreign government funds could narrow his options.

From the 10 priciest office-building purchases this past year in Manhattan, two were created with a sovereign wealth fund in China (China Investment Corp.) along with a third was through the central bank of Hong Kong. Three from the other purchases originated from private entities in Saudi Arabia, Canada and The country, sometimes investing public money.

New You are able to property consultant Arthur J. Mirante II, who advised the Kushner family around the original deal, stated 666 Fifth Avenue could most likely be re-leased as an office with modest investment. Redevelopment is much more difficult, he stated.

“If they need to ignore that market due to Jared finding yourself in the White-colored House, they’re going to need to look elsewhere,” Mirante stated.

Meanwhile, the eye rate around the Kushner company’s principal loan rose to five.5 percent from 5 percent this season and continuously rise to no more than 6.3 percent, based on Trepp. The borrowed funds takes place by several investment banks and investors brought by Whirlpool and Wells Fargo.

That, consequently, has produced an chance for Kushner’s partner, Roth’s Vornado. Unlike Kushner Cos., Vornado’s central clients are leasing New You are able to office structures. Some analysts expect Roth to hold back the Kushner redevelopment plan and, whether it fails, attempt to dominate the home — despite what Roth has stated openly.

Captured, Roth told shareholders that 666 Fifth Avenue “is a continuing, complex, dynamic and unpredictable situation . . . which is the rare situation whenever we might be sellers.”

Barrack stated that whenever Kushner visited the White-colored House, his father, Charles — who’d helped devise the redevelopment proposal — should have known that his efforts could be undermined. Charles Kushner didn’t react to a request comment.

“This was [Charles’s] dream and the baby,” Barrack stated. “When Jared made the decision to visit Washington, he most likely had cardiac arrest.Inches

Because of the Kushner focus, Barrack stated, investors need to ask themselves, “Are they willing to accept scrutiny of the items arrives with” investing with Kushner Cos.?

Gap between rising prices and pay widens as wage growth figures disappoint; unemployment drops to 4.3pc

Market report

Concerns that Imagination Technologies’ Apple earnings will disappear earlier than expected sent the takeover target sliding as the new iPhone’s delayed release sunk suppliers across the globe.

While some of Imagination’s intellectual property remains in the new iPhone X, Apple stated that it has designed the graphics processing unit (GPU) in the new product, hinting that the company will begin to phase-out its relationship with the Hertfordshire-based company, which had derived around half of its revenues from the Silicon Valley giant.

Nearly £470m was wiped off Imagination’s valuation overnight in April after Apple revealed that it was ditching the company and making its own GPU from 2018.

Decimated by the share price plummet, the company then put itself up for sale with Beijing-backed private equity fund Canyon Bridge Capital Partners rumoured to be in the running. It appears, however, that the world’s largest listed company has fast-forwarded its plans to take full control of its products’ GPU, weakening Imagination 7.3p, or 5.1pc, to 135.8p.

If confirmed, it would mean less per device Apple royalty payments a year earlier than expected, said Stifel analyst Lee Simpson.

The iPhone X’s delayed November release date took the shine off the tech giant’s latest unveiling with unimpressed investors dumping shares in suppliers reliant on a strong Apple sales boost in the fourth quarter of the year.

Tiny Welsh chipmaker IQE, whose share price has tripled since speculation mounted that the company would be integral to the new iPhone’s 3D-tracking technology, was one of Apple’s victims, retreating 10.3p to 136.8p.

Over in the US, Apple continued to fall, shedding another 1pc after the opening bell in New York as traders attempted to decipher the impact of the tech firm’s delayed release on earnings.

Elsewhere, industrial metal producers torpedoed the FTSE 100 as copper slipped to pull down miners Glencore and Rio Tinto 8.9p to 363.6p and 66p to £36.25, respectively.

BP and Royal Dutch Shell ‘B’ climbing 3.5p to 452.4p and 14p to £21.92, respectively, on the price of oil rallying mitigated the blue-chip index’s 20.99-point fall to 7379.70, however. Brent crude prices advanced 1pc to just under $55 per barrel after the International Energy Agency forecast higher demand in 2017 as OPEC’s production begins to ebb, encouraging traders that the oil market is finally beginning to rebalance.

Finally, newspaper publisher Johnston Press popped 0.13p to 12.8p after private equity firm Custos upped its stake in the I and The Scotsman publisher from 5pc to just over 8pc.

5:13PM

Markets wrap: Squeeze on UK households tightens as wage growth figures disappoint

High inflation and stagnant wage growth has muddied Mark Carney and the MPC’s decision 

The squeeze on UK households got a little tighter today after the ONS confirmed that wage growth lags far behind rising inflation, knocking hopes of an early interest rate rise.

While unemployment dropped to a fresh 42-year low at 4.3pc, the tighter labour market couldn’t pull up wages, which stagnated at 2.1pc in the three months to July.

Hawkish hopes of an early rate hike were ignited yesterday when inflation jumped to 2.9pc but sluggish wage growth has added another layer of uncertainty with the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee due to meet tomorrow.

Although no change in policy is expected in tomorrow’s meeting, inflation soaring well ahead of the bank’s 2pc target has cranked up the pressure on Mark Carney and the MPC with chief economist Andy Haldane deemed the most likely to jump ship to the hawks.

The pound coming off a one-year high against the dollar following the job figures couldn’t help the FTSE 100, which has been sunk by miners retreating on the price of copper slipping.

IG market analyst Joshua Mahony explained the miners’ drag on the FTSE 100 today:

“Miners provided a drag upon the FTSE 100 throughout today’s session, as the deterioration in both precious and industrial metals dragged the likes of Antofagasta, Anglo American, Fresnillo and Glencore to the bottom of the leaderboard.

“Copper was today’s big loser amongst a sea of red for metals, while a selloff in gold in the face of equity market weakness saw the precious metal finally trade like a physical commodity rather than just a safe haven asset.”

4:34PM

Hospital drugs firm Clinigen snaps up troubled rival Quantum for £150m

Clinigen supplies drugs to hospitals

One of the largest companies on London’s junior market Aim, hospital drugs supplier Clinigen, has agreed a deal to snap up troubled rival Quantum Pharma for £150m.

The news sent shares in Quantum Pharma up 18pc. However, its suitor, which has a market cap of over £1.1bn, suffered a 3pc fall as investors mulled over the tie-up.

The offer is for 37p in cash and 0.0405 new Clinigen shares per Quantum share.

Shaun Clinton, chief executive of Clinigen, told the Telegraph the move would boost its ability to supply novel drugs to clinicians and enable it to expand further into continental Europe.

He said further acquisitions could be on the cards, saying: “We would consider further bolt-on deals to add speciality pharma products or to extend our geographical footprint.”

Read Iain Withers’ full report here

4:20PM

US markets lose steam after jumping to record closes

Apple and energy shares are engaging in a tug of war in the US

After jumping to record all-time closes yesterday, the Dow Jones and S&P 500 have lost their steam slightly over in the US this afternoon.

Both indices are in flat territory with the tug of war between Apple’s 1.2pc retreat and energy stocks buoyed by stronger prices resulting in a flat finish.

Buyers are running out of steam, according to CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

He commented:

“Stock markets in Europe are experiencing low volatility as the rally that we saw at the start of the week has lost momentum.

“The bullish sentiment on the back of Hurricane Irma not being as severe as predicted, and no new tensions in relation to North Korea, has been replaced with a lacklustre attitude. You could say traders are pausing for breath, after the positive run.”

3:52PM

Blackpool Airport returns to public ownership after 13 years as Balfour Beatty sells stake

Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool Council, said today’s sale would protect the 30 people currently employed by the airport

Balfour Beatty has agreed to sell its majority stake in Blackpool Airport to the council, as the local authority looks to protect the future of the site.

Construction company Balfour agreed the deal to sell 95pc of the airport for £4.25m, saying that it “further simplifies the portfolio, in line with the group’s strategy”.

Blackpool Council had originally owned the airport until 2004, when it sold the stake to a consortium led by City Hopper Airports and Mar Properties for £13m. The council retained the remaining 5pc, while the rest was sold to Balfour Beatty in 2008.

However, falling passenger numbers and a legal dispute with operator Jet2 over the opening hours of the airport led to the site falling into administration in 2014.

Read Rhiannon Bury’s full report here

3:25PM

Jobs growth accelerates but pay disappoints in interest rate dilemma for Carney 

Unemployment tumbled to a new 42-year low in July, with more Britons than ever before in work.

Private and public hiring picked up in the three months to July with employment rising by 181,364, the fastest pace of jobs growth since 2015. More than 31.2m people are now in work, while joblessness dropped to 1.46m, or 4.3pc – a low not seen since mid-1975.

Employers appear keen to keep on hiring as the Office for National Statistics found 774,000 vacancies in August, a modest rise on the month.

The number of public sector workers also rose for the first time in a year to 5.44m.

Read Tim Wallace’s full report here

2:58PM

Galliford Try avoids large infrastructure projects as charge on legacy contracts hits profits  

Peter Truscott, Galliford’s chief executive, said that the company was remaining “cautious” about the impact of political uncertainty and the outlook for the macro economy

The developer and construction company Galliford Try has said it will no longer bid for large fixed-price infrastructure contracts after its profits were hit by a charge on legacy contracts. 

Pre-tax profits fell nearly 60pc to £59m due to the £98m charge it announced in May, relating to problem legacy contracts for the the Queensferry Crossing and part of a road in Aberdeen. But the company posted a 7pc rise in revenues to £2.7bn in the 12 months to June 30, and a 9pc increase in pre-tax profits excluding exceptional items including the charge.

Galliford added that the amount set aside was unchanged and it was making “good progress” on its target to increase profits by 60pc by 2021.

Its housebuilding arm, Linden Homes, and the regeneration division both reported stronger results, with operating profits up 16pc and 27pc respectively, but the construction side suffered, with margins on its underlying business squeezed to virtually nothing. 

Read Isabelle Fraser’s full report here

Galliford Try
2:40PM

Pound and dollar await crucial Thursday

Weak inflation is holding back interest rates rises in the US

Sterling has dipped into the red against the dollar in the last half an hour but today’s movements could be small fry compared to a big day for the two currencies tomorrow.

While sterling has the Bank of England’s Super Thursday to contend with, the US’s own inflation and interest rate hike worries will be the focal point for traders stateside.

Persistently sluggish inflation in the US has dampened hike hopes but a pick-up could reignite expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise rates for a third time in the cycle before the end of the year.

Lukman Otunuga, research analyst at FXTM, said this on tomorrow’s US figures:

“Thursday’s CPI report is a big deal, especially when considering how concerns over stubbornly low inflation rates remain one of the key culprits weighing heavily on US rate hike expectations.

“Price action suggests that dollar bears still remain in control, as investors become increasingly sceptical over the Federal Reserve’s ability to raise interest rates again before the end of the year. A soft inflation figure on Thursday that falls below market estimates is likely to dent the prospect of higher US rates, consequently punishing the vulnerable dollar further.”

2:01PM

Brent crude rallies close to $55 per barrel on upgraded demand forecast

Oil stocks have been boosted by the IEA’s upgraded forecast

Oil demand will pick-up faster than expected this year, the International Energy Agency has forecast today, boosting the price of Brent crude to close to $55 per barrel.

The IEA said that the market is beginning to rebalance as oil demand grows and production among OPEC members begins to fall.

Brent crude jumped 0.8pc to its highest level since late May after the report bumped up its demand growth forecast by 1.6m barrels per day.

Oil stocks have lagged behind crude’s rally in recent months but today the two oil giants on the FTSE 100, BP and Shell, have advanced 0.5pc and 0.6pc, respectively.

1:27PM

UK funds back DNA data miner that can diagnose disease

Sophia Genetics holds a database of 125,000 human genomes

A biotech offering artificial intelligence that can diagnose diseases by mining hundreds of thousands of patients’ DNA data has completed a $30m (£22.6m) fundraising, backed by names including UK venture capital giant Balderton Capital.

Sophia Genetics said it would use the cash to expand its network of hospital tie-ups, which already stands at 330 hospitals in 53 countries, including nine in the UK. The push will be focused on expansion outside Europe.

It will also help fund a move into cancer diagnostics, with the latest therapies from drugmakers increasingly being tailored to suit a patient’s genetic profile.

Swiss-based Sophia Genetics has already analysed the genomic profiles of over 125,000 patients, providing a database that aids doctors in diagnosing a range of conditions from cystic fibrosis and hereditary heart problems.

Read Iain Withers’ full report here

1:02PM

Halfords names Dixons Carphone software boss as new chief executive

Halfords said summer sales had been boosted by a rise in the number of Brits choosing to vacation closer to home

Halfords has appointed the boss of Dixons Carphone’s software business as it new chief executive.

Graham Stapleton has been hired to replace Jill McDonald, who is taking the reigns at Marks & Spencer’s clothing, home and beauty business next month.

Mr Stapleton, who joins the company in January, has previously served as chief executive of Dixons Carphone’s Connect World Services division. Prior to that, he was chief executive of Carphone Warehouse UK & Ireland.

Earlier in his career he held senior positions at Kingfisher and Marks & Spencer.

Read Sam Dean’s full report here

12:48PM

Lunchtime update: Squeeze on households confirmed by stagnant wage growth

The gap between inflation and wage growth has continued to widen

The squeeze on UK households got a little tighter today as the ONS confirmed that wage growth lags far behind rising inflation.

Unemployment dropped to its lowest level in 42 years but the tighter labour market failed to translate to earnings with wage growth stagnating at 2.1pc.

The fall has knocked hawkish hopes of an earlier-than-expected interest rate rise at the Bank of England and the pound has pared its early gains on the currency markets. Sterling remains at a one-year high against the dollar, however, trading at $1.3274.

The FTSE 100’s losses have eased but it is still stuck in the red, bucking the trend on markets. Miners weighed heavily on the blue-chip index as copper slipped to a three-week low while Tesco is the sharpest faller on a broker downgrade.

Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell commented on this morning’s action:

“While sterling’s slide took the edge off the FTSE’s losses it couldn’t fully lift it out of the red. Instead the index is still down 30 or so points, weighed down by its mining stocks. As for the Eurozone, the euro’s bounce against the pound meant there was little for the DAX and CAC to enjoy, instead both indices sitting flat as the morning went on.  

“Looking to this afternoon and for now the Dow Jones seems to have stalled at 22100. The index is set to start the US session flat at that level, with little on the agenda – bar the latest PPI reading – to help it on its way to a fresh all-time high.”

12:26PM

Slow wage growth a global problem

Today’s wage growth figures are proving a bit of a head scratcher for economists. The normal connection between a tight labour market and wage growth just hasn’t been feeding through into the figures recently.

Real wage growth has fallen in almost all sectors with only a handful, including finance and arts, enjoying a rise. 

Looking at the employment figures by region, Northern Ireland lags behind with just 68.2pc of its population in work compared to 79.6pc in the South East.  

Investec economist Philip Shaw points out that slow wage growth is not just a UK problem:

“Both basic economic theory and common sense suggest that pay growth is likely to be bid up as labour becomes scarcer and shortages become more commonplace.

“However, soft wage growth is not just a feature of the UK economy, but an international phenomenon, with the authorities in the US, the euro area and Japan attempting to make sense of similar developments, despite tight, or at least tightening labour markets there.”

Ashurst employment partner Crowley Woodford believes that confidence is key to sluggish wage growth:

“There is still a lack of confidence amongst employers with regards to the longer term future whilst workers still feel insecure in their jobs. This dampens the pressure on employers to offer higher pay and employee representative bodies to demand it.”

11:57AM

Apple’s iPhone X unveiling pulls down European suppliers

The iPhone X will be released in November and cost £999

Unless you’ve been living under the rock or taken a vow against capitalism, you may have noticed that Apple unveiled its new iPhone X yesterday and the markets are of course not immune to the latest release from the world’s largest listed company.

Disappointment that the iPhone X will not hit stores until November dragged down Apple shares 0.4pc last night in the US with the new £999 phone available to buy on November 3, a considerable delay compared to previous releases.

Given that Apple left its fourth quarter guidance in tact, it suggests that the tech giant expects to compensate for the delay with sales of its new iPhone 8, which will be released later this month.

Apple’s share price knock has had a read across to its suppliers with British semiconductor firm IQE falling nearly 6pc while in Europe suppliers AMS and Dialog have both retreated. Imagination Tech shares, which have plummeted since Apple announced that it would soon stop using the company’s chips, have fallen 4.5pc.

11:28AM

Markets update: easyJet jumps on new long-haul booking service

EasyJet has moved into long-haul through its ‘Worldwide by easyJet’ service

All that wage growth excitement has led me to neglect the big movers in London this morning so let’s take a quick look at the laggards and leaders.

On the FTSE 100, easyJet has been propelled to the top of the leaderboard after making the move into long-haul through a new service that allows passengers to book connecting flights on partner airlines.

At the other end, Tesco has dropped 1.9pc on a broker downgrade from Exane BNP Paribas while mining stocks are struggling as the price of copper falls to a three-week low.

On the mid-cap FTSE 250, homeware store Dunelm has popped over 7pc after it told shareholders of a strong start to its financial year while wholesale retailer Booker has retreated 2.5pc following a broker downgrade.

10:58AM

Dunelm sales drop as it warns of difficult trading climate in the UK

Dunelm like-for-like sales were down last year

Homewares retailer Dunelm has warned that it expects trading conditions to remain difficult in the UK as it reported a drop in like-for-like sales.

In its full-year results, Dunelm said like-for-like sales in its stores were down 2.4pc in the year to the start of July.

Overall like-for-like sales were down 0.5pc, and pre-tax profits fell to £92.4m from £128.9m in the previous year.

The decrease came despite an 8.5pc jump in total revenues, from £881m to £956m.  

The FTSE 250 company said the sales drop in its stores was the result of lower footfall as a result of “unusually warm weather”.

Shares jumped 40p to 650.5p, a 6.6pc increase, following the update.

Read Sam Dean’s full report here

10:48AM

Job figures reaction: link between wages and unemployment weakening

Minister for Employment Damian Hinds said today’s figures show employers investing Britain

The link between wages and unemployment is weakening, according to Deloitte’s chief economist Ian Stewart.

He said:

“Job creation is a huge UK success story. Despite Brexit uncertainties and slower growth, the UK continues to generate ever lower unemployment and ever more jobs.   “

“But the recession, and its aftermath, has weakened the link between unemployment and wages. In the past this degree of tightness in the jobs market would be pushing wages higher. Instead earnings growth has flat lined in the last couple of years.”

Here’s the reaction of the Minister for Employment Damian Hinds to today’s job figures:

“The strength of the economy is helping people of all ages find work, from someone starting their first job after leaving education, to those who might be starting a new career later in life.

“Britain’s employment success is largely about a growth in full-time and permanent work, as employers invest in Britain and offer quality job opportunities that put more money into people’s pockets.

“But there is more to do, and we will continue to build on our achievements through our employment programmes and the work of Jobcentre Plus.”

Unfortunately that extra money in people pockets is being pinched by high inflation.

10:34AM

Job figures reaction: high inflation and weak wage growth muddies BoE decision

The Bank of England is stuck between a rock and a hard place ahead of tomorrow’s monetary policy meeting after wage growth failed to keep up with inflation.

While high inflation boosts hopes that the central bank will soon take a hawkish turn, today’s poor wage growth figures in a tight labour market has added another layer of uncertainty. 

Ranko Berich, head of market analysis at Monex Europe, believes today’s figures have put the central bank in an uneviable position:

“Looking at the across the board inflation increase reported in August and low unemployment rate, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the BoE’s policy decision will be a no brainer in favour of higher rates at some stage in the next 12 months. But today’s miss on average earnings highlights the fact that this is just not the case: wage growth remains sluggish, and real wages are in deep contraction in the UK.

“The BoE is in an unenviable position heading into tomorrow’s MPC meeting, given that inflation is above target but the latest wage and investment data show that the economy is hardly going through a demand driven boom that needs an immediate monetary response.”

Wage growth failing to keep pace with inflation has muddied the decision at the Bank of England, according to ETX Capital analyst Neil Wilson.

He explained:

 “At the same time inflation is exchange rate rather than demand driven and therefore expected to retreat soon enough. Hopes of a hike by year-end may well be dashed on the rocks of economic uncertainty.

“In the short-term, cable may find it hard to hold onto gains if there is no additional indications from the Bank that it is prepared to hike this year. Today’s wage growth data would appear to temper any hawkish inclination, proving bearish for sterling in the near-term.”

10:06AM

Wage growth reaction: today’s disappointing figures pull down early interest rate hike hopes

Wage growth has weakened this year despite the decline in job market slack, according to Pantheon Macro

Has today’s disappointing wage growth wounded hopes of an early interest rate hike?

The chance of an early rate rise have been dealt a blow this morning, according to Jake Trask, FX Research Director at OFX.

He said:

“Before this morning’s data, there had been some speculation that the Bank of England’s Chief Economist would switch tack tomorrow, and address above-target inflation by voting for a rate hike.

“But this morning’s sluggish reading will likely see him sit on his hands a while longer, to avoid adding pressure to consumers already facing rising prices.”

Pantheon Macro UK economist Samuel Tombs agrees that today’s job figures weaken the argument of monetary policy hawks.

He explained:

“The latest labour market data are, on balance, a setback for the hawks on the MPC arguing for higher interest rates. Admittedly, employment rose by 181K, or 0.6%, in the three months to July, the fastest growth since the end of 2015.

“But the three-month average number of job vacancies in August was 0.9% lower than in the previous three months, pointing to a slowdown in employment growth ahead.”

9:57AM

Gap between wages and inflation widens

Today’s wage growth figures will reignite concerns that the tightening labour market is still failing to feed through to wage growth.

Wage growth was expected to nudge up to 2.2pc but the figures remained steady at 2.1pc.

The figures mean that the gap between wages and inflation, which rose to 2.9pc yesterday, has widened even further to tighten the squeeze on UK households.

London Capital Group analyst Ipek Ozkardeskaya believes the pound’s retreat following today’s data could be short-lived, however.

She added:

“The widening price-wage inflation gap is becoming a serious headache for the Bank of England (BoE) policymakers as lower wages require a dovish monetary policy, but only as long as the inflation allows. 

“Despite the slow improvement in wages and street protests from several sector workers, the rising inflationary pressures could encourage some Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) members to vote in favour of an interest rate hike in the coming months.”

9:44AM

Job figures key takeaways

Wage growth now lags far behind inflation

  1. Wage growth remains steady at 2.1pc, lower than expectations. The disappointing figures widen the gap between pay and rising prices.
  2. Unemployment nudges down to 4.3pc, its lowest rate since 1975.
  3. 32.14m people were in work in the three months to July, 181,000 more than the period between February to April.
  4. Pound retreats back to flat territory on the currency markets following sluggish wage growth data.
9:33AM

Wage growth disappoints; unemployment nudges down to 4.3pc

Wage growth disappoints, remaining steady at 2.1pc to widen the gap between rising prices and pay.

Unemployment nudges down to 4.3pc, a 0.1 percentage point drop.

Pound slips back towards flat territory against dollar, trading 0.1pc higher at $1.3280.

9:20AM

Pound eases off morning highs; still firmly in positive territory against most major currencies

The pound has jumped 0.3pc higher against the dollar this morning

The pound’s ascent on the currency markets has eased off a little as we approach the job figures at the bottom of the hour with sterling flirting with flat territory against the euro.

The FTSE 100 is continuing to suffer at the expense of the stronger pound, according to Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.

He said:

“With the UK jobs report on the way the FTSE continued to suffer in the shadow of sterling’s September rise.   The FTSE plunged more than 50 points after the bell, swiftly falling to a 7350-grazing near one week low. The miners have all moved lower, while BP and Shell are both down half a percent.

“However, the main reason for the UK index’s decline was the pound’s latest climb. Though only up 0.2%, that takes cable to a fresh, $1.33-plus one year peak; it has also risen 0.1% against the euro, cementing a 6 week high.”

9:05AM

Job figures preview: what the experts say

Let’s have a quick round-up of what the experts are saying ahead of today’s job figures.

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson believes strong figures today will lift interest rate hike hopes.

He said:

“A solid wages number could shift the calculus on the MPC further towards a rate rise with Chief economist Andrew Haldane likely to join the other two hawks Michael Saunders and Ian McCafferty in pushing for a rate rise, given recent comments he made during the summer, when inflation ticked up to the same level it is now.

“He suggested that “beginning the process of withdrawing some of the incremental stimulus provided last August would be prudent moving into the second part of the year”, though the caveat was that the data supported such a move.”  

He added that it would have been a “delicious irony” if inflation had pushed past 3pc and Bank of England governor Mark Carney had been forced to write a letter to chancellor Philip Hammond to explain why the figures had so badly missed the central bank’s 2pc target.

Many blame Mr Carney and co’s emergency monetary policy change after the EU referendum for knocking down the value of the pound and pushing up inflation.

Disappointing wage figures will only complicate matters at the central bank, according to Accendo Markets head of research Mike Van Dulken.

He commented:

“Following yesterday’s much hotter than expected inflation prints, the Bank of England will be hoping for a reciprocal surprise from wages too.

“A disappointment, however, will add yet another level of complexity to their current interest rate quandary, with policymakers hesitant to increase rates which consumers  are subject to an extended pinch on their pockets.”

8:48AM

Job figures preview: what to expect

Unemployment is expected to remain at a 42-year low

Yesterday’s jump in inflation reignited hawkish hopes of an interest rate hike before the end of the year, sending the pound soaring on currency markets.

There are concerns at the dovish end of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, however, that the UK economy is too fragile to withstand a rate rise. Could today’s figures be enough to persuade wavering MPC members, such as chief economist Andy Haldane, to back a hike?

What to expect

Wage growth is expected to nudge up to 2.2pc in the three months to July, a 0.1 percentage point rise on last month’s figures and lagging far behind inflation.

Meanwhile, unemployment will remain unchanged at 4.4pc, a 42-year low, according to economists.

8:27AM

Agenda: Pound pushes past $1.33 against dollar ahead of wage growth data

Housebuilder Galliford Try posted profits at the upper end of estimates

Lagging wage growth is the focal point for the markets this morning with the ONS’ figures expected to show the gap between pay and rising prices continuing to widen.

Average earnings growth will nudge up to 2.2pc, according to the consensus of economists, cranking up the pressure on households and marking another knock-back for real wages.

The pound this morning has built on yesterday’s post-inflation data gains against the dollar, rising 0.4pc at $1.3326, a one-year high. 

The FTSE 100 under pressure from the buoyant pound missed out on the relief rally pulling up equities globally yesterday. This morning it has lurched into the red while European stocks’ rally has stuttered with the CAC 40 in flat territory and the DAX nudging down.

Galliford Try’s full-year results are the highlight on a slightly lighter corporate calendar. The housebuilder, which was hit by a £98m provision to cover legacy contract costs earlier this year, posted profits at the upper end of estimates, pushing its shares 1.3pc higher earlier on.

Interim results: Alliance Pharma, Ten Entertainment Group, Just Group, Soco International, Gaming Realms, Ingenta, Epwin Group, SQS Software Quality Systems AG, Advanced Medical Solutions Group, Columbus Energy Resources, MyCelx Technologies Corporation

Full-year results: Wilmington, Dunelm Group, Town Centre Securities, Galliford Try, Haynes Publishing Group

AGM: Marechale Capital, Versarien, Tricorn Group, Argo Group, Games Workshop Group, Intercede Group, Hardy Oil & Gas

Economics: Unemployment Rate (UK), Claimant Count Change (UK), Average Earnings Index 3m/y (UK), PPI m/m (US), Industrial Production m/m (EU)Employment Change q/q (EU)