Financial Services Authority acts to prevent banks misspelling packaged current accounts - Daily Telegraph Financial Services Authority acts to prevent banks misspelling packaged current accounts - Daily Telegraph

Friday, July 27, 2012

Financial Services Authority acts to prevent banks misspelling packaged current accounts - Daily Telegraph

Financial Services Authority acts to prevent banks misspelling packaged current accounts - Daily Telegraph

The number of people holding packaged bank accounts has doubled over the past five years. According to figures from data analysts, Defaqto, there are currently 70 different types of packaged accounts on sale in the UK, compared with 39 in 2007.

The Financial Ombudsman Service said it receives about 150 complaints each year linked to the accounts but it added that the overall number is likely to be “significantly” higher as most complaints are linked to insurance policies sold as part of the account. Many customers have found they are ineligible to claim on parts of the packages such as travel insurance.

Of Britain’s largest banks, Barclays and Lloyds Banking Group refused to say how many of its customers use paid-for accounts.

The largely state owned Royal Bank of Scotland said 2.5 million customers held packaged accounts, while HSBC said 840,000 of its customers held such accounts. Elsewhere, the Co-operative Bank said it now had 210,00 customers using packaged accounts, while Santander UK said that it had 300,000 customers on paid-for accounts.

All banks said they were taking steps to ensure suitable customers took out packaged accounts and had co-operated with the FSA investigation.

Michael Ossei, personal finance expert at, said: “This is good news for consumers as it brings some much-needed clarity into the paid-for current account market. For too long, banks have been signing up customers to these fee-paying accounts with little evidence to suggest that the customer actually requires or can even use the benefits that they are paying for."

Asian Stocks Head for Biggest Gain in 8 Months on Draghi - Bloomberg

Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index headed for the biggest gain in almost nine months, after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said policy makers will do whatever is needed to preserve the euro.

HSBC Holdings Plc (5), Europe’s biggest lender, rose 2.6 percent in Hong Kong. LG Display Co., which makes digital products, gained 7.3 percent in Seoul on expectations earnings will improve. China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd., which makes aluminum used in rail carriages and airplanes, jumped 5.9 percent in Hong Kong after saying profit will increase. Hitachi Chemical Co., a Japanese manufacturer of chemical products, surged 8.9 percent after raising its profit forecast.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 2.1 percent to 116.16 as of 7:45 p.m. in Tokyo with about six stocks advancing for each that fell and paring its loss this week to 0.4 percent. The measure is headed for the biggest daily increase since Dec. 1.

“There’s a fear things are getting out of control, and so Draghi came out with a very strong statement in support of the market that they are going to do everything necessary to support the euro,” said Cameron Peacock, a Melbourne-based market analyst at IG Markets, a provider of trading services for stocks, bonds and currencies. “We are looking at a fairly strong finish to the end of the week.”

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell about 12 percent from this year’s high on Feb. 29 through yesterday amid concern China’s economy is slowing and Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis will worsen. The regional benchmark index traded at 11.6 times estimated earnings as of yesterday, compared with 13.2 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 10.9 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Nikkei, Kospi

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 1.5 percent as a report showed consumer prices fell in June, raising prospects for additional easing. South Korea’s Kospi Index advanced 2.6 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.5 percent, while New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index increased 0.5 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 2 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index added 0.1 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index fell 0.2 percent.

Futures on the S&P 500 (SPXL1) rose 0.3 percent today. The gauge added 1.7 percent in New York yesterday, when U.S. reports on durable goods and jobless claims eased concern that economic growth is slowing. Global stocks rallied after Draghi suggested policy makers may intervene in bond markets as yields surge in Spain and Italy.

Companies that do business in Europe advanced. HSBC added 2.6 percent to HK$64.10. Konica Minolta Holdings Inc. (4902), a maker of photographic film that gets 28 percent of its sales in Europe, rose 3.8 percent to 520 yen in Tokyo.

Samsung Surges

Samsung Electronics Co. (005930), a consumer electronics company that depends on Europe for 19 percent of its sales, jumped 5.2 percent to 1.233 million won. Samsung topped Nokia as the world’s biggest cellphone vendor in the second quarter, according to Strategy Analytics. The Korean company also forecast higher demand for its panel displays and handsets.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast a report today will show the U.S. economy grew an annualized 1.4 percent in the second quarter, compared with a 1.9 percent expansion in the previous three months. The Federal Open Market Committee meets next week and Chairman Ben S. Bernanke last week said policy makers are studying options for further easing in case economic growth remains too feeble to produce a lasting decline in unemployment.

“Everyone wants to see the Fed embark on a third round of quantitative easing,” Peacock said. “It’s going to provide a temporary boost to the stock market, it’s going to push up commodity prices and it’s going to lower the U.S. dollar. It’s going to make people feel a bit better, but it’s not going to solve any structural problem.”

LG Display

Technology shares rose the most among the 10 groups on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index. LG Display, owned by mobile phone maker LG Electronics Inc. (066570), soared 7.3 percent to 23,500 in Seoul won after Hyundai Securities Co. raised its price target by 25 percent to 35,000 won, saying earnings will improve from August. LG Innotek Co., a mobile-phone component maker, climbed 8.7 percent to 84,100 won.

Investors also watched earnings reports. Earnings have missed analyst estimates for 51 percent of the 125 firms listed on the Asia-Pacific gauge that have reported quarterly results and offered forecasts this month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

China Zhongwang added 5.9 percent to HK$2.86 after the company said it expects its first-half profit will increase “substantially.”

Hitachi Chemical jumped 8.9 percent to 1,195 yen after raising its fiscal-year net income forecast 9.3 percent to 23.5 billion yen, more than an analyst estimate of 20.9 billion yen.

To contact the reporter on this story: Yoshiaki Nohara in Tokyo at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Gentle at

Enlarge image Asian Stocks Rise Second Day as Draghi Pledges to Preserve Euro

Asian Stocks Rise Second Day as Draghi Pledges to Preserve Euro

Asian Stocks Rise Second Day as Draghi Pledges to Preserve Euro

Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Smoke rises from a furnace at JFE Steel Corp.'s plant in Chiba City, Japan.

Smoke rises from a furnace at JFE Steel Corp.'s plant in Chiba City, Japan. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks, euro fall as markets seek ECB detail - Reuters

Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:52am EDT

* FTSEurofirst 300, metals, oil rise

* Italian bond yields fall, narrow gap with Germany

* ECB action eyed after Draghi, Le Monde report

* German Bundesbank tempers risk appetite

By Toni Vorobyova

LONDON, July 27 (Reuters) - European equities rose and peripheral bond yields fell on Friday on growing expectations of ECB action to bring down Spanish and Italian borrowing costs, but concerns about possible German opposition to such a move kept risk appetite in check.

Euro zone governments and the European Central Bank are preparing to intervene on financial markets, French daily Le Monde reported, citing unnamed sources.

The report came a day after ECB President Mario Draghi boosted risk assets across the globe with his pledge do whatever it takes within the bank's mandate to defend the single currency.

"Now all of a sudden everybody thinks he (Draghi) is going to start printing. He has backed himself into a corner, if he doesn't come up with anything then he could be in trouble," said Ioan Smith, strategist at Knight Capital.

"You wouldn't want to be short (equities) at the moment given the market's reaction, the market is very skittish."

Expectations for the U.S. Federal Reserve to potentially open the door for a third round of quantitative easing at a meeting next week - following a run of weak data - also supported appetite for risk assets.

The FTSEurofirst 300 was up 0.3 percent at 1,045.89 points at 1027 GMT. Copper prices rose 1 percent and oil also edged higher.

The euro traded around $1.2267, in sight of a two-week high hit on the back of Draghi's comments on Thursday.

Ten-year Italian government bond yields reversed an earlier rise and were down 3 basis points on the day at 6.0 percent, helping to narrow their spread over equivalent German Bunds to 466 basis points.

However, risk appetite was somewhat tempered after Germany's Bundesbank said it viewed "in a critical fashion" the dormant Securities Market Programme (SMP) under which the ECB had bought bonds issued by weaker euro zone governments on the secondary market. The SMP was seen by analysts as one possible tool to be used this time.

The report weighed on the euro and briefly sent equities into the red. Analysts said the onus was now on policymakers to follow words with actions, and the market had set the bar high.

"There remains a fair degree of scepticism among investors about whether and how they will move," Steven Englander, strategist at Citi, said in a note.

"If the ECB meeting comes and goes with nothing done - at least via announcement of concrete future action - we will see the euro sold, very likely to new lows. The reason is that the failure would reinforce the view of a dysfunctional policy process. So, no move, or an obviously token move would be very poorly received."

The chances for any action from the Fed, meanwhile, may be affected by the strength of U.S. second quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data due at 1230.

US STOCKS-Futures advance on optimism over stimulus - Reuters UK

Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:58pm BST

(Adds comment, Merck results)

* Facebook, Starbucks tumble in premarket after results

* GDP data on tap

* Merck shares rise after earnings

* Futures up: Dow 45 pts, S&P 4.6 pts, Nasdaq 13.50

By Edward Krudy

NEW YORK, July 27 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Friday at the end of a volatile week that has reinvigorated hopes that both the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank will act next week to shore up flagging economies and stabilize the euro zone.

Stocks leapt nearly 2 percent on Thursday, erasing much of their losses for the week, as ECB chief Mario Draghi said he would do whatever it takes to save the euro. That followed a story in the Wall Street Journal Wednesday which was widely seen as heralding a new round of stimulus from the Fed.

The Commerce Department releases its first estimate for second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT), expected to show the economy expanded at a 1.5 percent annual rate between April and June, down from 1.9 percent in the first three months of the year. A miss there could reinforce expectation of Fed action.

Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh, said that while more bond purchases, or quantitative easing, from the Fed would produce a short-term trading rally, it would be unlikely to fix the economy or sustain the markets in the long term.

"We don't think it's fixing anything," she said. "What it seems to be doing is kicking the can down the road rather than letting capital go to its best use."

S&P 500 futures rose 4.6 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration of the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures added 45 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 13.50 points.

Optimism over further stimulus measures have helped offset a mixed U.S. corporate earnings season, with many companies beating profit forecasts but often missing revenue projections and warning about sluggish global growth.

As of Thursday, about half of S&P 500 companies have reported earnings. Of those, about two thirds have beat profit forecasts. Three in five, however, have missed Wall Street's revenue projections, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Facebook Inc reported a drastic slowdown in revenue growth on Thursday and failed to offer financial forecasts that quelled fears about its ability to boost advertising growth, sending its shares plummeting to a record low. The stock was down 10.6 percent at $24.05 in premarket trade.

Starbucks Corp cut its outlook for the current quarter, citing global economic weakness and a recent slowdown in visits in the United States, its biggest market for sales and profits, sending shares tumbling 9.7 percent premarket.

Merck & Co reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings on Friday, despite the negative impact of the stronger dollar, with strong sales growth of its vaccines and treatments for diabetes and HIV. The shares rose 1.5 percent in light trading.

European shares offered support with a second consecutive rise due to renewed hopes of more stimulus from global policymakers. The FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 0.5 percent Friday, after surging 2.4 percent on Thursday.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers at 9:55 a.m ET ( 1 355 GMT) i s expected by economists to show a reading of 72.0 on its index of consumer sentiment, in line with a preliminary figure. shares were down 0.5 percent in premarket trading following the release of its results. The online retailer forecast third-quarter revenue that lagged Wall Street's projections. (Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

Stocks to Watch: Facebook, Amazon, Chevron - Yahoo Finance

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