Paul Murphy

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Paul Murphy is the founding editor of FT Alphaville and an associate editor of the Financial Times. He joined the FT in London in 2006 as development editor of, concentrating on the expansion of the online business. Prior to that, he served as the Guardian’s financial editor for seven years. He has also held senior positions in business journalism at the Sunday Business newspaper and the Daily Telegraph. Murphy is a graduate of the London School of Economics.

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So Tesco stock surges on confirmation of SFO probe…

We guess this is the regulatory version of those occasions where a self-regarding company chairman or chief executive announces their retirement, only to watch the company’s share price rise in relief.

From Tesco on Wednesday afternoon, following a report on Kleinmanwire:

Tesco confirms that it has been notified by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) that it has commenced an investigation into accounting practices at the company. Tesco has been cooperating fully with the SFO and will continue to do so. Tesco has been notified by the Financial Conduct Authority that, in light of the SFO investigation, its investigation will be discontinued.

And Tesco’s share price on Wednesday…

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Still waiting for the Great Rotation? Stop

Mark Schofield and his team of macro strategists at Citi have a new watchword: diversification. The bank has a major new paper on the matter (one of its occasional Citi GPS series), arguing that we’ve all been wrong to sit about expecting, at some point, a sudden rush for the exit in bond markets and a consequent rebalancing of equity allocations. Read more

Now showing: last ever episode of Barroso TV

Catch it now:

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FREE e-book offer for FT Alphaville readers

Numbers are limited, so no more than 6 downloads per registered user please. (Before you click, it’s an 8meg file.)

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Dear ECB, see Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Act III, Scene II…

Landon Thomas and Jack Ewing of Dealbook have happened across a delicious leak of ECB council minutes, running from May 2012 to January 2013.

Here’s the ECB’s response:

The E.C.B. neither provides nor approves emergency liquidity assistance. It is the national central bank, in this case the Central Bank of Cyprus, that provides E.L.A. to an institution that it judges to be solvent at its own risks and under its own terms and conditions.

In this specific case, there was full consensus in the governing council on the need to get assurances from the Central Bank of Cyprus that this bank was solvent. The solvency was confirmed explicitly by the Central Bank of Cyprus, which also confirmed the proper valuation of collateral after an intense dialogue between it and the E.C.B.

The E.C.B. was not the supervisor and fully relied on the assessment of the Central Bank of Cyprus. Therefore to draw conclusions about the E.C.B.’s future banking supervision role on the basis of E.L.A. to Cyprus is tendentious.

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This is nuts. When’s the real crash?

Alibaba this week…

The calm after Wednesday’s one-day storm is downright weird. No?

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A fresh session low for the S&P 500…

1,823.06 -54.64 (-2.91%)

- at pixel. DJIA off by a similar margin. What to say? Let’s fall back on charts…

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Had to share. It’s doing the rounds by email…

The original title of this post read: What do you call a stock market crash that only lasts half an hour? Read more

And the special Credit Suisse wealth topic this year is…

Inequality. Obviously.

The CS annual Wealth Report is now in its fifth year. Click the pyramid to read. Read more

“Nine out of ten clients lost money”

We’re talking retail forex trading here — through legitimate, authorised forex trading houses, not fraudsters.

Do places like the UK need hard leverage caps — like those imposed in the US — to cut the abuse of naive speculators?

The stat in the headline is from the Autorité des Marchés Financiers, the French regulator, which has made rather more effort than others in Europe in trying to combat online financial spivvery. Read more

A Chanos chart (and chat)

It’s from the second installment of The New House of Money, which is being published chapter-by-chapter by Drobny Capital’s Steve Drobny. Read more

Just click here for the cheese eating North Korean fatso who may well be dead already

Journalism today, courtesy of the Telegraph. A n0te to staff aimed at improving online readership…

Good morning. Kim Jong Un has been rolling his way into the news recently, and google trends shows people love searching for him at the weekend… so I’ve prepped some SEO advice. Read more

Penny delusions

We take much stick on here for pointing out the bleeding obvious to people seemingly blind to the speculative risks they are taking in certain corners of the equity market.

But we’ll persevere. Here’s the Friday afternoon investor bonfire in iron ore prospect London Mining…

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The (early) Lunch Wrap

Good morning New York,


The London 6am Cut

Mick Davis, the former head of Xstrata, attempted a dramatic comeback earlier this year, approaching BHP Billiton with an offer to buy a bundle of mines from the world’s largest natural resources group, said people familiar with the matter. BHP rebuffed the bid from X2 Resources, Mr Davis’ new investment vehicle, and instead stuck by a plan to spin-off unwanted assets into a new listed company. (Financial Times)

Brussels is challenging the “double Irish” tax avoidance measure prized by big US tech and pharma groups, putting pressure on Dublin to close it down or face a full-blown investigation. (Financial TimesRead more

The 6am London Cut

Markets: US stocks, gold and shorter-dated Treasury bonds rallied strongly while the dollar sank following the latest indication that the Federal Reserve was in no hurry to raise interest rates. (Global Market Overview)

Britain won EU approval for a new nuclear power plant in Somerset on Wednesday, allowing the government to commit to 35 years of financial support for Europe’s biggest and most controversial infrastructure project. (Financial TimesRead more

The 6am London Cut

Markets: Nagging concerns about the outlook for global growth and doubts about the effectiveness of central bank policy responses undermined risk appetite, driving global equity and industrial commodity prices lower but enhancing the appeal of US government bonds and the yen. (Global Market Overview)

The outlook for the global economy has darkened, the International Monetary Fund warned on Tuesday, as it estimated there is now a four in 10 chance the eurozone will slide into a third recession since the financial crisis. (Financial TimesRead more

Spritz meets Bloomberg? FAIL

Wouldn’t it be useful if you could consume information at double or triple speed? Imagine Reading Reimagined®! Got the SPRITZLET yet?

Maybe you shouldn’t bother. Read more

The 6am London Cut

Hewlett-Packard reportedly plans to break in two, separating its personal-computer and printer businesses from its corporate hardware and services operations. The company plans to announce the move as early as Monday. (WSJ)

Becton Dickinson & Co, the medical technology and drug company, has agreed to acquire rival CareFusion for $12.2bn in a cash and stock deal that marks the latest transaction in a record-breaking year for deals in the healthcare industry. (Financial TimesRead more

‘Made of plastic and frankly revolting’

You judge. Here’s Andy Street, managing director of John Lewis, picking up his World Retail Congress trophy in Paris this week.

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The 6am London shortCut

JP Morgan Chase said the names, addresses, telephone numbers and emails of 76m households – or just under two-thirds of the total households in America – were “compromised” in a cyber attack on the biggest US bank by assets. (Financial Times)

Rocket Internet, one of the most anticipated European tech listings since the dotcom bubble, disappointed on its Frankfurt debut amid investor concern about its ability to create successful ecommerce start-ups. Shares in Rocket shed 12.9 per cent to €37, the second worst start to trading for any initial public offering raising more than $500m in Europe or the US in five years, according to Dealogic. (Financial TimesRead more

A gratuitous Stick Internet chart (plus some GoPro news…)

Just wanted to point out the similarity between Rocket Internet’s experience on day one…

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The 6am London Cut

Mario Draghi is unlikely to talk much about the euro on Thursday when he sets out details of an asset-buying plan intended to deliver an adrenalin shot to Europe’s faltering economy. But investors believe currency depreciation is the only real weapon eurozone policy makers can now use. (Financial Times)

A project led by Goldman Sachs to set up a new Wall Street messaging platform may be expanded to develop trading functions and other features, providing a powerful vehicle for the financial industry to create and monetise technology. On Wednesday, Goldman and 13 other Wall Street stalwarts including JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and BlackRock officially unveiled the new chat platform and company, known as Symphony Communication Services. (Financial TimesRead more

Zalando: are the anti-psychotics actually kicking in?

Study this chart carefully. It’s the first day of dealings in Zalander, the Frankfurt-listed online frock shop that claims to be Europe’s biggest.

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The 6am London Cut

Ebay is to spin off PayPal which accounts for as much as half of its $65bn stock market value, in a further unravelling of one of the few remaining successes from the dotcom era of internet companies. The move marks a dramatic climbdown coming just months after the company rejected calls by the activist investor Carl Icahn to sell the online payments system. (Financial Times)

Just when good news was starting to flow again out of Ireland, along comes the European Commission to spoil the celebrations. The Irish economy is growing strongly after its three-year, €67bn bailout. But its cherished corporate tax regime, which has attracted billions of dollars of foreign direct investment over four decades, is now under intense international scrutiny. (Financial Times) Read more

Nothing to see at Santander, move along now

The disclosure of “material” information tends to generate a bit of discussion in corporate and financial circles, unless of course we’re talking Spanish banks.

Note this announcement from Santander on Tuesday: Read more

The 6am London Cut

Two of the world’s largest securities depositories have finalised a joint venture to create a vast pool containing trillions of dollars of collateral to ease banks’ search for scarce assets to back trading. The US’s Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation and Belgium’s Euroclear confirmed they would create a venture called DTCC-Euroclear Global Collateral Ltd. The two have been in discussions for more than a year. (Financial Times)

The Frenchman nominated to be Europe’s next economics commissioner has had his authority to review national budgets curbed. The move was a nod to deficit hawks in Berlin who opposed Pierre Moscovici’s appointment. Mr Moscovici, the former French finance minister, will be unique among the 27 incoming commissioners in that he will be legally required to prepare and submit his assessments of national budgets jointly with another commissioner. (Financial TimesRead more

23 years later…

The American Life radio show and the Pro Publica investigative journalism service set an interesting debate a-blaze last week, detailing the 46 hours of secret recordings undertaken by Carmen Segarra, a specialist hired (and subsequently fired) by the New York Fed.

The recordings have painted a vivid picture of regulatory dithering in the face of a rapacious Goldman Sachs as the bank sought to gain clearance for a share warehousing operation that would allow Spain’s Santander to sidestep European capital requirements.

Subsequent criticism has centred on the NY Fed’s apparent impotence in the face of Wall Street muscle. But is it more the case that Matt Taibbi has been right all along? Does the bank actively help clients dodge (if not break) the rules?

Let’s examine a largely forgotten example of Goldman’s past behaviour in London… Read more

The 6am London Cut

Allianz has insisted it has no plans to sell Pimco or interfere more in the business, after billions were wiped off the German insurer’s share price following the shock departure of Bill Gross, the US fund house’s chief investment officer, on Friday. (Financial Times)

While Apple is no stranger to allegations of tax avoidance from politicians on the warpath, in Brussels it is facing a more worrying threat: a tax repayment order that could potentially run to billions of euros. (Financial TimesRead more

46 hours later…

Some drivetime financial radio for Friday. Click to download or stream:

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