Another steady stream of grim economic news this week: we began with the British Chamber of Commerce demanding a cut in interest rates to stave off recession, and the mood wasn’t helped by a prominent economist’s prediction that one of the big US banks will fail within months. A rebound in high street sales figures was treated with scepticism, while the ONS confirmed most analysts’ fears this morning by confirming that UK economic growth has ground to a complete halt in the last three months.
The main casualties of the turmoil so far have been the banks and the housebuilders, and both have been taking tentative steps towards recovery this week. Alliance & Leicester encouraged shareholders to back a generous takeover bid from Spanish bank Santander, while Persimmon reported a huge drop in profits but suggested that the worst may be over.
And it was a mixed week for airport operator BAA, another company that’s had a pretty rotten year: after the high of finalising a long-term funding deal on Monday, two days later it was hammered by a Competition Commission report that said it should be forced to sell Gatwick, Stansted, and one of its Scottish airports. Let the auction begin...
Entrepreneurs have also been in the news this week, after Monday’s report that they’re working an average of about 50 hours a week. Perhaps they’d be better off taking refuge in a big company instead. Meanwhile bonkers entrepreneur Ling Valentine gave us some more novel tips on marketing, and to keep you entertained through the silly season, our esteemed editor kept us informed on his own multi-tasking efforts during his week in sole charge of an 11-month-old.
Most of us have probably had one eye on Beijing all week, where Team GB has been picking up medals left, right and centre. Good news for London 2012, good news for David Bowie (who’s cashing in via big marketing deal) but not so good for businesses, according to one IT firm, who’s been moaning about the detrimental effects all this streaming media will have on our bandwidth. Perhaps it's run by Australians...
In today's bulletin:
Slowing economy gives public transport a lift
PA red-faced after latest data fiasco
Glassdoor looks to break salary taboo
MT's Week in 60 Seconds
Lessons in crisis management, from YouTube