A short week, but as usual these days, no shortage of bad news on the economic front. With more doom and gloom from the housebuilders – both Bovis and Taylor Wimpey slumped to huge losses – and news from Nationwide that house prices are now over 10% lower than this time last year, it’s no surprise that analysts are downgrading their predictions for the UK’s economic prospects. Again. And as long as Northern Rock keeps haemorrhaging public money, the Treasury doesn’t have much in its coffers to fight back.
But while some industries are struggling – airlines being another prime example – others are doing very nicely, thank you. Mining giant Rio Tinto more than doubled its profits thanks to the soaring price of commodities. And there was also good news for Mattel, which got a big compensation payout in its legal battle with upstart rival MGA (the maker of Bratz); Microsoft, as analysts welcomed the handy anti-Google features in its latest version of Internet Explorer; and RBS, which managed to recruit three heavyweight non-execs. Though whether this is good news for CEO Sir Fred Goodwin’s job prospects remains to be seen…
Meanwhile there were some unwelcome findings for the UK’s small businesses. A report discovered that a large proportion don’t have contingency plans in place to make sure their business keeps going in the event of fire, flood or man-made disaster, while new Government legislation on work-based training seemingly added more red tape to the ever-increasing burden. And worst of all, it emerged that Jordan is more of an entrepreneurial icon than the likes of Stelios and Anita Roddick, according to an online poll. It's amazing what reality TV can do. Perhaps Sir Fred should consider it?
In today's bulletin:
Zoom becomes latest casualty of aviation turbulence
It never rains but it pours for B&B
Workers nervous as pay gap widens
MT's Week in 60 Seconds
Lessons in advertising, from YouTube