MT's Week in 60 Seconds

In the business news this week: Barack bounces, ailing airlines, and lame Latin.

After Barack Obama stormed to power in the US election this week, there was a brief surge of optimism around the business world – though obviously it didn’t last long. Perhaps realising just how tough a task the new President-elect faces (‘Black man given nation's worst job', as the Onion put it), the Barack bounce looked to be of the ‘dead cat’ variety by the end of the week.

No question about the big news for the UK economy this week: the Bank of England’s radical 1.5% cut in interest rates caught everyone by surprise, and entirely scuppered the sweepstakes at generalist business magazines throughout the UK. Although business groups seemed pleased, especially in light of gloomy figures about the number of small businesses going bust, the market actually dropped – investors were clearly taken aback by just how bad the Bank thinks things are going to get.

Not that there’s been much good news on the corporate front this week. RBS took another big write-down, while retail giants Marks & Spencer and Next reported another slump in sales. The car industry is in the toilet. And we’re starting to see just how bad a summer the big airlines have had – Ryanair and BA both reported huge profit slumps this week, while the latter also had to cope with renegade staff moaning about passengers on Facebook. In fact, the rise in real ale sales was just about the only cause for celebration this week…

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