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Daily business and finance update 17th February 2023

FTSE breaks 8k

Good morning. Facebook parent company Meta is slashing costs practically everywhere, but it's not cutting founder and CEO's Mark Zuckerberg's considerable personal security budget – that's actually increasing by $4m to $14m.

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FTSE breaks 8k

Despite looming fears of a UK recession this year and the worst cost of living crisis in a generation, yesterday the FTSE 100 closed above 8,000 points for the first time in its 40-year history. It comes less than two weeks after the UK’s benchmark stock index broke the previous held since May 2018. Although listed in London, 75% of revenue of the 100 companies are from outside the UK in economies with better growth prospects. The index has also benefited from the prevalence of energy companies who have profited from the soaring oil and gas prices since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Although yesterday marks a significant milestone for the FTSE 100 it’s still only 25% higher since 2000.

British Gas owner’s record profit

The energy giant Centrica, which owns British Gas, tripled its profits last year to £3.3bn. The news provoked outrage from poverty campaigners amid rising energy bills for consumers and the controversial fitting of prepayment meters in vulnerable customer homes during the period. The firm said it would be paying £1bn in tax and insisted that it alone could not solve the cost of living crisis. The increase in Centrica’s profits did not come from British Gas, where it supplies energy to 10m homes, but rather from its gas production, nuclear power and energy trading divisions which reaped the rewards of soaring energy prices.

Aldi’s UK expansion

The German discounter announced it would create more than 6,000 jobs across the UK in 40 new stores by the end of 2023. Aldi is the country’s fourth biggest supermarket with 9.2% market share, making it larger than Morrisons and behind only Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda. The company currently employs 40,000 people in almost 1,000 UK stores. Aldi's popularity has grown exponentially over the last few years and particularly during the current cost of living crisis. It was voted the UK's cheapest supermarket by Which? last month and has recently been voted Britain's "favourite" supermarket in a new polling from YouGov.

Costly WhatsApp messages

Deutsche Bank and Barclays became the latest banking giants to announce that they are cutting bonuses and penalising staff for WhatsApp misuse. Financial regulators has levied billions of dollars in fines on banks over use of the messaging app to communicate with clients. The use of private messaging services like WhatsApp makes it more difficult for regulators to review communications in the event they need to investigate, and the practice is said to have become a particular problem during the pandemic when more bankers worked from home.


Walking out: Rail workers are set to walk out in a fresh series of strikes in March and April in a long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.

Driving back: Tesla is recalling 360,0000 cars in the US over fears their full self-driving software may cause a crash.

Bill buster: Millions of consumers with O2 and Virgin Mobile contracts are to be hit with an inflation-busting 17.3% increase in their bills.

Mis-selling: Huel adverts that claimed its meal replacement shakes could help consumers save money during the cost of living crisis have been banned.

Asset expansion: Asset management giant Fidelity is planning to increase its headcount by 4,000 in the first half of this year.

Food hikes: The world's biggest food group Nestle will lift prices again this year after more costly ingredients contributed to making it miss profit targets.

Aligning incentives: The boss of Boohoo could be in line for a £50m as the fast fashion retailer seeks to overhaul its incentive scheme after a slump in its share price.

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Number Of The Day

$1.95 billion

The value of electric carmaker Tesla shares CEO Elon Musk donated to charity last year.

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