Good morning. Congratulations to the residents of Wadhurst which has been named the UK’s best place to live beating out 71 other locations. Judges said that the Sussex market town has 'pretty much everything needed for modern life in miniature' including good schools, convenient transport links and 'stunning scenery'.
All eyes on Deutsche Bank
Shares in Germany’s biggest lender fell as much as 14% on Friday as it became the newest focus of banking concerns amid falling investor confidence. The sell-off was triggered by a jump in the price of Deutsche Bank’s credit default swaps – a financial product that acts as insurance against a possible default by the bank. Germany’s Chancellor said there was no cause for concern about Deutsche Bank, which is “a very profitable company”. It comes less than a week after Credit Suisse was forced into a humiliating takeover by rival UBS, Deutsche Bank’s stock drop sparked some worries that it could be the next iconic European bank to collapse. Both banks are part of 30 globally significant financial institutions, with international rules requiring them to hold higher levels of capital reserves because failure could cause widespread losses.
Microsoft’s good news
Microsoft got a boost after UK regulators said they no longer believed that the proposed $70bn takeover of Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard, would hurt competition in the console gaming market. The deal would be the largest in gaming history but has faced opposition from regulators across the world who are concerned it could harm consumers through higher prices and less choice. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority said that after reviewing new evidence it had shifted its position which would clear a huge obstacle to the deal’s global prospects.
Retail sales on the rise
UK retail sales rose 1.5% between January and February, more than the 0.2% expected as consumers continued to spend despite the 40-year high inflation. Sales have now returned to their pre-pandemic levels as discounting and second-hand stores enticed consumers. Separate survey data showed that confidence among UK consumers improved in March because of better economic forecasts, although their outlook on their personal finances deteriorated. GfK’s index of consumer confidence rose two points to minus 36, the highest since March 2022 but still well below zero, indicating an overall decline in confidence.
Fintech giant under attack
Block, the owner of payment platforms Square and Cash App, has been accused by Hindenburg Research of facilitating fraud, avoiding regulation and misleading shareholders with inflated metrics in a demining report. Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Block and Twitter, saw his net worth plunge by $526m last week to $4.4bn after Block’s share price dropped 11%. Block denied the allegations and said it plans to explore legal action against the Hindenburg. It comes two months after Hindenburg’s delivered a similarly explosive fraud allegations on Adani Group. At the time the Indian conglomerate was worth $218bn but since then has lost more than $100bn in its market value.
Lowering bills: One of Britain’s biggest energy providers, Ovo, has offered its first deal cheaper than the government’s bill guarantee.
End of the road: Beyonce has reportedly parted ways from Adidas for their collaborative clothing line Ivy Park.
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Number Of The Day
The percentage of UK asset managers who admit to still using fax machines within their business, according to a survey. The UK is unbelievably on the low side, with the US coming in at 73% and Singapore at 79%.