Kingfisher CEO ejected from the nest
City news: DIY chain Kingfisher is ousting its chief executive, after her turnaround plan failed to pay off.
Th company has announced that it has begun searching for a replacement for Véronique Laury, who joined the company at the end of 2014.
Laury, who apparently “fully supports the decision”, will stay on until a successor is found.
Laury’s position has looked shaky since Kingfisher reported falling sales and profits last year. She had been pushing a strategy, called “One Kingfisher,” to improve integration between its UK and French operations. That’s not boosted earnings, though, or its share price.
Leading the transformation has been so exciting but also very challenging. As the transformation approaches its final year, I believe it is right for someone else to lead the next phase of the ONE Kingfisher journey.
Anxiety over the US-China trade talks is building again today.
Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that talks between the two sides had soured, with China refusing to accept some US demands.
Chinese officials have shifted their stance because after agreeing to changes to their intellectual-property policies, they haven’t received assurances from the Trump administration that tariffs imposed on their exports would be lifted, two of the people said on condition of anonymity.
Beijing has also stepped back from its initial promises over data protection of pharmaceuticals, didn’t offer details on plans to improve patent linkages, and refused to give ground on data-service issues, one person familiar with the U.S.’s views said.
This is fuelling concerns that the trade war could escalate further, and lead to even more tariffs being imposed on exports between the two countries.
According to the Wall Street Journal, top US officials including Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will fly to Beijing next week for fresh talks….
Introduction: UK inflation in focus
Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the financial markets, the world economy, the eurozone and business.
UK workers got some good news yesterday – wages are rising at their fastest pace since the financial crisis, at a pacy 3.4% per year.
Today, we discover how much of a bite inflation is taking out of those pay packets — which could influence the chances of interest rate rises this year.
The consumer prices index is expected to have risen by 1.8% year-on-year in February, matching January’s reading.
That would be a two-year low, and could elicit a small cheer from the Bank of England, as it would mean inflation was actually close to its target of 2%.
Michael Hewson of CMC Markets reckons cost of living pressures may have eased further last month.
If today’s CPI inflation numbers show another drop from the surprise drop to 1.8%, we saw in January, then consumers will get a further boost to their wage packets after months of negative to low wage growth.
Even if we come in at 1.8% in the February numbers it will still be a two-year low for headline CPI, with core prices also expected to come in at 1.9%.
Also coming up
America’s central bank will set monetary policy today, at the end of a two-day meeting.
Recent US economic data hasn’t been great. So the Federal Reserve will probably leave US interest rates on hold, and sound reassuringly cautious and patient about any future rate hikes.
The Fed’s policymakers will also update their dot-plot chart, showing how they expect rates to change over the next couple of years.
The Brexit crisis continues to worry investors (just like the rest of us….).
News is just breaking that Theresa May is asking the EU for a short extension to Article 50; if granted, the UK wouldn’t leave on 29th March after all.
There’s no market panic this morning; sterling is steady against the US dollar at $1.325.
European stock markets are expected to open lower.
The CBI’s latest survey of UK manufacturing will show if Brexit anxiety has hurt the sector.
- 9.30 GMT: UK inflation report for February
- 11am GMT: CBI industrial trends survey of UK factories
- 6pm GMT: Federal Reserve decision on US interest rates
- 6.30pm GMT: Fed chair Jerome Powell holds press conference