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HSBC Sees Opportunity as Rival Banks Cut Jobs: The London Rush

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While train strikes are a pain for commuters, the headache they cause for retailers is arguably more severe, with data suggesting the walkouts have hit High Street even harder than the omicron variant of Covid-19. Some might take comfort in this morning’s inflation figures — which offered a rare bright spot. Meanwhile, HSBC is seeking to snatch an opportunity as rival banks are planning to cut jobs.

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(Bloomberg) — While train strikes are a pain for commuters, the headache they cause for retailers is arguably more severe, with data suggesting the walkouts have hit High Street even harder than the omicron variant of Covid-19. Some might take comfort in this morning’s inflation figures — which offered a rare bright spot. Meanwhile, HSBC is seeking to snatch an opportunity as rival banks are planning to cut jobs.

Here’s the key business news from London this morning:

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In The City

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HSBC Holdings Plc: As global banks from Credit Suisse Group AG to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. prepare for a fresh wave of job cuts, London-based HSBC is going on the offensive. In a move that illustrates the cutthroat world of Wall Street, HSBC has been sending recruitment emails to bankers and other employees at firms facing job losses. 

Watches of Switzerland Group Plc: The top dealer of Rolex watches in the UK continued to see “strong momentum” in the US with first-half revenue rising 60%. Trading in the holiday period so far has been in line with its own expectations, the company said. 

  • UK revenue was up 8% in the period, driven by domestic shoppers 

Jupiter Fund Management Plc: Pictet’s Kiran Nandra-Koehrer will join the London-based firm as head of equities next year. Jupiter’s new earlier this year set out his vision for the struggling asset manager to try and stem outflows. 

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UK Inflation: The pace of price increases dipped from a 41-year high in November, raising the possibility that the worst of the cost-of-living squeeze is over. 

  • Consumer prices rose 10.7% from a year earlier, the Office for National Statistics said. Economists expected a rate of 10.9% 

In Westminster

The government’s cost-of-living support for households struggling with sky-high energy bills may be contributing to labour shortages by discouraging people from seeking work, a panel of lawmakers said.

That’s as the government, and the energy industry, are facing a wake-up call otherwise risk seeing more suppliers collapsing in the back of so-called “bad debts” from consumer bills, a new report warns. 

“Sorry, UK — Brexit was a bigger mistake than Trump,” writes Ian Buruma, professor of human rights at Bard College and author of The Churchill Complex. Nations can recover from bad elections far more easily than from bad referendums, he says. 

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In Case You Missed It 

The fresh wave of train strikes has hit Britain’s retailers even harder than the omicron variant of Covid-19 that threatened to ruin Christmas last year, according to new data showing a steep drop in the number of shoppers. You can see a list of the confirmed train strike dates and the affected operators here. 

Postal workers, meanwhile, said they would accept a below-inflation 9% pay rise as part of a proposal to end strike action, but said employer Royal Mail hasn’t agreed to discuss the offer. 

Elsewhere, investment bankers covering deals in the Middle East are busier than ever — in a year that’s seen the worst slump in initial public offerings since the financial crisis. 

Looking Ahead 

It’s Bank of England rate-decision time at noon tomorrow, following unemployment and inflation figures this week. Bloomberg economists expect policymakers to vote 3-4-2 in favour of raising rates to 3.5% from 3%, with policymakers likely to dial down the pace of tightening again in February to 25 basis points and hike in smaller increments till May when inflation should be on a clear downward path. 

On the corporate front, Currys Plc is scheduled to publish results tomorrow. The electronics retailer might get a fillip from consumers buying energy-efficient appliances for cooking and heating, says Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Charles Allen, adding the downturn in the British and some Nordic house markets might well be “crimping” into the company’s sales. 

For a news fix when the day is done, sign up to The Readout with Allegra Stratton, to make sense of the day’s events.

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