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In the papers: City split on outlook for miners

The papers can't decide whether the miners are in recovery or set for another bout of the heebie jeebies.
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Read all about it - today's City headlines.

Global miners have bought back billions of dollars of their debt in a display of financial strength designed to address investor concerns over their leverage as they try to deal with the after-effects of the commodities slump, according to the Financial Times.

Elsewhere in the sector, the Daily Telegraph cites analysts at Barclays, who have warned of a “rush for the exits” as investors back away from commodities, resulting in price levels for oil and copper dropping as much as 25%.

Returning to the FT - it reckons a global crackdown on tax avoidance has forced a surge of warnings by multinational companies that higher payments are set to hit their earnings.

The paper also tells us the number of foreign entrepreneurs founding or leading technology businesses in the UK has reached its highest level since the start of the decade, highlighting how international talent is helping to develop the British tech sector.

The lower oil price is starting its toll close to home, according to the Times. ConocoPhillips is drawing up plans to shut down one of the North Sea’s biggest gas pipeline systems in a move that threatens to knock out 10% of the UK’s gas capacity and a string of active fields.

The paper also carries the US economic story of the day as says frugal shoppers have put brake on US interest rates. The headline of course refers to lower than expected spending by American consumers in February, which has dampened expectations of a swifter pace of interest rate rises by the Federal Reserve.

The Times reckons flotations in London are being put on hold because of fears over Brexit as City confidence falls at its fastest rate in five years.

And it has a line on AccorHotels, which it says has taken a 30% stake in Oasis Collection, an online platform for private rental accommodation. This, the report reckons, is the latest sign of interest from the traditional hospitality industry in the sharing economy.

A “perfect storm” of fears over the state of the world economy, Britain’s place in the EU, and market volatility is gathering over nation’s dominant financial services sector, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The paper says is not just the punters that flocked to the Cheltenham Festival that have profited at William Hill’s expense. One of the City’s biggest hedge funds is also in line for windfall thanks to the beleaguered bookmaker, after making a canny bet against the gambling company’s shares.

The Tel also has a line on Aim-listed Advanced Oncotherapy, which it says has begun testing its ground breaking light machine for the UK’s first proton beam therapy centre, in what is expected to be a cancer treatment milestone when it opens by the end of next year.

The Independent, citing a study by the respected Adam Smith Institute, says UK employees are spending longer at work for little or no gain in productivity.

The paper casts further afield to tell us industrial firms in China returned to profit in the first two months of the year, lending some support to the idea the country’s stimulus measures are helping to stabilise its troubled manufacturing sector.

The Guardian says savers have withdrawn almost £6bn from their retirement funds after the introduction of pension reforms last year.

The Daily Mail has a line on MoD contract awards to Rolls-Royce, BAE and Babcock contracts worth £372 million to maintain Hawk training aircraft.

It also says the founders of Fever-Tree Drinks are cash in on company’s sparkling success by selling £17.7mln of shares.

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