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Bernanke takes plunge with QE3

By Robin Harding in Washington

The US Federal Reserve is planning to inject an extra $40bn into the economy each month through purchases of mortgage-backed securities.

This is the Fed’s third round of quantitative easing – nicknamed QE3 – but unlike previous rounds it does not have a defined limit and will continue until the labour market improves. The levels of asset buying are similar to those of its 2010 QE2 programme at $85bn a month for the rest of the year.


Fed announces bond-buying stimulus to spur economic growth

By Dominic Rushe in New York

The Dow Jones average soared by 200 points after the Chairman of the Federal Reserve

pledged to keep injecting money into the US economy until it recovers as it announced a rolling program to buy $40bn a month in mortgage-backed securities.

Bernanke said the plan was aimed at reviving the jobs market by stimulating the still troubled housing market. "This is a Main Street policy because what we're about here are jobs".


John Lewis takes £1m every hour

By Steve Hawkes, Business Editor

John Lewis claims the economy is stabilising after smashing through the gloom with bumper half-year profits.

The privately-owned partnership is taking more than £1million an hour at its department stores and Waitrose supermarket chain.

And in the teeth of the biggest slump for decades, half-year profits are up 60 per cent to £144.5million. Sales hit £4.4billion.


Mortgages Slump as Double-Dip Recession Bites

The effects of a double-dip recession have hit the UK's mortgage market which slumped to levels last seen more than two years ago.

House purchase loans fell 8% year-on-year last month to 48,913 - the third worst August for almost 20 years, according to chartered surveyors e.surv.

There was a sharp fall in lending to borrowers with a deposit of less than 15% - often first-time buyers - the survey showed, as banks toughened their lending criteria.


Home sellers could escape estate agent fees under Government plan to free up property websites

By Ed Monk

Home sellers will be able to avoid handing over thousands in estate agents fees more easily under Government proposals to remove restrictions on websites that allow vendors to advertise direct to the public.

The changes could loosen the stranglehold that estate agents enjoy over property sales, and drive down fees that typically account for about 2 per cent of a property's sale price.


Boeing insists BAE-EADS merger is no 'fundamental threat'

By Richard Blackden, US Business Editor

The UK's BAE and the Franco-German led EADS, stunned stock markets late on Wednesday by announcing they were in £30.4bn merger talks.

"I don't see this as something that is going to threaten us fundamentally," said Jim McNerney, Boeing's chief executive. "I have a pretty deep and abiding faith in our company's strength."


Next shares plunge after slow summer

By Philip Waller

Fashion retailer Next delivered a blow to hopes of a high-street recovery by revealing disappointing late summer sales.

Next shares plunged 7 per cent, down 259p to 3320p, as it said sales in August and early September were quiet, particularly for clothing, following a June and July in which wet weather dampened demand for shorts, T-shirts, beach dresses and sunglasses.


After four years, a payout for unsecured creditors

By James Moore

The liquidator to the London-based Lehman Brothers International will reveal today that it is ready to pay the first dividend to unsecured creditors, four long years after the investment bank's demise left the world on the brink of financial armageddon.

The liquidation of Lehman is described by the lead administrator for PwC, Tony Lomas, as "the biggest and most complex administration I've ever worked on".


Taxman tracks down £26m in unpaid debts

HMRC recovers £26m in missing inheritance tax after developing new computer software to cross reference and sift through financial data.


Go public and name names, Lloyds shareholders tell Peter Cummings

By Martin Flanagan

A shareholder action group in advanced talks to start a £2 billion lawsuit against Lloyds TSB directors over the alleged misleading of investors about the takeover of HBOS has challenged Peter Cummings, the former head of HBOS’s corporate lending division to come clean on “who knew what” to support their case.

Lloyds Action Now, fighting on behalf of 7,500 small investors, want the banned executive at the heart of the bank’s collapse, to provide powerful evidence to back their compensation claims.


Cable backs capping unfair dismissal payouts

Business Secretary Vince Cable is to announce that workers will face a cut in how much they can win for unfair dismissal at employment tribunals.

He will also back using settlement agreements, under which staff agree to leave without being able to go to a tribunal, but get a pay-off in return.


Direct Line flotation risks only raising £1.5bn for RBS

By David Hellier and James Waterson

City banks advising on the initial public offering (IPO) of Direct Line Group, London’s largest share listing this year, have warned that they might only reach a valuation for the insurance group of £1.5bn, half what many have expected.

The official price range hasn’t been announced yet but banking sources reckon the syndicate analysts’ valuation range is between £1.5bn and £4bn.