News That Matters

Business

Nationwide warns of tough times for consumers

Nationwide warns of tough times for consumers

Business
Britain's biggest building society Nationwide has reported a fall in first-half profits and warned it could face tougher trading in coming months amid the squeeze on consumers.Pre-tax profits for the six months to the end of September fell 10% to £628m, though the lender said earnings would have increased but for one-off gains reported in the same period last year.Nationwide said it was expecting the UK economy to continue to grow, though at a slower rate "due to the uncertainties around Brexit".Chief executive Joe Garner said: "The second half may bring tougher trading conditions, but we remain well placed to stand by our members in these uncertain times."The building society reported that gross mortgage lending fell by 5% to £16.7bn while impairment losses - a charge related to debts tha
Norway's state fund 'needs to drop oil and gas investments'

Norway's state fund 'needs to drop oil and gas investments'

Business
Norway's government has been told its state-run fund should drop its investments in oil and gas stocks.Norges Bank manages Norway's $ 1 trillion (£758bn) sovereign wealth fund on behalf of the government.It said the step would make the country "less vulnerable to a permanent drop in oil and gas prices", and its advice was not based on a price forecast or the sector's sustainability.Around 6% of the fund, worth £28bn, is invested in oil and gas stocks."This advice is based exclusively on financial arguments and analyses of the government's total oil and gas exposure," said the bank's deputy governor Egil Matsen.Norges Bank's proposal must now be reviewed by Norway's Finance Ministry, which has said it will announce its own view in the autumn of next year.If it decides to back the central ba
Raytheon sale of AMRAAMs to Norway approved by State Department

Raytheon sale of AMRAAMs to Norway approved by State Department

Business
Nov. 15 (UPI) -- The State Department announced Wednesday the possible foreign military sale of 60 Raytheon-produced AIM-120 C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles, or AMRAAM, and four AMRAAM guidance section spares to the government of Norway.The contract, if approved by Congress, who was notified of the potential sale on Tuesday, will be worth an estimated $ 170 million.Officials at the State Department said the deal will also include "missile containers, weapon system support, support equipment, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, personnel training, training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, logistics, technical and support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support."On Monday, military and industry le...
British-built Hawk training jets to be maintained by BAE

British-built Hawk training jets to be maintained by BAE

Business
Nov. 15 (UPI) -- London-based BAE Systems Ltd. announced an agreement on Wednesday to maintain and support Hawk training planes in the United Arab Emirates.BAE will contract with the UAE-based Advanced Military Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Center, or AMMROC, to provide repairs and upgrades to Hawk Mk61, Mk102 and Mk63 aircraft at a facility in Abu Dhabi until 2020.The facility is on the grounds of Al Ain International Airport in Abu Dhabi.The single-engine, jet-powered advanced technology aircraft is typically used for training, although it also can serve as a light combat aircraft.About 1,000 British-built Hawk planes are in service with 18 governments around the world for training pilots to fly larger and more advanced fighter planes. The Hawk planes feature a variety of simulators fo...
UK workforce sees biggest fall in two years

UK workforce sees biggest fall in two years

Business
The number of people in work in the UK has seen its biggest fall in the past two years, but unemployment also fell.UK employment dipped to 32m in the three months to September, down 14,000 from the previous quarter, Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows.At the same time, the number of jobless - those people not in work but seeking a job - fell 59,000 in the same period.Workers' earnings, including bonuses, rose 2.2% compared with a year ago, which still lags inflation of 3%.The unemployment rate remained steady at 4.3%, and down from 4.8% a year earlier.Matt Hughes, a senior ONS statistician, said employment had declined after two years of "almost uninterrupted growth".He added: "But there was a rise in the number of people who were neither working nor looking for a job - so-call...