Twelve points were shaved off the FTSE 100 on Friday, finishing at 6,853.4. Miners overall came off worst with Randgold and Fresnillo taking steep hits, down more than 4% each (to 5310p and 860p respectively). Climbers included Barclays, up 2.6% to 255.4p and Aberdeen Asset Managmeent, up 2.3% to 440.9p.
The Dow Jones was a tad more downbeat, falling 60 points to 17,824.2 though Verizon Communications was up 3% and JP Morgan Chase almost 2%.
We start with news that HSBC helped clients avoid paying UK tax via offshore accounts, according to a new BBC Panoramaprogram. The BBC, in collobration with other media outlets, was helped by a whistleblower with access to HSBC's private Swiss-based bank.
The BBC had access to almost 7,000 British HSBC clients, detailing accounts that were not declared to HMRC. HSBC now claims that behaviour has changed. The accounts go back to 2007.
"HSBC," says the BBC, "did not just turn a blind eye to tax evaders - in some cases it broke the law by actively helping its clients."
Next, miner Randgold Resources says it increased group gold production by 26% in 2014 while cutting total cash costs by 2%. But results for the year to December reveals profit were less shiny, down 17% to $271.2 million.
Group production totalled 1 147 414 ounces (2013: 910 374oz) and the total cash cost per ounce was $698 (2013: $715) it claims.
Finally,Rolls-Roycesays it has been awarded three contracts totalling $442 million to produce and support LiftSystems for F-35B Lightning II aircraft, including price reductions from prior contracts.
The new contracts cover Low Rate Initial Production of 17 LiftSystems for F-35B aircraft, plus support, for two contract periods, agreed between Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney, propulsion provider for the F-35 program.
"Through more than 150 affordability initiatives," says Rolls-Royce, "we are focused on innovation and delivering cost reduction to the program and the operators."
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