Barclays sinks to loss thanks to $2bn US settlement and more PPI costs

Bank reports quarterly pre-tax loss of £236m, down from profits of £1.68bn in the same period last year
Barclays swung to a loss in the first quarter as further payment protection insurance (PPI) charges and a £1.4bn settlement with the US Department of Justice knocked profits.
The UK bank reported a pre-tax loss of £236m for the three months to 31 March, having reported profits of £1.68bn in the same period last year.
Stripped of litigation and conduct charges, pre-tax profits rose 1 per cent to £1.7bn, while attributable profit came in at £1.2bn.
Read more Barclays boss Staley stronger than he looks in face of activist attack The bank was hit by a $2bn (£1.4bn) settlement reached with the US Department of Justice earlier this month, related to the sale of mortgage-backed securities in the lead-up to the financial crisis.
Chief executive Jes Staley said: “While the penalty was substantial, this settlement represents a major milestone for Barclays, putting behind us a significa..

Poundworld to close up to 100 stores putting 1,500 jobs at risk

Company expected to announce terms of turnaround plan next month
Discount chain Poundworld is pursuing a restructuring plan that could see it shut around a third of its stores, putting more than 1,500 jobs in doubt.
Poundworld is considering a so-called Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), an insolvency procedure which would allow it to slash its rents and close stores.
Under the plans, Poundworld could close 100 of its 355 stores.
Read more Poundworld fined £1.2m for 'out-of-control' rodent infestation Rising costs and a squeeze on consumer spending has forced several household names to pursue CVAs this year, including New Look, Byron, Prezzo and Carpetright.
Poundworld, which is owned by private equity firm TPG Capital, is expected to announce the terms of the CVA next month.
Landlords will then vote on whether to approve the proposal. All of the major CVAs proposed this year have been rubber-stamped by landlords.
TPG Capital also owns restaurant chain Prezzo, whi..

Facebook profits soar 63% to $5bn despite Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal

Facebook profits soared 63 per cent to $5bn (£3.6bn) in the first three months of the year despite the company being engulfed in a data privacy scandal that has angered millions of users.
Allegations that up to 87 million Facebook users’ data was collected without their knowledge and then used by Cambridge Analytica to try to sway the US Presidential election and the Brexit vote, did little to slow the tech company’s rapid growth.
Total revenues jumped 49 per cent compared to the same three months last year, Facebook reported on Wednesday.
Read more Professor apologises for helping Cambridge Analytica harvest data Facebook has been scrambling to mollify angry politicians and reassure users that it will safeguard their personal information.
Amid the turmoil, observers were keenly watching the company’s user figures to assess the potential damage and see if the scandal would suppress Facebook’s growth.
Despite high-profile social media campaigns calling users to boycott Faceboo..

UK houses now cost almost eight times average earnings, says ONS

The average house price to earnings ratio has hit 7.77, up from 7.6 in 2016 and the highest in the official time series going back to 2002
Workers in England and Wales need to fork out almost eight times their annual income in order to buy an average house, according to the latest official estimates, underlining how unaffordable house purchasing has become for many.
Read more The UK economy suffers if millennials become permanent renters The Office for National Statistics reported on Thursday that average house in 2017 rose 4.5 per cent to £225,000.
However, median gross annual full-time earnings in 2017 were £28,952, up only 2.1 per cent over the 12 months.
Those figures meant that the average house price to earnings ratio has hit 7.77, up from 7.6 in 2016 and the highest in the official time series.
Banks and building societies will typically only lend people mortgages up to 4.5 times their gross salary, although home buying couples can combine their incomes for this measure…