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Banks cut back on loans and credit cards

Banks are tightening the availability of credit cards and other unsecured lending, reports the Daily Telegraph. The Bank of England says lenders are aiming to give only high-quality loans to customers who can afford the debt. Mark Carney has warned that the annual growth of 10% in lending could leave households overstretched and banks vulnerable to a tumble.

Where did house prices rise fastest in 2017?

House prices rose faster in the East Midlands and Wales than anywhere else in the UK last year, according to the Halifax. The mortgage lender said both areas saw prices rise by 8%. There were also big price gains in the West Midlands, where prices climbled 5%, and the South West, with a spike of 4.9%. In London, prices rose by just 1%, the slowest increase for six years.

Brent oil reaches three-year high amid Iran anxiety

Brent crude has reached a three-year high of $ 70 a barrel amid fears that oil supply will be constrained if President Donald Trump hits Iran with fresh sanctions. The Daily Telegraph says the spike in oil prices is a “mixed blessing” for OPEC and a group of exporters led by Moscow. Analysts say the market could deflate again swiftly if the Iran scare fades.

Former BHS owner found guilty of pension charges

The former owner of BHS, Dominic Chappell, has been convicted of three charges brought by a regulator following a four-day trial in Brighton. The watchdog had accused him of neglecting or refusing to hand over information about BHS’s pension schemes, which had 19,000 members and a shortfall of £571m when BHS collapsed. Former bankrupt Chappell bought the department store chain from Sir Philip Green for £1.

Walmart store closures overshadow pay rises

Walmart will close 10% of its Sam’s Club wholesale stores and lay-off thousands of workers. The closures have overshadowed news that the world’s biggest retailer will start paying its US staff at least $ 11 an hour and hand some of them a one-off cash bonus. Hourly-paid employees will receive the higher wage from next month.

Quote of the day… How to diagnose a bubble

“The other approach is to look around: are people giddy with excitement? Can the media talk of little else? Are taxi drivers offering stock tips?” Tim Harford of the Financial Times suggests ways to diagnose a bubble. 

THE NUMBERS… AT 0741 GMT

FTSE 100: up +0.19 to 7762.94
Dow Jones: up +0.81 to 253574.73
Dax: down -0.59 to 13202.90
Cac 40: down -0.29 to 5488.55
Nikkei: down -0.33 to 23710.43
Hang Seng: up +0.71 to 31341.25
US dollar: buys €0.82920 and £0.73800
Sterling: buys $ 1.35490 and €1.12370
Oil: $ 69.11 down -0.1

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