Business confidence slowly returning
CONFIDENCE among small businesses is improving but levels still remain low, especially among companies operating in the domestic economy, according to a new survey.
The latest Business Trends Survey from ISME shows business confidence has improved but remains negative overall, with a net 13pc of companies now less optimistic about business prospects compared with 23pc for the previous quarter.
During Q4, 54pc of the respondents viewed the business environment as "poor" or "very poor"; down from 67pc in the previous three months.
NCB not involved in overcharging
IN yesterday's 'Markets' commentary we stated that Allied Irish Banks and NCB Stockbrokers had been fined €2m for overcharging their customers. This was incorrect. NCB Stockbrokers was fined €100,000 for breaches relating to transaction reporting, which had nothing whatsoever to do with overcharging customers. The Central Bank acknowledged that the breaches were unintended and that NCB Stockbrokers moved quickly to rectify the situation.
IBEC wants retail pay award halted
IBEC has called for the immediate halting of a January pay increase of 1.25pc in the retail grocery sector. IBEC said that the pay award should be put on hold in light of a recently announced review of the wage procedures that give rise to such increases. The group said it was seeking an urgent meeting of the Retail Grocery Joint Labour Committee on the issue.
'Hot Press' back in black says Osnovina
The publisher of 'Hot Press' magazine has confirmed that the magazine has returned to profit this year following a cost saving strategy in response to trading losses "over the past few years". According to accounts recently returned by Osnovina Ltd, the company's accumulated profits declined by €75,639 from €678,715 to €603,076 to the end of December last year. But the rate of losses sustained last year slowed compared to "significant losses" of 2008 when it accumulated profits fell sharply by €322,000 from €1m to €678,000.