The pound climbed to the highest level against the dollar since May 2011 amid speculation Bank of England policy makers will raise interest rates sooner than they predict as the economy shows signs of gaining momentum.
The pound gained 0.3pc to $1.6619 yesterday afternoon, climbing to $1.6636, the highest since May 3, 2011. The UK currency weakened 0.7pc to 82.31 pence per euro after hitting 81.68p on Wednesday, the strongest since January 10, 2013.
US JOBLESS CLAIMS UP
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose marginally last week, but the underlying trend suggests the labour market continues to improve.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits ticked up 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 326,000, the Labour Department said yesterday. The four-week average for new claims, considered a better measure of underlying labour market conditions as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 3,750 to 331,500.
Discount retailer Poundland, the parent company of Dealz, recorded bumper Christmas sales.
Total gross sales in the 13 weeks to December 31 were £348.8m (€424m), up 12.4pc compared with a year earlier. Poundland served more than 71 million customers, with over seven million people shopping there in the peak Christmas trading week alone. "I'm more confident than ever that in due course Poundland is on track to operate over 1,000 stores across the UK and Republic of Ireland," CEO Jim McCarthy said.
TECH AWARDS ON TV
Coverage of the annual Silicon Valley Global Technology Forum will be streamed live by online TV service Aertv.
The forum, run next Tuesday by the Irish Technology and Leadership Group (ITLG), is the first major business event to be hosted in Limerick. Viewers will hear from top investors, including former Intel chairman and CEO Craig Barrett, entrepreneurs and venture capital investors, via www.aertv.ie.
BARCLAYS WILL CUT JOBS
The chief executive of Barclays has admitted he will have to cut more jobs in "certain areas" of the business.
Antony Jenkins, chief executive at the UK's second-largest bank by assets, told Bloomberg it needs to "get more efficient, get more effective and focus more on the customer". Jenkins, who took over from Robert Diamond in 2012, has told investors that Barclays may trim its workforce by almost a third in the next decade as automation and online banking develop.