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Lloyds TSB sees small business pessimism this month

Lloyds TSB Financial Markets says business confidence is weaker than last month, according to the latest results from its business barometer.

Only 21 per cent of companies report optimism rather than pessimism, compared to 41 per cent last month, with particular gloom around retailers and small companies.

Manufacturing holds the strongest business balance of 62 per cent, although the last month has shown the steepest fall, even in this sector, of 0.5 per cent.

Distribution companies signal the lowest levels of confidence with a balance of 53 per cent.

Lloyds TSB Financial Markets chief economist Trevor Williams says: This decrease in economic confidence can be attributed to continued concern that interest rates will rise this year after a quarter of remaining stable. There has also been increased business uncertainty relating to high oil prices, the outcome of the Budget and the UK general election.

We expect a mild growth slowdown this year but the economy’s good health looks set to continue. This should be encouraging for British businesses. Companies are in the best financial position for over a decade.


New Star set to float in October

New Star Asset Management is preparing to float in October. Plans to float last year were put on hold following poor performance of the equity markets but founder and chairman John Duffield says he is looking to go ahead after New Star’s nine-month results are published in September.

Chilton on Mortgages

This year, the end of the first quarter coincided with the traditional benchmark for the housing industry of Easter. So, perhaps, it’s time to look at the overall market to see what trends are developing.

The IFP’s View

The twin forces of the 2004 Finance and Pensions Acts will forever change the way that trustees, employers and employees experience additional voluntary contributions.


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