■ Online poker and casino group 888 Holdings has agreed to pay almost £60m for the Wink Online Bingo business and says trading continues to be strong and in-line with expectations.
■ Gem Diamonds subsidiary Kimberley Diamonds has entered into an agreement to sell yellow diamonds from the Ellendale mine in Western Australia to a company owned by Tiffany.
■ The Competition Commission reversed its previous position and cleared the proposed merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation in the UK.
■ Cinpart, the Aim-quoted electrical products manufacturer and supplier, is raising £1.05m to set up subsidiaries in international markets including Australia, Thailand and Southern Europe.
■ Hardy Oil and Gas has bounced off a nine-month low after announcing the third successive gas discovery in the exploration block KG-DWN-2003/1 (D3) of NELP-V in India.
■ Energy saving products maker VPhase said its loss for the year is likely to be £0.3m less than expected, thanks to tight control of costs.
■ Spreadbetting firm WorldSpreads posted a rise in profits in the six months to September 30 as international revenues helped it ride out tough conditions in its battered home market of Ireland.
■ Gold miner Avocet Mining has rallied on news that its Inata mine in Burkina Faso has started gold production.
■ Mining company Alba Mineral Resources has given up seven of the eight nickel mine licences it holds in Sweden. It is retaining the Kälen licence in Västerbotten, but intends to let this expire when it runs out in January 2010.
■ The Office of Fair Trading has decided to drop its action to curb bank charges after last month's ruling by the Supreme Court in favour of the banks.
■ A Carillion joint venture has been awarded a £157m contract to design, build, finance and maintain Phase 1b of Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).
■ Hospital management software supplier Craneware said it has signed a five-year contract with Intermountain Healthcare. No figures were provided.
■ Estate agent chain Winkworth remains 'very comfortable' with trading overall for 2009 as the market continues to pick up, especially in central London.
■ Shares in surfwear specialist Hot Tuna powered ahead after it reported a full-year gross profit compared to a loss the same time a year earlier and said it was positive about the outlook for 2010.
■ Recovering equity markets helped MDY Healthcare, which invests in healthcare companies, post higher revenues and reduced losses in the year to September 30.
FOR A SUMMARY OF LATEST MOVEMENTS IN EQUITY, COMMODITY AND CURRENCY MARKETS, SEE FT.COM'S MARKETS PAGE
■ Why not become a IC registered user - it's free, secure, takes just a few minutes - and gives you access to comprehensive company financial data, stock broker forecasts, our portfolio tool, share price and article alerts, and the stock screening tool. Register now!
■ Or access all areas with IC Advantage, our premium subscription product. Take a free, no-obligation trial to IC Advantage today.
NEWSPAPER SHARE TIPS (22 DEC 2009):
Full round-up of newspaper share tips (sourced from Sharecast)
Heavy snow has brought swaths of Britain to a standstill as forecasters gave warning of further travel misery with up to four more inches to come.
Commuters and holidaymakers were left stranded after the wintry conditions paralysed large parts of the transport network, with flights delayed, trains cancelled and roads closed. The latest disruption caused by the cold snap came as 75,000 Eurostar passengers struggled to make alternative arrangements after a three-day shutdown, with the operator predicting more trouble as it restarts a "limited" service on Tuesday, the Telegraph reports.
Eurostar told the Financial Times that it faced a hefty compensation bill after 125,000 passengers were stuck at stations or forced to make other plans. Richard Brown, Eurostar's chief executive, said the company would "have to work hard to rebuild" passenger confidence in the company. He blamed an "unprecedented" combination of "quantities of snow", freezing temperatures in northern France and breakdowns. But politicians in Paris and London rounded on the company.
Hopes of a last minute spending spree before Christmas also appeared to be dashed when figures showed that the number of people shopping over the weekend was significantly lower than last year. The figures from Experian Footfall, a research group, show that 6.9 per cent fewer consumers hit the streets on Saturday than on the same day last year. The number fell by 6.7 per cent on Sunday compared to the same day last year. "Although widely reported as the biggest weekend shopping period this year with some strong individual retail performances, the weekend footfall performance for December 19 and 20 for the UK showed a disappointing decline," said Anita Manan, senior analyst at Experian Footfall, the Telegraph reports.
Lehman Brothers, the collapsed Wall Street investment bank, is hiring bankers and paying generous bonuses in London to stop employees defecting. Lehman's European business is recruiting middle and back office staff to help administrators PwC wade through the millions of transactions that must be reconciled with clients and trading partners to determine what is owed or can be claimed, the FT reports.
UK house prices are unlikely to rise much in 2010, with weak economic growth, tax increases and high unemployment likely to weigh both on demand and buyers' ability to pay, according to the nation's chief surveyors' body. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, in its official forecast of house prices and demand for the coming year, said prices would increase by little more than 1-2 per cent, although it was likely that more homes would be bought and sold over the next year compared with 2009, the FT reports.
Plans to overhaul the ownership of Britain's airports were thrown into confusion yesterday after BAA won an appeal against the break-up of its monopolies in London and Scotland. The Competition Appeal Tribunal ruled that there had been "apparent bias" in a report by the Competition Commission into BAA and airport ownership. The commission's report, published in March, found that BAA's control of Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted in London and Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen in Scotland had resulted in poor service for passengers and airlines, the Times reports.
Carbon prices plunged on Monday in the aftermath of the Copenhagen conference on climate change, dealing a blow to the credibility of the European Union's carbon-trading scheme. Prices for carbon permits for December 2010 delivery, the benchmark contract for pricing European permits, dropped nearly 10 per cent in early trading, before recovering to end the day 8.3 per cent lower at €12.41. One dealer described the market as like "a falling knife" but said that a rise in European gas prices had helped to support the carbon market, the FT reports.
The super-strong euro is having sharply varying effects on the different countries in the eurozone and causing the rift between north and south to widen further, according to a new report by Standard & Poor's (S&P). Jean-Michel Six, the agency's Europe economist, said Italy, Spain, Greece and Ireland have all seen sharp deteriorations in their real effective exchange rates since 2005. This is likely to reach the pain barrier soon if rate rises by the European Central Bank (ECB) push the euro to $1.70 against the dollar by the end of next year, as S&P expects, the Telegraph reports.
S&P adds that Britain's banks will hold back an economic recovery due to their "significant debt burden", one of the world's leading credit rating agencies has warned. Standard & Poor's on Monday lowered the collective rating of Britain's banks in anticipation of "high credit losses". By slashing the "banking industry country risk assessment" (BICRA) from group two to group three, the UK's financial system is now considered less secure than those of Italy and Belgium, and on a par with Chile, Portugal and Austria, the Telegraph reports.
A $100m award imposed on BP for safety infringements at its troubled Texas City refinery is likely to be cut to a fraction of that figure, legal experts believe. The oil giant is planning to appeal against the damages, which it was ordered to pay on Friday to ten workers after an incident in April 2007 that involved an unplanned release of toxic chemicals at the plant. BP has claimed that the fine, the latest in a string of legal troubles at the Texas plant, was "utterly unjustified" because none of the workers had suffered any injuries, the Times reports.
Transatlantic airfares could rise as much as 15 per cent if British Airways is allowed to proceed with its tie-up with American Airlines, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) has warned. The DoJ has ruled that the proposed deal, an extension of the existing oneworld alliance, would result in "competitive harm" on transatlantic routes serving over 2.5mpassengers a year, if allowed to go ahead, the Times reports.
MORE USEFUL STUFF ON THE IC WEBSITE...
Latest tips, updates and trading ideas on the TIPS page.
For latest analysis of company news and results, see the COMPANIES page.
Insightful, controversial or downright belligerent - but our COLUMNISTS are never dull!
Investor tools, including dividend calendar, stock screener and free brochure service on RESEARCH TOOLS
Guides to investing in property, funds, shares derivatives and more on INVESTMENT GUIDES.
List of 2008 cover features here.
For guidance on what you can read for free, and what is subscriber-only, click here.