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Good value bank bonds, Providence Resources, food price inflation, and the Trader

With just under a week to go before George Osborne reveals his Budget plans for getting and keeping the economy back on track, rating agency Fitch has dealt the Chancellor a blow with a decision to join Moody's in putting the UK on a negative credit outlook. If the economy fails to grow quickly enough and debt isn't seen to be tamed, the UK could lose its precious AAA rating. Banks of course know all about the difficulty of living under the burden of downgrades - and failing stress tests. This week four banks in the US (including Citibank) failed the regulator's stress test, designed to reveal whether the banks could survive a fairly severe financial crisis. But 15 passed - which now allows them to raise their dividend, in a stroke making them instantly more attractive to shareholders. In our lead item today Mark Glowrey examines the unloved UK bank sector and finds there is still value to be had from some senior bonds. Elsewhere Martin Li reports on Providence Resources' significantly better than expected drilling results; John Hughman analyses the impact of the ongoing drought on food prices and The Trader outlines what he's expecting from the indices now.

With just under a week to go before George Osborne reveals his Budget plans for getting and keeping the economy back on track, rating agency Fitch has dealt the Chancellor a blow with a decision to join Moody's in putting the UK on a negative credit outlook. If the economy fails to grow quickly enough and debt isn't seen to be tamed, the UK could lose its precious AAA rating. Banks of course know all about the difficulty of living under the burden of downgrades - and failing stress tests. This week four banks in the US (including Citibank) failed the regulator's stress test, designed to reveal whether the banks could survive a fairly severe financial crisis. But 15 passed - which now allows them to raise their dividend, in a stroke making them instantly more attractive to shareholders. In our lead item today Mark Glowrey examines the unloved UK bank sector and finds there is still value to be had from some senior bonds. Elsewhere Martin Li reports on Providence Resources' significantly better than expected drilling results; John Hughman analyses the impact of the ongoing drought on food prices and The Trader outlines what he's expecting from the indices now.