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Today's markets: US banks' loan boom coming, Darktrace confirms IPO, football's split & more

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Today's markets: US banks' loan boom coming, Darktrace confirms IPO, football's split & more

Good morning and welcome to the IC’s daily blog, rounding up the biggest business stories.

You’ve heard of Big Pharma, Big Oil and Big Tech. What about Big Football?

A number of Europe’s biggest football clubs are reportedly backing plans for an exclusive “Super League” to supersede the annual Champions League competition. Some 15 teams will apparently become permanent members of the league, meaning they do not have to qualify to compete each year. The proposals, which could guarantee income to the top clubs every year but undermine the principles of fair competition that underpin the European game, have already come under fire from existing sports leagues and politicians.

We recently assessed why some of the world’s biggest listed football clubs have struggled financially over the past year, which is pushing them to invest in new ventures like esports and video gaming.

Why pubs matter. 

With plenty of Spring sun shining over the weekend there is a good chance that many of you will have taken advantage of the easing of coronavirus restrictions to socialise a little more, maybe even with a trip to a pub beer garden. Our resident economist Chris Dillow's latest analysis looks at the value of pubs and why they matter more than you may think in a healthily functioning economy. 

Challenge trial

Elsewhere, UK scientists have now launched a ‘challenge trial’ involving young people who previously had Covid-19, re-exposing these participants to the virus in order to monitor their immune responses.

Such trials should help authorities to better understand how to tackle the ongoing pandemic. But as they focus on immunising the population, testing is arguably only rising in importance.

New kid on the platform block

Meanwhile, Mary McDougall reports on the results of our latest reader voting on their favourite platforms with a surprising new entrant surging to the top of the charts and sending a warning to the likes of Hargreaves Lansdown and AJ Bell that they have to move with the times to maintain their market leadership.

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