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Dividends in danger, justifying fat fess, Dillow on commodities as a diversifier, Petrofac & more

As all income-seeking investors can testify, the big utility companies go big on dividends. This week Tom Dines reports on the range of challenges facing the sector and asks if the companies affected can maintain their generous payouts. Click here to read the latest Sector Focus.

And from fat payouts to fat fees. In Taking Stock Alex Newman asks how the world's largest investment firms justify those fees and reckons that based on their recent investment outlooks – the industry’s slickly-produced annual and quarterly house views on markets – you’d be hard-pressed for an answer. 

Elsewhere, Chris Dillow presents the case for commodities being a useful way of spreading equity risk, but perhaps no more so than gold. Is he saying to ditch them? Surely not. Click here to find out.

In the news, Alex reports on the Serious Fraud Office's probe into Petrofac after its former global head of sales, David Lufkin, had pleaded guilty to 11 counts of bribery. Shares obviously plunged, and Petrofac has now lost almost half of its market value since we learned of the investigation. Click here to read the full story.

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