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Friday newspaper round-up: Thames Water, Netflix, consumer confidence

(Sharecast News) - "Misleading" and "inconsistent" labels make it hard for shoppers to know where their food comes from, the consumer champion Which? has said, as it found supermarket chains were selling products with "meaningless" statements on their packaging. Retailers must supply the "country of origin" for specific foods including fresh fruit and vegetables, unprocessed meats, fish, wine and olive oil but the rules do not generally apply to processed meat or frozen or processed fruit and vegetables. - Guardian Thames Water could be renationalised, with the bulk of its £15.6bn debt added to the public purse, under radical plans being considered by the government, the Guardian can reveal. The blueprint, codenamed Project Timber, is being drawn up in Whitehall and would turn Britain's biggest water company into a publicly owned arm's-length body. Some lenders to its core operating company could lose up to 40% of their money under the plans. - Guardian

Netflix has enjoyed its strongest start to the year since 2020 as its password sharing crackdown boosted subscriber numbers. The streaming giant added a further 9.3m users in the first three months of the year, boosted by original hits such as Harlan Coben adaptation Fool Me Once and Guy Ritchie's The Gentlemen. That compares to just 1.75m new subscribers in the same period last year, as the latest figures came in well ahead of analyst forecasts. - Telegraph

Consumer confidence rose to its highest level in two years in the last quarter, boosted by a sharp improvement in sentiment among younger people. Deloitte's consumer confidence index rose to a net balance of -11 per cent in the first three months of this year, up from a balance of -11.4 per cent in the previous quarter. The rise reflects a sustained decline in the rate of inflation, easing the pressure on consumer finances after they were rocked by the cost of living crisis. It represents a sixth consecutive quarter of rising confidence. - The Times

Shareholders in Home Reit are suing the scandal-hit "landlord for the homeless", which in turn is planning to take its former investment adviser to court. The company has confirmed that it has received a pre-action letter of claim from Harcus Parker, the law firm representing 300 or so shareholders, who have accused Home Reit of giving them "false, untrue and/or misleading" information. - The Times

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Thursday newspaper round-up: JCB, M&S, smart meters
(Sharecast News) - The British digger maker JCB, owned by the billionaire Bamford family, continued to build and supply equipment for the Russian market months after saying it had stopped exports because of Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, the Guardian can reveal. Russian customs records show that JCB, whose owners are major donors to the Conservative party, continued to make new products available for Russian dealers well after 2 March 2022, when the company publicly stated that it had "voluntarily paused exports" to Russia. - Guardian
Wednesday newspaper round-up: Brexit border outages, Boeing, Stellantis
(Sharecast News) - Lorries carrying perishable food and plants from the EU are being held for up to 20 hours at the UK's busiest Brexit border post as failures with the government's IT systems delay imports entering Britain. Businesses have described the government's new border control checks as a "disaster" after IT outages led to lorries carrying meat, cheese and cut flowers being held for long periods, reducing the shelf life of their goods and prompting retailers to reject some orders. - Guardian
Tuesday newspaper round-up: Tesco, OpenAI, housebuilding
(Sharecast News) - Tesco is facing criticism from "shocked" charities who say they are struggling to distribute unwanted food to homeless and hungry people after they claim the retailer brought in rules that mean unwanted food can only be collected in the evening. The supermarket group has switched to a new system which asks charities to pick up unwanted food, such as items reaching their best before date, only in the evening when a store is closing rather than the following morning, the charities have claimed. - Guardian
Monday newspaper round-up: BT, ultra-long mortgages, Fever-Tree
(Sharecast News) - BT has said it is increasingly using artificial intelligence to help it detect and neutralise threats from hackers targeting business customers amid repeated attacks on companies. The £10.5bn group is aiming to build up its business protecting customers from online criminals and has patented technology that uses AI to analyse attack data to allow companies to protect their tech infrastructure. British businesses are routinely facing hacking attempts, and some recent high-profile victims have included including the outsourcer Capita, Royal Mail and British Airways. - Guardian

Important information: This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to one of Fidelity’s advisers or an authorised financial adviser of your choice. When you are thinking about investing in shares, it’s generally a good idea to consider holding them alongside other investments in a diversified portfolio of assets. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.

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