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Important information: The value of investments can go down as well as up so you may get back less than you invest. Investors should note that the views expressed may no longer be current and may have already been acted upon. This is a third-party news feed and may not reflect Fidelity’s views.

Thursday newspaper round-up: Windfall profits, London properties, Asda

(Sharecast News) - The world's 722 biggest companies collectively are making more than $1tn a year (£780bn) in windfall profits on the back of soaring energy prices and rising interest rates, according to research by development charities. The companies made $1.08tn this way in 2021 and $1.09tn last year, according to analysis of Forbes magazine data by the charities Oxfam and ActionAid. The collective profits were 89% higher than the previous four-year average covering 2017-2020. - Guardian More than 70% of "prime central London" properties sold so far this year have been bought entirely in cash, according to a report by estate agents Savills that fuels concerns that rich overseas buyers are snapping up properties at the expense of working Londoners. A total of 71% of prime central London - an estate agent term for an area that stretches from Chelsea to Camden and Notting Hill to Westminster - have been bought mortgage-free in the seven months from January. That compares with about 35% for the UK as a whole. - Guardian

Britain has suffered the worst house price falls of any major European economy as persistent inflation and rising mortgage rates deter buyers. House prices in the UK fell by 3.1pc on an annual basis in the first three months of 2023, compared with a 1pc fall in Germany and a 2.7pc rise in France during the same period, according to a report from Knight Frank. In Italy, prices grew by 1.1pc, while Spain recorded growth of 3.1pc. - Telegraph

A health technology business co-founded by Daniel Ek, the chief executive of Spotify, has raised €60 million to open clinics throughout Europe and Britain that aim to pick up serious diseases early. Neko Health has developed a body-scanning technology that it is claimed can give patients a full check-up in about ten minutes. Seventy different sensors will search for health issues, monitoring moles, skin changes, body temperature and mapping the cardiovascular system, while a nurse will take blood to look for diseases such as diabetes. Once the scan is completed, underlying problems can be identified and recommendations offered. - The Times

Asda has been summoned to appear before MPs again after "discrepancies" emerged over its fuel pricing strategy and "unclear" fire-and-rehire policy. The Commons' business and trade committee has written to Mohsin Issa, a co-owner of Asda, about "concerns" regarding comments made by the supermarket chain's chief commercial officer at an evidence session on fuel and food prices inflation. - The Times

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(Sharecast News) - A development company that sells off land no longer needed by Thames Water has paid out a £14m dividend despite warnings that it could become engulfed by the water group's financial woes. Accounts filed at Companies House show Kennet Properties paid out a £14.5m dividend in the year to 31 March 2023 despite the difficulties faced by the wider group, which is facing going into administration. - Guardian
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(Sharecast News) - Asset manager Redwheel told regulators they should reduce the UK postal service's legal obligations. The move followed a failed buyout attempt by Daniel Kretinsky for International Distributions Services, its parent company. The billionaire investor was said to be evaluating a possible improved bid. The company meanwhile has petitioned Ofcom to let it cut the number of days per week during which it must deliver second-class mail from six to two or three. That would save the company £300m and see it shrink its workforce by 1,000. According to Redwheel, as first reported by the Sunday Times, the enforced costs of its legal obligations left the company "vulnerable to corporate predators". - Guardian
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(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

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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