News in Brief: Osborne, second crash, M&S, FCA, Yahoo job cuts

News in Brief

George Osborne warns UK economy faces 'cocktail of threats'

The UK faces a "cocktail" of serious threats from a slowing global economy as 2016 begins, chancellor George Osborne has warned.

Speaking in Cardiff, Mr Osborne said this year is likely to be one of the toughest since the financial crisis, reported the BBC.

He told business leaders that far from "mission accomplished" on the economy, "2016 is the year of mission critical".

His message is in stark contrast to the positive tone of his autumn statement, when he said the UK was "growing fast".

Stock market turmoil wipes £40bn off FTSE 100

Markets slide around the globe after Chinese regulators are forced to halt trading for the second time this week.

Nearly four hours after trading began, the FTSE 100 is still deep in the red as the latest crash in China spooks markets around the globe.

The blue-chip index is currently down 2.65% or 160 points at 5912, its lowest level since mid December, reports The Guardian.

Mining companies continue to suffer, on fears that the crisis in China will cause serious harm to the global economy. Anglo American, which produces iron ore, copper, nickel and coal, has slumped to another record low.

Fund manager Aberdeen Asset Management is also being hit hard; it manages tens of billions of assets in emerging markets and in Asia.

M&S boss Marc Bolland to step down

Marks & Spencer has announced its chief executive Marc Bolland is to step down in April as it revealed a bigger than expected fall in clothing sales over Christmas.

The Guardian reports Bolland, who has run the company for the past six years, will hand over the reins to Steve Rowe, M&S’s clothing boss who headed the chain’s food business until recently.

Rowe will take over on 2 April, the end of M&S’s financial year, but Bolland will stay on to support Rowe for two months and continue to be paid until 7 January 2017.

Rowe, whose father was a director of M&S until 2000, led the successful food business until last July, when he took charge of the general merchandise division, which covers clothing, footwear and homeware, and became favourite to succeed Bolland.

MPs to grill UK watchdog over scrapping of banking culture review

The heads of Britain's Financial Conduct Authority will be asked by a panel of members of parliament to explain their "curious decision" to ditch a review into banking culture, Reuters reports.

The review, which was part of the FCA's 2015 business plan, was shelved, sparking concern among some MPs that the watchdog was under pressure from the government to soften its approach to banks.

Improving the way they operate is seen as core to restoring trust in banks that have been fined billions of dollars over the past four years for trying to rig interest rate benchmarks and foreign exchange markets.

The FCA has said that engaging with banks individually was a better way of improving conduct.

"The FCA's decision to drop its review of bank culture does seem curious," Andrew Tyrie, chairman of parliament's Treasury Select Committee, said in a statement.

Yahoo looking to slash 10 percent or more of its workforce

Yahoo Inc is working on a plan to cut its workforce by at least 10%, Business Insider reported, citing sources.

"We are not confirming this rumour or commenting further", Sarah Meron, a spokeswoman for Yahoo told Reuters.

The layoffs, which would result in more than 1,000 people leaving the tech giant, is set to affect Yahoo's media business, European operations, and platforms-technology group, said Business Insider.

This move follows activist investor Starboard Value LP's letter to Yahoo ramping up pressure on Yahoo, taking aim at Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer and her leadership team and raising the prospect that a proxy battle is approaching.