Commerse and Finance - Your money

Rpt fitch places lcr finance plcs notes on rating watch negative

´╗┐March 26 (The following statement was released by the rating agency) Fitch Ratings has placed LCR Finance PLC's (LCRF) notes on Rating Watch Negative (RWN), as follows: GBP1,225m notes due 2028: senior unsecured 'AAA' on RWN GBP425m notes due 2038: senior unsecured 'AAA' on RWN GBP1,100m notes due 2051: senior unsecured 'AAA' on RWN The rating actions follow the placement of the United Kingdom's 'AAA' Long-term Issuer Default Rating on RWN on 22 March 2013. KEY RATING DRIVERS LCRF is the issuer of unsecured bonds that are irrevocably and unconditionally guaranteed by the UK government (HMG). As the ratings of LCRF's notes rely on HMG and, as such, are credit-linked to the UK sovereign rating, Fitch considers that the only risk factor applicable to the rating is external support, which was assessed as Stronger. RATING SENSITIVITIES Given that HMG irrevocably and unconditionally guarantees the full discharge of LCRF's debt service commitments, any further change in HMG's rating would lead to a corresponding change in the notes' rating. In 2010, HMG sold a 30-year concession to operate the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (now known as High Speed 1) to a private consortium consisting of Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and Borealis Infrastructure.

Small business confidence slips in june

´╗┐Small business optimism fell in June from its one-year high as an uncertain recovery continues to unfold. The National Federation of Independent Business said on Tuesday its Small Business Optimism Index decreased 0.9 point to 93.5 last month, changing course from two straight months of growth. Six of the index's 10 components fell and two were unchanged. Only job creation plans and the six-month outlook advanced.

This mirrors economists' predictions that the economy will pick up momentum in the second half of this year after a lackluster start. More owners are reporting negative sales trends than positive ones. "Nothing cheers up a small business owner more than a customer, and they remain scarce and cautious," the NFIB said.

Last month, the share of owners planning to increase inventories fell 4 points, accounting for about 40 percent of the decline in the index.

Job creation plans increased after slipping last month and the percentage of small business owners reporting they could not fill job openings remained the same. The NFIB reported earlier this month that small business employment ticked down by 0.09 workers per firm. An almost equal proportion of owners hired as opposed to cut jobs, but those firms reducing employment more than offset the gains at other businesses.