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HSBC leads an extremely busy news day with its warning that problems with bad debts are spreading in the US from mortgages to other loans such as credit cards and auto loans. There were quite a lot of other bearish comments from the bank as well, according to our banking editor Peter Thal Larsen, and we’ll bring you all the details in tomorrow’s paper.

J Sainsbury on Wednesday reported a near 20 per cent increase in interim profits and announced a property joint venture with Land Securities. Analysts described the joint venture deal as “tiny” but symbolic.

Meanwhile Land Securities has confirmed it would split its divisions into three separate quoted companies – retail, London property, and property outsourcing, to reflect their “different financial characteristics”. There must be a chance that at least two of them will remain in the FTSE 100 but we’ll check. We’ll also look into what implications this may have for British Land and Hammerson.

Philip Moore has quit as chief executive of Friends Provident. The life assurer also announced a strategic review following last month’s collapse of its proposed merger with Resolution.

The FSA is pressing ahead with its reform of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme despite some grumbles from firms. The will be some element of cross-subsidisation between industries. So instead of a big company failure in, say, insurance just being paid for by insurers, it now means that ultimately all financial services companies will pick up the tab for big failures. It also means that the pool of cash available to pay out customers will expand from £2.7bn to about £4bn.

We’re also working on pieces that will move on this week’s Northern Rock story as well as the Cable & Wireless and BHP-Rio stories.

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