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Quite a bit on this morning. What happens next to Northern Rock is a big issue for us today. Efforts to sell it seem to be getting nowhere fast, the bank plans to proceed with a dividend payment and still the board remains intact. The stock has been all over the place this morning.

I’m intrigued, also, by Florian Homm’s decision to sell 10m shares in Absolute Capital Management to Andreas Rialas, his colleague on the ACM board until he flounced out last week but a man who is, literally, faceless on the company website. In his resignation letter, Homm didn’t explicitly promise not to sell a large chunk of shares but he did vow to fight for shareholder value, which at least suggested he might stick around. What’s more, Homm sold at a sharp discount to the market price.

Also, strange is the news that the finance director of Silverjet is leaving, just a week after the airline announced results. John Bavister had been there since 2005, so more or less since the beginning. Someone called Martin Lynch, who is ex-BA, will replace him. The company also needs some new non-execs, as our People column reported last week.

“Unusually high” investment gains and strong fee income boosted earnings at Close Brothers, the investment bank said on Monday as it reported a 21 per cent jump in full-year pre-tax profits and signalled it was interested in further acquisitions. The shares rose 2 per cent.

Wolseley has been hit by the problems in the US housing market, reporting a fall in annual profits and warning of worse to come. The shares are off 4 per cent.

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