Business

The who? what? where? of business this week

The week in business: Who's blundered and who's blossomed under the business news spotlight this week?

Well I never. Another week, another housing market story.

This week we heard this Darwinian-sounding warning from the Nationwide building society's boss, Graham Beale: the supercharged London property market may face a "natural correction". He said there was already a "slowing down in the market place".

House hunters should not get their hopes up though - always assuming he's right: "What we will see over the next year is the big difference in house prices in London and elsewhere will narrow considerably as prices elsewhere begin to pick up."

While arguments rage over why the London market is so strong, we learnt it is almost certainly not down to the Help to Buy scheme. The mortgage guarantee part of the scheme has helped to support 7,313 sales since it launched - but very few in London.

"In case anyone thinks that the bubble in the London housing market has been caused by the government's second Help to Buy scheme, [these] stats show that is an absurd notion," declares economics editor, Robert Peston. So that's final.

Image copyright Science Photo Library

Drugs companies continued to pump out news.

Under the microscope went GlaxoSmithKline, which is having its commercial practices investigated by the Serious Fraud Office. Companies have a tough set of rules to stick to - even when operating in countries where "sweeteners" are the norm. Sticking to the rules though looks tricky: there are some truly grey areas.

Guess I should note that Pfizer officially scrapped its bid for AstraZeneca. The latter played a blinder but it certainly has the pressure on now to prove that the drugs goldmine it is sitting on actually is worth all it's cracked up to be or there's likely to be another swoop on the company.

That won't come from Pfizer until six months have passed - there are rules governing these things. Pfizer may not have the stomach to face again the level of scrutiny it got this time - plus the tax loophole that made the plan so tasty may have closed.

Image copyright Reuters

Mark Carney gave a speech. What a talker the man is. Previous Bank of England governors were seen about once every three months when the quarterly inflation report came out.

Mr Carney had a novel theme this week. Ethics. He told a conference on the future of capitalism (no less!) that bankers should see their job as a vocation and adopt higher ethical standards.

A "reductionist view of the human condition" had prevailed in the run-up to the financial crisis, is his take.

Mr Carney - formerly of Goldman Sachs - said inequalities of outcomes in societies both "within and across generations had demonstrably increased" in recent years. Has he been reading Thomas Piketty's smash book Capital? Which itself of course has sparked much debate after Mr Piketty's figures were criticised this week by the Financial Times.

Image copyright Getty Images

Is anything certain? Perhaps this: Apple is paying $3bn for Beats, famous for headphones. The founder is hip-hop star, Dr Dre.

What does Apple want from Dr Dre? Street cred, one imagines. What does Dr Dre want with Apple? In an interview with Esquire last year, he talked about turning down potential investors by telling them he doesn't need any more money.

"That part is entertaining, because people look at you like you're crazy when you say you don't need any more money. Who says that?" he said.

There is small consolation for those who envy stupendous wealth. He isn't (yet) hip hop's first billionaire. Estimates put his wealth at $800m.