Pressure on the pound from the dollar as US Federal Reserve hikes interest rate by 0.25% 

Chairman Janet Yellen last night pushed rates up from targeting a range of 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent, to between 0.5 per cent and 0.75 per cent. It was the Fed's first move for more than a year and only its second increase since the financial crisis. But policymakers said there could be three increases in 2017, along with three more in each of the following years, eventually taking rates back to a normal level of 3pc.

Deanne Forrest, 50, from north Dorset, was looking for a way to boost her modest savings and support her teenage sons through university when a friend recommended Banc De Binary.

Big Money Questions: Is it time we reclaimed economics from the experts?

The economy was hardly ever talked about before World War II, yet now it is seen as one of the most important issues of our time. But at the same time, many economists are not being equipped with the skills to warrant the extraordinary role they play. So says Joe Earle, co-author of a new book called The Econocracy. Here's why leaving it to experts is a dangerous game - and how to get involved.

Two decades ago, Joan Goodchild and her husband Denis, then in their 60s, were visited in their home in Essex, by a door-to-door salesman who offered what seemed like a tempting opportunity.

Punch Taverns, which runs 3,300 pubs, said it was in advanced talks with the Dutch brewer which had made an offer of 174p a share - valuing the company at £386m.

In December, the Federal Reserve raised US interest rates for the first time since the financial crisis. Before that, the last time the Federal Reserve upped US interest rates was back in 2006.

The firm's shares dropped by as much as 36% when investors were spooked by an anonymous report from an organisation called Spotlight Research, which accused it of engaging in illegal gambling in China.





MARKET REPORT: Victoria Flooring shares hit the ceiling following its purchase of

It's the second company Victoria has bought which has focused on underlay (the spongey lining which goes underneath carpet) - the first was Interfloor in September 2015. Dunlop reported revenue of £30m in the year to June 30 and earnings of £3.5m. Victoria supplies around 3,000 flooring stores in the UK, largely independent shops as well as some major retailers, and around 800 in Australia.

Over the decades we have become used to American interest rates leading the way for the UK as they did after 9/11 and the financial crisis when they led to an era of super-low money costs for consumers.

The Serious Fraud Office said there was not enough evidence to prosecute Soma Oil and Gas over the allegations of corruption in Somalia.

The firm, which more than doubled its initial target of £500,000, said the extra money would enable it to raise its profile across the pond through direct marketing and PR.

The Greater Plutonio rig, which runs 24 hours a day, was the oil and gas giant's first in the southern African nation.

Dimple-cheeked John Burnard, who specialises in lucrative corporate finance, had to be escorted from last week's bash at Southbank's Skylon restaurant due to his boozy antics.

Bank closures map of the UK as more than 1,000 branches have closed in two years

Many of the branches cut are the 'last in town' as revealed by the interactive map below from consumer group Which? The closures have been blamed on customers switching to phone and online banking and as services have become increasingly accessible in and provided by the Post Office.

Four in five UK travel companies surveyed by Travelzoo are bracing themselves for price increases in 2017. One fifth of those say the increase could be as high as 15 to 20 per cent.

The J50 is based on the existing 488 Spider, which costs £204,000, but the price will be dramatically higher with just 10 being hand-crafted by the special projects division at Ferrari's factory.

INVESTMENT CLINIC: I invest in funds just as they take a dip

Unfortunately, this is the problem with choosing a fund based on its past performance. No fund can always be top of the table. This is because the assets it invests in will do better or worse depending on how well the economy is doing, or based on news and sentiment in sectors it chooses or avoids. The manager's style, too, will come in and out of favour.

Online stores including Asos, Boohoo and Topshop routinely pocket the postage and packaging costs - often called delivery fees or charges - when customers return goods.

The energy tariff 'league table' lets customers compare the average annual energy bills of households on standard variable tariffs with the biggest suppliers against the ten cheapest ones.

Banks hike the cost of fixed-rate mortgages as experts warn it's the ‘end of an era’ for

Banks are hiking the cost of fixed-rate mortgages by hundreds of pounds a year as experts warn it is the 'end of an era' for cheap home loans. Mortgage rates have been at rock-bottom for seven years after the Bank of England's official rate was cut to 0.5per cent, and then to 0.25per cent in August.

A hacking attack on Tesco Bank last month left 9,000 customers out of pocket. Fraudsters are constantly developing new methods, so keeping up with them is a multi-billion pound industry.

Travellers hit by £50 Brexit taxes on Mark Warner Holidays

Holidaymakers who booked trips to Europe months ago are being hit by a Brexit tax of £50 per person. Customers say Mark Warner Holidays is demanding the extra cash because the pound has tumbled against the euro since the EU vote. In June, £1 was worth €1.30. Today, it buys just €1.20, having dipped as low as €1.11 in October. That has made it more expensive for holiday firms to send people to Europe.

Detective Chief Superintendent David Clark, who oversees the UK's national fraud reporting centre, accused shoppers of leaving their 'crown jewels' on display.

The letters are signed by a 'Lloyds customer relationship manager' called Jamie Smith and look almost identical to authentic letters from the bank.

ASK TONY: Currys wouldn’t give back £200 for cooker hood I didn’t realise was broken

We bought a cooker hood costing £199.99 from Currys. At the time, we were having a kitchen fitted, so did not open it straight away. However, when the fitters did open it, they discovered it was damaged. Currys insisted its conditions of sale were that any damage must be reported within 48 hours and would only offer us a 10 per cent refund for damaged goods.

Vulnerable customers who are signed up to the BT Basic phone package will have call costs to landlines and mobiles capped at £10 per month, compared to the standard price of £18.99.

Top investment trusts of 2016: Gold, mining and commodities top pile

After years of rocky performance, gold, precious metals and oil made a comeback in 2016 as political uncertainty made nervous investors take refuge in 'safe haven' assets.The top performing investment trust sector is Commodities and Natural Resources, up a whopping 72% - rewarding brave value investors.

Insurers are flouting the small print in their own contracts by refusing to let savers cash in their small annuities, Money Mail can reveal.

Natwest and RBS are scrapping monthly paper statements for hundreds of thousands of current account customers.

Do 4K televisions use more energy than HD versions?

Thousands of Britons who have snapped up a 4K television in the Black Friday sale or as a Christmas treat will be facing higher energy bills for the technology, data claims. Energy bills from watching TV are likely to increase for the first time since 2011, according to British Gas's latest home energy report, thanks to the energy sapping devices.

Consumers are spending 13 per cent more on premium lines than they did last year, Kantar Worldpanel data for the 12 weeks to December 4 show.

Watchdogs plan to bring the hammer down on holdout schemes that are still charging over the odds - and potentially eroding retirement pots by tens of thousands of pounds.

Basildon and Slough are Britain's property hotspots, ONS figures show

While the UK overall saw a 6.9 per cent rise, the ONS figures also showed house prices falling in central London. And they arrived a day after Rightmove forecast asking prices to rise just 2 per cent in 2017, as Brexit uncertainty weighs on the housing market. With property values are rising swiftly in some areas, including Basildon and Slough where they are up a fifth, but falling in others, we take a look at what's happening with house prices.

The Financial Conduct Authority has confirmed it will delve into the world of 'referrals', where estate agents earn a fee in return for sending buyers to a specific mortgage broker.

This is Money has been campaigning for shared appreciation mortgage borrowers since July 2016 to highlight just how crushing these loans have become.

Do money bequests have to be paid before a house is sold to fund them?

My mother bequeathed specific sums of money to other relatives which exceed the total amount of liquid assets in her bank accounts, but I haven't managed to sell her house to fund the payments yet. Is it feasible to pay part of the bequest, £5,000 of £15,000 for example, until the property is sold and then pay the balance?

How to find the asking price that gets your property sold

Knowing what price to ask for your property can be a daunting task, but our top tips will help to get your home sold. We asked some leading estate agents - with decades of experience between them - what advice they would give to people seeking to achieve the right price for their home.

Three of the best used petrol hatchbacks: Golf vs Astra and Focus

Has Dieselgate put you off oil burners altogether, even when buying a used car? We've tested five-year-old petrol versions of the Ford Focus (left), Vauxhall Astra (middle) and VW Golf (right) to identify which one would be best one for you.

Do you want to know where the most desirable neighbours might be? Then look out for streets lined with Mercedes and Audis, claims a new poll.

Gable - which is based in Lichtenstein - underwrites motor and home insurance and provides cover to small businesses.

House prices to rise 2% in 2017, says Rightmove, but London to dip 5%

Property asking prices are tipped to rise by just 2 per cent next year while inner London prices could fall by 5 per cent, according to a forecast by property listings giant Rightmove. Prices will rise for the seventh year in a row, says Rightmove, but the pace of gains will slow as uncertainty weighs on the housing market and the London 'price bubble continues to deflate'.

Millions of Lloyds customers with basic bank accounts risk being hit by fees and penalty charges they shouldn't have to pay, a new government report suggests.

The Office for National Statistics said that inflation, as measured by the consumer prices index, rose from 0.9 per cent in October.

First off-road test drive of the new Land Rover Discovery

The new Land Rover Discovery has proved a hit before buyers can even get one on the road, but the real verdict on the 4x4 will come when those new owners take it off the tarmac. More than 10,000 people have placed orders for the new Land Rover Discovery 4X4 - including 2,000 in the UK. To see what's in store for them, Ray Massey gets an early off-road test of the new Discovery.

Dixons Carphone and SSE join forces to provide a 'one-stop solution' for homes

Households across the UK will be able to manage everything in their homes through energy provider SSE and electricals firm Dixons Carphone in future. The duo have got together to provide a 'one-stop solution' for the home, looking after everything from boilers and dishwashers to laptops and wifi. Customers will be able to 'control connected devices in the home, purchase a wide-range of recommended products, arrange installation of smart thermostats or security systems, get peace of mind cover and help to troubleshoot technical and maintenance issues', the pair said.

Smith has placed adverts for his Fundsmith Equity Fund comparing it with the performance of the average Targeted Absolute Return fund, a type of investment that tries to always turn a profit.

French owned Loxam claimed it had reached an agreement to buy Lavendon for £374m - £26m more than the amount offered by its Belgian rivals TVH.

The group, which targets their fashion ranges at 16-24 year-olds, has announced it is spending £3.3million to acquire a 66 per cent stake in online retailer PrettyLittleThing.

Hunt for a new chairman at M&S: But can they bring back the glory days of the ailing High

Robert Swannell, who as a banker helped M&S; stave off a £9.4bn bid from Sir Philip Green in 2004, is stepping down next year having taken up his post in January 2011. His reign at M&S; has been overshadowed by the dismal performance of the fashion arm and in particular the crucial womenswear department.

Brian McArthur-Muscroft, 52, picked up 516,844 shares in the digital payments provider under a long-term incentive plan just before the price plunged.

The Wellcome Trust - the main source of non-government biomedical research in the UK - said it cut its exposure to the pound to an all-time low ahead of the EU referendum.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling describes the Southern rail strike as 'palpable nonsense' and blames 'militant' unions for the disruption.

The number of people out of work fell by 16,000 in October to 1.62million, leaving the UK unemployment rate at just 4.8 per cent - one of the lowest in Europe.

Five potential takeover targets: ITV tops hit list

Investors looking for sharp and quick returns could spend time weighing up the next possible mega merger, after a string of top deals in recent months resulted in hefty payouts. The Brexit vote sent the pound tumbling and soon saw Japan's SoftBank takeover ARM. Now as Sky becomes a target again, broker AJ Bell has revealed five that could be next.

Investing guru Jack Bogle, founder of US tracker fund giant Vanguard, has sounded a warning about the 'sheer size and fragility in times of market stress' of the exchange-traded funds industry.

Delays at industry level mean some vulnerable energy customers will be waiting until spring 2017 before they receive their £140 discount which is designed to help lower winter energy bills.

HSBC's branch closure hitlist: Remember the adverts for ‘the world’s local bank?’ Now see

For years, HSBC branded itself as the world's local bank, perpetuating the belief among customers that it cared passionately about having a presence on the high street.

The Government plans to examine the plight of the self-employed and other workers excluded from pension auto-enrolment by age or level of earnings during a sweeping review taking place next year.

A mysterious 50p coin which is rarer than the much publicised Kew Gardens one has seen its value soar in recent months as numismatists cotton on to how few were minted.

Will Trump make your money great again? How the new President will affect your investments

The age of Trump is almost upon us. The billionaire businessman will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on January 20. Here, The Mail on Sunday explores what America under Donald Trump will mean for British investors. As I stand in the heart of Manhattan surrounded by the bright lights of Broadway and festive bustle of Christmas shoppers, America seems to be in rude health.

With just a fortnight until Christmas, thoughts are inevitably turning to food, drink, treats and gifts. Hotel Chocolat covers all four categorie smade at its manufacturing facility in Cambridgeshire.

Nearly six months after the EU referendum, 47 per cent are worried about leaving the EU, compared to 39 per cent in September, according to consumer body Which?

Everyone with a pension is a prime target for scammers - and it pays to be one step ahead

With eight scam calls per second and millions of consumers randomly contacted by strangers about their pension every year, protecting savers from the clutches of fraudsters is a high priority. Those with pension pots have become prime targets for a variety of scams since new rules were introduced in April 2015, giving savers easier access to their retirement funds. Research suggests fraudsters sit behind one in ten requests to transfer money out of a pension pot.

Different in many ways, the two cases highlight how something that should be boring and staid has become at times a corporate scandal, and at others a major problem for British industry.

'Jess Ennis-Hill never needs to work again – but I earned NOTHING from swimming' says

Swimmer Sharron Davies never earned a 'single, solitary penny' competing in the Olympics for Great Britain. But she earned more than £100,000 in her role as 'Amazon' in the Gladiators television series and was paid a six-figure sum to present the Big Breakfast back in the 1990s. Davies, 53, who recently designed and launched her own ProSwim swimming goggle range, also made a fortune speculating on the property market - and bought a Porsche 911 for £60,000.

Hillary Graves, founder of Little Dish, collected her Daily Mail Mumpreneur of the Year Award last week - a special accolade for women who launch successful businesses while bringing up children.

Research by experts at the London Business School say tap and pay plastic cards are removing the pain and guilt from over-spending on Christmas, threatening a 'dangerous' debt storm.

TONY HETHERINGTON: 'I've been signed up to a £3-a-week sex content site without my

Syncronized Limited, based in Coventry, has operated various services providing sexual content to mobile phone users, The titles of some are unprintable. Others include 'Glam Pleasures', 'Sex Dose' and 'Lesbiancourse' offering explicit videos. None of this is illegal, but it does not allow Syncronized to charge for services people did not request - and the company has form for this.

Ofgem came under fire after it emerged that Co-op had been in talks to buy GB Energy just hours before it went bust leaving 160,000 customers in the lurch.

As part of a review of the mortgage market, the Financial Conduct Authority admitted it needs to investigate whether mortgage rules brought in almost three years ago have backfired.

Still no answer Mr Vodafone? 'I've been waiting for a YEAR for Vodafone to settle my

Vodafone was recently hit with a record £4.6million fine by Ofcom for serial customer service failings following a sustained campaign by The Mail on Sunday. The fine prompted the company to concede that it had 'let customers down'. Vittorio Colao, group chief executive, confirmed the company was 'working on' fixing its customer service issues which had culminated in inaccurate bills being sent out and complaints being handled poorly.

Millennials think they've drawn the financial short straw

A survey of more than 2,000 investors who hold online accounts with Hargreaves Lansdown found that just 15 per cent of those aged between 18 and 35 feel lucky or very lucky financially compared with other age groups, while 62 per cent feel their generation is unlucky or very unlucky. Among those aged between 51 and 70, 72 per cent perceive themselves to be lucky or very lucky in the monetary stakes.

Steve Webb also called on these pensioners to consider all pros and cons when offered high sums for giving up all of their company pension right.

Former Pensions Minister Steve Webb is This Is Money's Agony Uncle. This week, a reader asks if it is a good idea to transfer a local government pension pot and merge it with a private fund.

RAY MASSEY: Bentley's new diesel diamond should get you from London to Verbier on a single

Bentley's first diesel, the Bentayga, is also the world's fastest luxury diesel SUV, claims the company. It's no slouch off-road either, managing slippery slopes and rutted tracks with aplomb. With big 21 in wheels and powered by a triple-turbocharged four-litre V8 engine linked to an eight-speed automatic gearbox (with manual paddles for added fun), it accelerates from rest to 60mph in just 4.6 seconds, and has a top speed of 168 mph, yet will still manage 35.8 miles to the gallon with CO2 emissions of 210g/km.

The average cost to park for an hour in the centre of London is more than the newly increased national living wage of £7.50, new research has claimed. The cheapest city charges 55p an hour, it found.

James Bond's favourite car-maker is to recreate in the 21st century a strictly limited run of 25 lightweight 'track-only' versions of its DB4 G.T. model, of which just 75 were built.


The gold price has endured a rollercoaster ride over the past year, rising to a high of $1,366 (£1,078) per ounce in July before falling back to $1,164 today. Over the past 12 months, it has risen nearly 10 per cent. Yet investors who have put money in to the shares of miners rather than in physical gold have enjoyed a far better year.

50 ways to save money....

To clear the average national household debt of ?13,000 at 6% interest with a monthly repayment of ?100 will take around 17 years. There are, however, plenty of simple ways to make significant savings on your regular spending that could clear your debt - or boost your savings - in less than a year. This is Money's top 50 - updated - money-saving tips may appear light-hearted but are deadly serious.

Pick the best (and cheapest) investment Isa platform

Choosing the right DIY platform is crucial but a wealth of choice and changes to charges have left many investors scratching their heads. We pick some of the best. We also highlight why investing in an Isa makes sense, as it should protect your hopefully growing investments from tax forever.

L Board sign on the rear of a blue saloon car , UK

If you are new to investing then the huge number of funds and investment trusts on offer can be confusing. Fortunately, This is Money's experts have some ideas to get you started.

On the up: Emerging markets such as Brazil are where much of the world's growth is expected to be over future years.

If you're looking to add some flair to your investing Isa with emerging markets, This is Money's experts have some ideas to get you started

Income investing: Dividends can deliver both a healthy boost to long-term growth and a way to earn from your investments.

Income investing can let you draw on your portfolio or reinvest dividends to build solid growth over time. Our experts give their fund and investment trust recommendations.

In this low-income world it can be hard to find mainstream investments paying a significant yield. Stifel has compiled a list of 19 investment trusts with a yield of more than 4 per cent.

Handy Brexit table explains the options for the UK's exit from the EU

Despite endless media coverage of the political wrangling and financial speculation, the average Briton can be forgiven for remaining confused about what 'soft' and 'hard' Brexit really mean. About the difference between the 'Norway model' for the UK's post-Brexit relationship with the UK and the 'Swiss solution'. But a clever table put together by HSBC in a report called 'Is Brexit Getting Harder?' cleaves some clarity from the murk.

It would have been nice to have a plan. Instead, after the Brexit vote we were left scratching our heads. But now it's time for some answers on trade and what we mean to the EU.

Pensions Road Sign against threatening clouds

We tend to put ambitious targets on our hoped-for income in retirement and then underestimate how much we will need to set aside to achieve that. So how much should you save?

When will UK interest rates rise?

An interest rate cut before the end of the year looks less likely following the plunge in the pound. However, the Bank of England has indicated that higher inflation driven by rising import costs won't make it lift rates.

What next for mortgage rates?

Several months after the Bank of England slashed the base rate to 0.25 per cent and lenders are still cutting mortgage rates on almost a weekly basis - but how low can they really go? The experts say not a lot lower and it's likely that if you get a mortgage at the moment, it's going to be a pretty cracking deal. 

Ten tips for buy-to-let

For many buy-to-let looks an attractive income investment in a time of low rates and stock market volatility. Climbing house prices, rising rents and improving mortgage deals are tempting investors - although they will need a big deposit. Read This is Money's top ten buy-to-let tips


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Musicians have seen pay rises averaging nearly 20 per cent in 2015, while cleaners are getting 17.8 per cent more, and window cleaners 12.3 per cent. Artists in general are earning 14.6 per cent more in 2015 than 2014, according to the huge annual data dump of pay scales by the Office For National Statistics highlights.

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