And in the real world...economic optimism, BT, British Gas, Trinity Mirror and more...

LONDON - Today's round-up of the biggest business stories

In the real world...latest business news
In the real world...latest business news

The Bank of England has sharply upgraded its forecasts for growth over the next two years. However, it expects any recovery in the UK economy to be slow and unstable because of how deeply output has fallen since early last year.
Source: FT

Unemployment has fallen for the second successive month, suggesting that the number of people out of work may have peaked.
At 2,461,000, the jobless figure for the three months to September this year is marginally below that recorded in the previous three months.
Source: Independent

The FTSE 100 touched a fresh high for the year yesterday’s morning trade but gave up some of its gains in the afternoon to close up 36.2 points at 5266.75. The FTSE 250 surged 105.6 points to 9226.58 after data showed the rate of unemployment in Britain had slowed.
Source: Telegraph

BT is ramping up its plans to cut costs after revealing a halving of its profits. The telecoms giant also said that its pension fund, the largest private sector scheme in the UK, was £9.4 billion in defecit.
Source: FT

British Gas said wholesale gas prices will rise from about 31p to 49p a therm for winter 2010-11 and 57p for the following winter. Centrica, parent company of British Gas, said today that its residential utility arm was on track to see profits soar by an expected 43% this year, despite a 7% fall in energy consumption.
Source: Guardian

Trinity Mirror has reported a modest improvement in the advertising market, but its regional division continued to struggle. In the four months to the end of Octorber, group revenues fell by 12 per cent. The group’s pension deficit has jumped to £275 in June of this year.
Source: FT

A merger between British Airways and Spain's Iberia is unlikely to be finalised this week, despite a report on Sky News that a deal was to be announced.
A source said that talks were continuing.
Source: Reuters

Ian Smith, the chief executive of Reed Elsevier, walked away with a £1.1 million payoff as he was forced out of the information giant only eight months after taking charge.
Mr Smith’s tenure, one of the shortest for a FTSE 100 chief executive, ended after he fell out with Anthony Habgood, the new chairman, and key managers and failed to impress shareholders.
Source: The Times