Here are the business stories making the headlines across Scotland and the UK this morning.

Traders were told of Hamas attack on Israel in advance and 'profited from tragic events', researchers claim

Israeli authorities are investigating claims some investors may have known in advance about the Hamas plan to attack Israel on 7 October and used that information to make hundreds of millions of pounds.

Research by US law professors Robert Jackson Jr and Joshua Mitts, from New York University and Columbia University respectively, found significant short-selling of shares leading up to the massacre, which triggered a war that has raged for nearly two months.

"Days before the attack, traders appeared to anticipate the events to come," the authors wrote, citing short interest in the MSCI Israel Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) they say "suddenly, and significantly, spiked" on 2 October.

"And just before the attack, short selling of Israeli securities on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) increased dramatically," they added.

Weak Christmas sales risk high street ‘casualties’

High streets risk further “casualties” amid disappointing early Christmas sales, retailers warn.

A flurry of Black Friday deals has failed to reinvigorate spending, with shoppers spending only 2.7pc more in November than a year earlier, according to the BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor.

While inflation figures for the month are not yet available, they will likely be far higher.

Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, said the sluggish spending in the run-up to Christmas spelt trouble ahead both for high streets and online retailers.

Gold price hits record high as bets on interest rates shift

Gold prices have hit a new high, while the value of Bitcoin has also surged.

The gains come as traders switch investing strategies, after nearly two years when rising interest rates helped fuel demand for US dollars and certain kinds of debt.

Investors now see a rising chance of rate cuts, which has reignited interest in other assets.

As Asian markets started trading on Monday, the price of gold jumped above $2,000, up 3%, before retreating.

Demand for dollars ticked up again later in the trading session on Monday, helping to push gold into retreat. Many investors holding gold were also taking advantage of the recent highs to sell, analysts said.

Adult content websites may have to use photo ID and credit card checks to protect children

Websites showing adult content may have to use credit card checks and photo ID matching to confirm users are over 18, as part of the Online Safety Act.

Regulator Ofcom has published draft guidance for platforms on how to protect children from adult content to ensure firms comply with the new internet laws.

The recommendations include photo ID matching - where an uploaded document such as a passport is compared with an image taken at that moment.

The draft guidance says websites must use methods which are technically accurate, robust, reliable and fair to carry out age checks.

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