Morrisons agrees to new bid | energy prices to rise
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5pm: US job figures lift FTSE 100
July US non-farm payroll figures came in higher than estimates, pushing the FTSE 100 index higher though tinged with concern that the Federal Reserve could taper sooner.
At the close, the UK blue-chip index was ahead 2.52 points, or 0.04% at 7,122.95, below the day’s peak of 7,135.39 but above the session low of 7,103.71.
NatWest, Lloyds and Barclays closed up 2.2%, 1.5% and 1.6% respectively.
On Wall Street around London’s close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.4% firmer, having earlier hit a new record high.
The broader S&P 500 index also reached a new peak early on but slipped back to be just 0.1% higher, while the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite shed 0.5%.
11.30am: Revised Morrisons bid
Supermarket group Morrisons has accepted an increased takeover offer worth £6.7 billion from a consortium led by Softbank-owned Fortress Investment Group.
The new offer of 270p per Morrisons share includes a 2p a share special dividend.
Morrisons said its board has re-confirmed its unanimous recommendation of the offer.
The board had previously agreed a Fortress offer on 3 July worth 254p valuing the company at £6.3bn.
9am: Commodities weigh on market
Commodities stocks are the main drag on the FTSE 100, led by precious metals miner Fresnillo falling more than 2%.
Leisure and retail shares are also among the blue chip fallers, including British Airways owner IAG, Kingfisher and Next.
Topping the leaderboard is London Stock Exchange Group after an upbeat set of half-year results (see below).
The FTSE 100 was trading 10.7 points lower at 7,109.67.
7.20am: Nucleus leadership structure due
The acquisition of Edinburgh-based wrap platform Nucleus by James Hay has received regulatory approval and the offer has today gone wholly unconditional.
James Hay CEO Richard Rowney will lead the combined group and further details of its development plans, including the future leadership structure, will be announced in the coming months.
7am: Energy prices rise
Millions of households face a rise in energy prices from October as the price cap for default domestic energy deals is raised to cover suppliers’ extra costs.
The typical gas and electricity customer is likely to see their bill go up by £139 to £1,277 a year.
Prepayment customers will see an increase of £153, from £1,156 to £1309, the regulator Ofgem said.
Ofgem said rising wholesale costs were behind the increase, adding that the existence of the price cap meant households would save between £75-£100 a year.
7am: Capita in line with expectations
Outsourcer Capita said its half-year results were in line with expectations as it swung back into profit.
It posted profit before tax of £261.1m against a loss the previous year of £28.5m.
Revenue dipped to £1.61bn from £1.68bn in the corresponding half-year period of 2020.
The company has not paid a dividend since 2017 and has not declared a pay-out this time.
The group said it expects to deliver full-year revenue growth in 2021, driven by new contracts and recovery in those parts of its business affected by the pandemic.
7am: LSE revenue rises
London Stock Exchange Group reported a rise of 4.6% in total revenue in the first half of 2021 as it continued to integrate its data and analytics company Refinitiv acquired in a $27 billion deal.
Adjusted operating profit came in at £1.17bn, as a strong performance by its capital markets business helped offset a drop in its data and analytics unit.
6am: Shoppers remain cautious
July saw a small improvement in shopper visits to retail destinations on the previous month, but footfall continues to be more than a quarter down on the equivalent month in 2019, according to the Scottish Retail Consortium.
Traders are expected to keep their powder dry ahead of this afternoon’s July US jobs report and any possible tapering of asset purchases, and when to expect an interest rate hike.
US markets were in positive mood yesterday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbing 272 points and the S&P 500 advancing 26.
Asian markets were more mixed with the Nikkei 225 index up 0.3%, the Shanghai Composite down 0.6%, while the Hang Seng index was down 0.3%.