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Monday Update

DB Live: SPFL meeting; Wall Street up; Springfield; oil jobs

7.15pm: SPFL statement

The SPFL board has called an EGM for Tuesday 12 May after meeting this evening to consider requisitions by Heart of Midlothian, Rangers and Stranraer calling for an EGM over the recent vote on ending the season.

Full story here

4.45pm: Market close

London Stock Exchange

The blue chip index was buoyed by prospects of a return to work in a number of countries, despite government pledges on continued social distancing. The FTSE 100 closed at 5,846.79 +94.56 (1.64%).

4pm: Sunak backtracks on loans

Small firms are to get access to 100% taxpayer-backed loans after complaints over slow delivery.

Full story here

3.30pm Russia oil pledge

Russia will cut its May oil output by 19% to 8.5 million barrels per day (bpd) from its February-March level of 10.4 bpd, according to reports.

The plan, if confirmed, will go some way to easing pressure on the price, though stocks remain high.

Full story

3pm: Wall St buoyed by states opening

US stock markets opened higher as more states prepared to ease the coronavirus restrictions and investors awaited quarterly earnings reports from blue chip companies including Apple and Microsoft later this week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 90.88 points, or 0.38%, at the open. The S&P 500 opened 17.91 points, or 0.63%, higher while the Nasdaq Composite gained 83.46 points, or 0.97%.

2.30pm Bereaved facing estate delays

Bereaved families face being locked out of their relatives’ estate for months as Coronavirus clogs up Scotland’s legal system, according to a Scottish law firm.

With only essential matters being heard in Scottish courts at present, confirmation applications to gather and distribute assets of those who have died have ground to a halt.

Law firm Aberdein Considine has warned that these delays – coupled with rising deaths due to Covid-19 – could swamp Sheriff Courts when they re-open fully.

Without confirmation being granted by a Sheriff, estates cannot be wound up and assets cannot be distributed to beneficiaries.

James MacKinnon, a Partner at Aberdein Considine, believes the backlog of applications will be “substantial”.

2pm: Snappy Shopper booming

Snappy Shopper, the mobile app and web-based convenience store home delivery platform, has reported a fivefold increase in store numbers on the back of demand from retailers and customers during the coronavirus crisis.

In the five weeks since Prime Minister Boris Johnson made his first lockdown announcement, the firm has reported a 534% increase in platform sales in comparison to the previous five weeks.

Mark Steven, chief executive of the Dundee-based company, said: “Demand for our service from both retailers and customers continues to go through the roof.”

1pm: Oil jobs warning

With the price of oil hovering just over $20 a barrel in conjunction with the global pandemic, a new report estimates that upwards of 3,500 jobs could be axed by September.

Full story

11.30am: Herald to quit offices

Sunday National and Herald on Sunday - first copies

The Herald and Times is vacating its offices in Glasgow. Staff at Newsquest Scotland have already begun the process of clearing out their desks at the property in Renfield Street.

Full story here

9.40am: Markets response to virus and Johnson return

Markets kicked off the week in a good mood thanks to a plethora of information about how certain countries plan to come out of lockdown and further central bank stimulus,” says Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

“The FTSE 100 jumped by 1.6% to 5,842 with 97 of the 100 stocks in the index going up in value. Insurers led the charge, helped by utilities, banks and miners.

“The pound moved 0.6% higher against the US dollar to $1.2438 after Prime Minister Boris Johnson returned to Downing Street nearly a month after being diagnosed with coronavirus.”

9.30am: Johnson speech on lockdown

Prime Minister Boris Johnson returned to the frontline battle against the coronavirus pandemic. He spoke outside Downing Street about the government’s latest thinking.

Full story here

8.15am: Market open

The FTSE 100 followed Asia higher, opening at 5,837.93 +85.70 (1.49%)

8.10am: Atterley crowdfunds

Mike Welch’s online fashion marketplace Atterley has launched a Crowdcube campaign today, targeting a minimum £500,000.

Full story here

8am: wind farm goes ahead

Vattenfall is to go ahead with an onshore wind farm in south west Scotland, its largest in the United Kingdom.

Full story here

7.50am: Tech concern

Tech entrepreneurs feel many startups will not survive the COVID-19 crisis with many falling through the gaps for government support.

Full story here

7am: Springfield Properties

Innes Smith

Housebuilder Springfield Properties has agreed an additional £18m, 12-month, term loan facility with Bank of Scotland, increasing the total credit facility to £85m. The term loan has been agreed on similar terms to the existing credit facility.

The board says this additional support gives Springfield sufficient headroom, should it be necessary, to withstand even the most unlikely event of a 12-month shutdown.

The company has taken further measures to reduce monthly running costs including the delay or cancellation of future land purchases, postponement of office rental and financial lease payments, and curtailment of all non-essential spend.

“It is too early to estimate with accuracy the potential impact on the Group’s financial results. However, the board believes the group is in a strong position to withstand the impact of COVID-19 and once a return to work is permitted (with the necessary Health and Safety measures in place), Springfield will continue to deliver against its strong order book,” it said in a statement.

Innes Smith, CEO (pictured) said: “The enhanced facility from the Bank of Scotland puts us in a strong financial position for the time when it is safe, once again, to resume business.

“We are also working to maintain strength in our supply chain, hence our commitment to paying all of our contractors and sub-contractors in full and with minimum delay.”

7am: Intercontinental Hotels

IHG, which operates the George Hotel in Edinburgh, has secured new financing arrangements to further strengthen its liquidity position.

The Bank of England has also now confirmed IHG as an eligible issuer for the UK Government’s CCFF.

It expects to confirm at first quarter update on 7 May that Q1 Global RevPAR decreased approximately 25%, including a 55% decline in March. Trading in Greater China continues to steadily improve, with only 12 out of 470 hotels now closed.  In the US, 10% of its hotels are closed, while in Europe and the Middle East 50% are closed.

Occupancy levels in comparable open hotels are currently in the low to mid 20% range across the business.

7am: Admiral dividend

Insurer Admiral is recommending an unchanged normal dividend of 56.3p per ordinary share, but is suspending the planned special dividend of 20.7p.  The board will review the position in relation to the special dividend alongside the company’s half year results. 

Chief executive David Stevens has confirmed that the normal dividend payable to him and his wife will be donated in full to their charitable foundation to fund support for charities experiencing reduced income and increased needs during the Covid-19 crisis.

5.30am: Market open

The FTSE 100 looks set to follow Asia’s main markets by kicking off the trading week in positive territory.

Spread betting firms predict the blue-chip index to rise 84 points to 5,836.23 amid guarded optimism the coronavirus (COVID-19) curve in Europe and the US has begun to flatten 

5am: Oil price falls

Maersk oil field

Oil prices fell on signs that worldwide oil storage is filling rapidly, raising concerns that production cuts will not be fast enough to fully offset the collapse in demand from the coronavirus pandemic.

US West Texas Intermediate June futures fell $1.49, or 8.8%, to $15.45 a barrel by 0452 GMT, while Brent crude was down 44 cents, or 2.1%, at $21.00 a barrel.

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