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Tuesday update

DB Live: BP and Weir hit by oil price slump; markets

6pm: British Airways jobs warning

British Airways pic

British Airways is expected to axe up to 12,000 jobs as it struggles to cope with a collapse in bookings caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Full story here

5pm: Mail deliveries

Royal Mail has scrapped Saturday letter deliveries until further notice due to the coronavirus pandemic.

4.45pm: Market close

Investors continue buying into hopes that the lockdown measures will be eased and the FTSE 100 came within a few points to closing back above the 6,000 level. The index closed at 5,958.50 +111.71 (1.91%).

4.30pm: Judicial review call on grants

A group of small businesses have today lodged a petition at the Court of Session seeking a judicial review on the fairness of the Scottish Government’s Business Grant Scheme.

Full story

4pm: Face masks advice

People should cover their faces in shops, on public transport and other enclosed places to halt the spread of coronavirus, said Nicola Sturgeon today.

Full story here

9am: Market open

Investors remained positive towards lockdown easing. The FTSE 100 was steady in the first hour of trading at 5,860.21 +13.42 (0.23%).

7am: Marks & Spencer planning for change

Holly Willoughby M&S

Marks & Spencer said the coronavirus will change ways of working permanently and it will unveil “very significant measures” at its results announcement on 20 May to reduce costs and protect cash flow.

Full story here

7am: BP profits slump


BP’s underlying profit fell by two-thirds in the first quarter as the coronavirus crisis ravaged global demand for oil.

The company’s underlying cost replacement profit, its preferred reporting measure, dropped from $2.4bn (£1.9bn) last year to $800 million, a fall of 67%.

Analysts had expected first-quarter underlying replacement cost profit to come in at $987 million.

Despite the fall in profit BP announced it would pay out a dividend of 10.5 cents for the quarter.

7am: Weir hit by oil price slump

First quarter orders for the Glasgow-based Weir Group were 13% lower than the prior year principally reflecting significantly weaker oil and gas market conditions.  Original equipment orders fell 22% with aftermarket down 10%. 

There has been a deep downturn in oil and gas markets since the beginning of the year with E&P capex now expected to fall c.50% in North America compared to March estimates of 30%, reflecting recent oil price declines.

These conditions are reflected in the division’s first quarter performance where orders fell 34% in the period. The workforce has been cut by 150 meaning the division has reduced its workforce by 350 in 2020, and by a total of c.1,000 (c.30%) since the start of 2019. 

The impact of Covid-19 on the division’s operations has been restricted to the temporary closure of a facility in the United Arab Emirates. Based on current market conditions the division is now expected to be loss making but remain cash positive through 2020.  

The company will not pay the 2019 final dividend and all executive and management annual bonus schemes have been suspended. Inflationary increases in Board and Group Executive fees and salaries withdrawn.  

Chairman Charles Berry has returned to work following a period of illness.

5am: HSBC profits hit

HSBC’s first-quarter profit plunged by 48% as it took a hit from its exposure to the lockdown, particularly in China.

Full story here

10.30pm: Markets

Wall Street gained more than 1% on Monday as several countries and US states began easing their coronavirus lockdowns.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 359 points, or 1.51%, the S&P 500 was up 42 points, or 1.47%, while the Nasdaq Composite added 96 points, or 1.11%.

US equities have now clawed back much of the ground lost since the coronavirus crisis and are now within 20% of their record closing highs reached in February.

The FTSE 100 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%).

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