Friday Update

DB Live: Ryanair blasts state aid ‘doping’; Barratt resumes work

4.45pm: London close

The FTSE 100 ended the week on a downbeat note following threats from US President Donald Trump to impose more trade sanctions on China over coronavirus. The index closed at 5,763.06 −138.15 (2.34%

1pm: Keep your distance

Murrayfield crowd

Britons say they are nervous about going back to work, using public transport or being in groups of people at sports events, bars and restaurants when the lockdown ends.

Full story here

11.40am Greenbelt housing go-ahead

A plan to build 1350 homes on green belt land off the Edinburgh bypass has been approved by the Scottish Government.

Full story here

8.15am: London open

Investors continued to fret over weak data, particularly in the US. The FTSE 100 followed yesterday’s sharp fall with a further retreat from 6,000. It was trading in the early minutes of the session at 5,770.44 −130.77 (2.22%).

7am: RBS posts Q1 figures

RBS Gogarburn

Royal Bank of Scotland has reported a first quarter operating profit before tax of £519 million, down by 49% from £1.013bn in the corresponding period last year.

There was a 59% fall in attributable profit of £288m, against £707m last time.

Full story here

Barratt reopens sites

Work on Barratt Developments’ construction sites will recommence from 11 May. It will then start a phased return to construction, with 180 sites – around 50% of the total – in the first phase.

“We do not plan to restart work on our sites in Scotland at this time and will keep this position under review.”

Barratt joins Bellway, Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon and some smaller builders in resuming work south of the border.

Ryanair taking legal action


Budget airline Ryanair is expected to axe 3,000 jobs and said European fares will be distorted by its having to compete against ‘legacy’ airlines receiving €30 billion “in clear breach of EU competition and state aid rules”.

Full story here

Heathrow slumps

Heathrow Airport said it expected passenger numbers to be down by around 97% in April and they were likely to remain weak until governments consider it safe to travel.

For the first quarter, revenue fell 12.7% to £593 million and adjusted EBITDA fell by 22.4% to £315m.

9.30pm: US closes lower

US stocks closed lower as dismal economic data forced a reversal of recent gains.

The Dow closed 288.14 points lower (1.17%), while the S&P 500 was 0.92% weaker and the Nasdaq Composite ended the session 0.28% lower.

The main focus was the latest jobless claims report from the Labor Department, with initial jobless claims for the week ended 25 April rising another 3.83m.

5pm: BA may withdraw from Gatwick

British Airways, whose planes are grounded, has said it may not return to Gatwick even when the coronavirus crisis is over.

In an email to staff, Adam Carson, the airline’s managing director at Gatwick, wrote: “As you know, we suspended our Gatwick flying schedule at the start of April and there is no certainty as to when or if these services can or will return.”

On Tuesday, BA warned that the company has never seen a downturn this deep before, that a recovery would take years and that the airline needed to shrink to match the anticipated slump in demand for air travel.

The airline said it planned to lay off up to a quarter of the workforce.

According to the unions, in addition to making 12,000 people redundant, British Airways also wants its 30,000 other staff to accept less generous terms and conditions and, in many cases, lower pay.

Thur 4.45pm: London market

Concern over the weakening US economy caused markets to retreat after recent strong rises. The FTSE 100 closed lower at 5,901.21 −214.04 (3.50%).

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