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Friday Update

DB Live: US closes higher; border controls ‘dropped’

10pm: US closes higher

Wall Street ended higher as bargain hunters returned to the market following sharp losses in the previous session.

But amid some wild swings, all three major indexes suffered their biggest weekly percentage declines since March.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 477.37 points, or 1.9% higher, the S&P 500 gained 39.21 points, or 1.31%, and the Nasdaq Composite added 96.08 points, or 1.01%.

3.10pm: Brexit transition verdict

UK Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has ruled out any chance of an extension to the Brexit transition period, saying the decision will bring certainty to businesses.

Full story here

3pm: Hydrogen production plan

Wealthy industrialist Jo Bamford says a new £62 million fund for green energy development could help him set up a hydrogen power plant in Aberdeen.

Full story here

2.20pm: Energy fund ‘must not hinder climate progress

Responding to the government’s announcement of a £62m Energy Transition Fund, Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said the recovery must not obstruct progress towards climate change targets.

Full story here

12.50pm: Festival funding

Edinburgh Festival is to receive £1m from the Scottish Government to support next year’s event.

12.40pm: Support for energy

Nicola Sturgeon has announced a £62m Energy Transition Fund to help the the country’s move to net carbon zero. She has also announced an Energy Transition Zone in Aberdeen for the manufacture and development of low carbon technologies.

11am: Market about-turn

City of London

Stock markets are pushing higher after heavy losses yesterday and in spite of grim news on both sides of the Atlantic. Traders said much of the GDP news for April (see below) was priced in and came as no surprise with the economy in deep freeze.

Following a sharp fall at the opening, the FTSE is now trading up at 6,157.55 +80.85 (1.33%).

Oil prices turned positive after earlier losses of more than 3%. Brent crude is 0.57% higher at $38.77 a barrel while US light crude has gained 0.5% to $36.52.

Full story here

8.30am: London swings

The FTSE 100 followed other markets sharply lower at the open but has since clawed back some ground to trade at 6,054.03, just 22.67 points (0.37%) lower after the first half hour of the session (see overnight Asia market report below).

8.30am: Jack calls for quicker restart

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has urged First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to move more quickly in reopening the economy.

Full story here

7am: GDP plummets

UK business may need ‘open-ended’ support following a 20.4% % crash in GDP in April as the economy was battered by coronavirus. One economist said a V-shaped recovery now looked unlikely.

Full story here

6.30am: Border controls ‘eased’

The UK government is expected to apply much less rigorous EU border checks on imports than it had planned, after the Brexit transition period finishes at the end of this year.

The UK had committed to introduce import controls on EU goods in January.

But the Financial Times said ministers will adopt greater flexibility on imports following pressure from business.

The government is expected to formally confirm soon it will not ask for an extension to the transition period – despite the coronavirus crisis.

In February, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said import controls were “necessary” to keep the country’s borders “safe and secure” and to collect the appropriate taxes.

Now a “temporary light-touch regime” is planned at UK ports such as Dover, regardless of whether a deal is done with the EU or not.

6am: Asia stocks fall

Asian shares fell sharply this morning and oil prices extended losses on growing concerns of a resurgence of coronavirus infections and a warning on the outlook for the US economy.

Japan’s Nikkei stock index slid 0.82%, and shares in South Korea fell 2.31%, Australian stocks dropped 1.89%, while shares in China fell 0.45%.

Wall Street plunged as investors reacted to renewed fears of a second wave of coronavirus and fretted over dour economic forecasts from the US Federal Reserve.

All three of the top stock indexes lost more than 5%, posting their worst one-day percentage drops since 16 March, when markets were sent into freefall by worldwide lockdowns. The Nasdaq snapped a three-day streak of record closing highs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1,861.82 points, or 6.9%, the S&P 188.04 points, or 5.89%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 527.62 points, or 5.27%.

Stocks in London suffered a sobering session as investors absorbed comments from the Federal Reserve on the outlook for the world’s largest economy and a rise in new coronavirus cases in the US.

The Fed chairman Jerome Powell stated the US economy would take time to fully recover from the pandemic, forecasting a 6.5% contraction this year and unemployment of 9.3%.

The FTSE 100 index closed down 252.43 points or 4% at 6,076.70. The FTSE 250 ended down 631.79 points, or 3.6% at 16,973.67, and the AIM All-Share closed down 21.61 points, or 2.4% at 865.61.

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