Friday Update

DB Live: LBTT change date named; SLA sells Boohoo shares


4.30pm: LBTT cut to come in next week

Homebuyers will be able to take advantage of reduced rates of Land and Buildings Transaction Tax from next week, after Finance Secretary Kate Forbes came under pressure to announce a date.

The threshold at which LBTT begins to be paid will rise from £145,000 to £250,000 on Wednesday (15 July). Full story here

4.30pm: Market close

The FTSE 100 closed 45.79 points (0.76%) higher at 6,095.41.

3.30pm: Standard Life Aberdeen sells Boohoo shares

Asset manager Standard Life Aberdeen has sold most of its shares in fast-fashion retailer Boohoo, arguing that its response earlier this week to allegations of poor working conditions at supplier factories was “inadequate”.

Lesley Duncan, deputy head of UK equities at Aberdeen Standard Investments, said it invested in Boohoo at the time of its IPO in 2014, at which point it passed the asset manager’s ethical screening.

Duncan said that over the years SLA has lobbied the company to improve its management of supply chain transparency, environmental efficiency and working conditions

Boohoo has appointed a leading QC to lead an inquiry into the allegations.

3.15pm: Frankie & Benny’s closures

Frankie & Benny’s owner The Restaurant Group has warned that one in 10 of its sites will not reopen this year as it faces up to the collapse in footfall caused by coronavirus

11.30am: Royal Mail fined

Royal Mail parcel post box (pic: Royal Mail)

Royal Mail has been fined £1.5 million by the communications regulator for failing to deliver first-class mail on time.

Ofcom said Royal Mail missed its target to deliver at least 93% of first-class post across the UK within one working day of it being collected, slipping to 91.5%.

The company met its obligations the following financial year, Ofcom said.

Royal Mail said it is “disappointed” with its first-class postal service for the 2018-19 year and “accepts and understands” the decision by Ofcom.

10.20am: Machine Labs raises funds ‘at difficult time’

Machine Labs, the automated e-commerce platform, has raised £1 million in seed funding.

Full story here

8.15am: London opens lower

The FTSE 100 opened lower amid investor nervousness at a jump in coronavirus cases around the world.

The index fell 30.15 points or 0.5% to 6019.47. The FTSE 250 smaller firms also fell, shedding 0.3%.

7am: Gym Group

Gym group

The Gym Group said 178,000 members cancelled their membership during the lockdown, but its internal research shows 92% of members are keen to return.

It said that in the first few days after closing there were a “significant number” of cancellations, but this rate subsequently slowed considerably. As at 9 July it had 692,000 members (vs 870,000 on 18 March) with an average age of 32.

It will be re-opening its 160 gyms in England from 25 July.  Opening dates for 13 sites in Scotland and three in Wales will follow after relevant local restrictions are lifted.

Richard Darwin, CEO, said: “Opening safely is our primary concern and we have comprehensive plans in place for both our colleagues and members as we re-open our gyms.

“We are pleased to have been able to work with Government and the rest of the health and fitness sector on how best to operate in a COVID-secure way. Together with the Government we recognise the significant benefits of exercise in improving the nation’s physical and mental well-being, particularly at this time as we respond to the pandemic.”

6am: Markets

Stocks in London are expected to finish on a low with IG to a slight fall. The blue chip FTSE 100 index closed down 106.54 points, or 1.7%, at 6,049.62, alongside indices in France and Italy.

Wall Street closed in the red, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing 1.4%, the S&P 500 0.6%, but the tech-heaving Nasdaq Composite closed 0.5% higher.

Late Thursday news: Standard Life Aberdeen shares bought

Standard Life Aberdeen CFO Stephanie Bruce bought 103,859 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on 7 July. The stock was acquired at an average price of 265p, or a total of £275,226.35.

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