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Friday Update

DB Live: Johnson eases lockdown; Scots GDP rises; Netflix hit

4.45pm: London closes higher

There were not many US earnings to drive direction and the mood was muted in Europe as an EU summit to discuss the rescue fund began today.

The FTSE 100 closed up 39.61 points (0.63%) at 6,290.30 and over the week the index gained around 3.2%.

Brent crude was trading at $43.08 a barrel, down from $43.72 a barrel late Thursday. 

3.50pm: Tomkins to leave parliament

Adam Tomkins, Scottish Conservative MSP for the Glasgow region, has announced that he will not be seeking re-election at the 2021 Scottish Parliamentary election.

Full story here

12.15pm: Barcelona in new virus alert as Johnson eases restrictions

Catalonia’s regional authorities urged residents of Barcelona to stay at home and not gather in groups of more than ten in order to fight a fresh outbreak of coronavirus cases.

The regional government said the measure was aimed at avoiding a mandatory lockdown for Spain’s second-largest city.

Residents of Barcelona, which is one of Spain’s tourism hotspots, are encouraged to shop online and only go out of home when it’s absolutely essential, regional officials told a news conference.

It came as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said coronavirus restrictions will ease further in England under plans for a “significant return to normality” by Christmas.

He said advice for employers would change from 1 August when they would have more discretion to bring staff back to workplaces if it was safe to do so.

The PM insisted he was “hoping for the best and planning for the worst”.

10am: Scottish GDP rebounds

Scotland’s GDP increased by 1.5% in May, after the sharp falls of 18.9% in April and 5.5% in March, according to statistics announced today by the Chief Statistician.

Although output has picked up slightly in May, it remains 22.1% below the level in February, prior to the direct impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

After output fell in nearly every industry during April, the results for May are more mixed. Some parts of the economy are estimated to have seen a pick-up in activity as firms and consumers adapted to physical distancing and some people returned to work.

However, other industries across the services sector experienced further falls in output. The industries with the largest falls in output over the latest three months are those which have been strictly required to close or where working at home is not possible. 

8.15am: London open

The London market opened slightly higher ahead of an EU summit to discuss a proposed €750 billion rescue fund. The FTSE 100 edged up 13 points (0.21%) at 6,263.84.

7am: Homeserve ‘solid’

Homeserve, the home repairs insurance company said it expects to deliver a solid performance in the current financial year.

Policy renewals and cancellation rates during the April-July lockdown have continued in line with trends, with no impact from the pandemic, it said in a statement ahead of its AGM.

Marketing campaigns to attract new customers have produced better results than expected, especially in the UK and North America.

Call traffic is at record highs at the eLocal division and Checkatrade had its largest number of consumer web visits in June at 2.76m, up from 1.74m a year earlier.

6am: Netflix shares fall on subscriber forecasts

Netflix expects subscriber growth to subside at a faster pace than Wall Street expected, sending its shares tumbling 9.5% in after-hours trading. 

The company, whose shows include the true crime documentary Tiger King (pictured), added 10.1 million streaming subscribers from April to June as the coronavirus forced people around the world to stay at home. 

That took the world’s dominant streaming service to nearly 193 million paying online customers. 

However, for July to September, it expects to add just 2.5 million against analysts’ expectations of 5.3 million.

Analysts said that investors are disappointed by the weak future guidance and see the initial boost from the pandemic coming to an end. 

Shares of Netflix, which ranked among the biggest gainers of the pandemic, fell to $477.15 in after-hours trading. 

1am: Aberdeen Harbour

Aberdeen Harbour remains a key to the regeneration of the north east economy as the region embraces new industries, says the board in its latest annual review.

Full story and figures here

Today’s agenda

EU leaders assemble in Brussels for the first time in months as they try for the second time to strike a deal on a €750 billion shared economic recovery plan

Today’s top Daily Business headlines

British Airways scraps entire fleet of 747 jumbo jet

US billionaire Kaiser snaps up Scots subsea firm WFS

State-owned debt manager plan to save struggling firms

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