Tuesday Update

DB Live: Ted Baker ‘progress’; EU deal agreed; Collagen


4.45pm: London close

After peaking at 6,315.68, the FTSE 100 trimmed its gains to close just in positive territory at 6,269.73, up 8.21 points (0.13%).

1.30pm: LinkedIn cuts

Professional networking site LinkedIn is cutting about 960 jobs, or 6% of its global workforce.

The Microsoft-owned site said that the coronavirus pandemic is having a sustained impact on demand for its recruitment products, forcing its hand on layoffs.

Jobs will be cut across the sales and hiring divisions of the group globally.

8.40am: GVC facing tax probe

Shares in gambling company GVC, which owns Ladbrokes Coral, have tumbled by 8% after it told the City it is being probed by the UK tax authorities.

8.15am: London opens higher

London’s index of leading shares opened higher on the back of the EU recovery deal and Covid-19 vaccine hopes.

The FTSE 100 was 30 points (0.48%) higher at 6,291.53

8am: Marriott requires masks

Marriott International said facial masks must be worn in all public areas of its hotels. The company’s president and CEO, Arne Sorenson made the announcement today via a video message.

7am: Ted Baker sales fall by half

Ted Baker girl

Fashion retailer Ted Baker said that for the 11 weeks to 18 July, total retail sales fell 50%. Store revenue decreased 79%, with sales performance impacted by store closures globally.

Like-for-like store sales were down 52% against last year.

Online trading has remained “significantly ahead of expectations”, with the group continuing to benefit from consumer behaviour shifting to online.

E-commerce sales increased 35% and represented 69% of total retail sales (2019: 25%).

Chief executive Rachel Osborne said the company was making progress.

“Our customers are engaging with the brand and responding to our COVID19 promotional activity, as evidenced by our resilient trading over the past 11 weeks,” she said.

“Our performance is encouraging, but I caution that it is still early days, and we have a substantial amount of work to do over the next 12 months.

“However, the brand has an exciting future, and I am looking forward with cautious optimism that the initiatives currently underway across all areas of the business will bear fruit over the next 12 months.”

Frontier IP placing

Frontier IP, a specialist in commercialising intellectual property, has raised about £2.33m through the issue of shares at 55p each.

The share placing and retail offer via the PrimaryBid platform were “comfortably oversubscribed”, the company said.

The intellectual property investor, which announced the new issue yesterday, said it will use the funds raised to support the working capital needs of the business and to take on more staff.

Neil Crabb, the chief executive, and Mike Bourne, non-executive director, participated in the share offer, with the former acquiring 54,545 shares, lifting his stake to 5.43%. Bourne bought 55,000, raising his holding to 0.83%.

Anna Brown, Glasgow-based Partner at Addleshaw Goddard, led the team acting for Frontier IP.

Collagen Solutions contract

Glasgow-based stem cell developer Collagen Solutions said it is in “a strong position to deliver a successful financial year” after landing new contracts, according to chief executive Jamal Rushdy.

The regenerative medicines specialist now has orders or contracted development milestones for the 2021 financial year of £4.3m, or 108% of the sales in the last financial year.

6.50am: Market called higher on EU deal

The FTSE 100 is expected to rebound after European leaders reached agreement this morning on a €750bn pandemic recovery fund. Germany’s DAX index is tipped to rise by over 1%.

Talks among the 27 EU leaders began on Friday and despite initial resistance from the so-called frugal states of the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden and Denmark, agreement was reached following a final 5.15am session.

EC president Charles Michel said: “This is a good deal, a strong deal, the right deal for Europeans now. I believe this will be seen as a pivotal moment on Europe’s journey.”

However, unding for some EU projects has been cut, including the Horizons programme designed to boost innovation.

Overnight, Wall Street’s main indices finished higher, though the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up less than 0.1% while the Nasdaq Composite jumped 2.5% to another record close. The S&P 500 added 0.8%.

6.45am: Pay boost for public sector workers

Doctors, teachers, police officers and other public sector staff are in line for inflation-busting pay rises to recognise their efforts during the coronavirus crisis, reports PoliticsHome.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said he wanted to reward the “vital contribution” of public sector workers as he confirmed he was pressing ahead with the recommendations made by the Government’s public pay boards in full.

In England, school teachers will benefit from the biggest year-on-year pay rise of 3.1%, while doctors are dentists will see a 2.8% uplift — well above the rate of inflation at 0.6%.

Police officers, prison officers and those working for the National Crime Agency will benefit from a 2.5% pay rise, while armed forces personnel, the judiciary, senior civil servants and the senior military will see a 2%  rise.

The Treasury said awards for those whose pay year begins in April — including NHS staff and the armed forces — would be backdated.

Today’s top Daily Business headlines

Spain no longer on Scots travel quarantine list

RBS home working offer; vaccine boost; M&G bid

UK in a V-shaped recovery, claims Bank economist

Roslin Technologies backs insect food research

Grangemouth in sights of £90m government fund

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