Tuesday Update

DB Live: Stocks rebound; 6k Whitbread jobs at risk

4.45pm: London nudges ahead

The FTSE 100 stayed above water throughout the session as tighter coronavirus restrictions in the UK were not as harsh as first feared. The index closed 25.17 points (0.43%) higher at 5,829.46.

CMC Markets UK analyst David Madden said: “The restrictions have more to do with social distancing and health precautions, and the economic impact is unlikely to be as bad as initially thought.”

B&Q owner Kingfisher continued to make gains, ending the session nearly 10% higher at 290.9p.

Heading in the other direction was Premier Inn owner Whitbread, down 2.7%, after it said it is looking to axe up to 6,000 jobs.

10am: New Tory comms team

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has appointed former STV, Scottish Sun and Sunday Mail journalist Russell Findlay to head up a new comms team.

Full story here

9.45am: Wetherspoon to axe airport jobs

Pub chain JD Wetherspoon could cut up to 450 jobs at its sites at UK airports, including Edinburgh and Glasgow because of the large drop in passengers.

The company has written to 1,000 bar staff at six airports to inform them of the risk of redundancy. It also has pubs at Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted, and Birmingham.

9am: Macintosh to step down

Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer, Ken Macintosh, will stand down as an MSP at the end of this Scottish Parliament session. Full story here

8.30am: Architecture firm funding

Glasgow-based residential architecture start-up Hoko has secured funding to help the technology-enabled platform’s recruitment drive.

Full story here

8.15am: London bounces

The FTSE 100 was trading almost 30 points higher at 5,834 in line with forecast (see below) following four days of downturns.

8am: Scott hired for salmon role

Tavish Scott, the former Scottish Government minister, LibDem leader and Shetland MSP, has taken a key role in the salmon industry.

Full story here

7am: AG Barr hit

Soft drinks firm AG Barr said it had laid off workers in Forfar and taken a £10m impairment charge on its Strathmore brand and assets which have been significantly hit by the challenges in the hospitality sector.

Full story here

Whitbread warns on jobs

Premier Inn
Premier Inn at Lomondgate

Premier Inn owner Whitbread has warned it could axe up to 6,000 jobs – 18% of its workforce – as the coronavirus crisis continues to hit demand for hotel stays.

It said it expects a significant proportion of these redundancies to be achieved voluntarily.

The company added: “This is a regrettable but necessary step to ensure that we emerge from the crisis with a lower cost base, a more flexible operating model and a stronger more resilient business.”

Despite improvements, the hotel and restaurant chain said UK sales were 38.5% down in August.

Demand was strong in seaside and tourist locations in the UK, with hotels almost 80% full during August, but demand remained subdued across the rest of the hotel market, particularly in London and city areas as international tourists stayed home.

Across all its UK hotels, occupancy levels improved steadily after reopening, averaging 51% in August, but sales were still down 47.3%, compared to the year before.


Travel giant TUI said it continued to anticipate low single-digit hundreds million of cash outflow per month for the final quarter of the financial year after paying out more refunds to customers in August and September.

The company said its winter programme has been further reduced by 20% to around 40% of adjusted capacity reflecting the current uncertainty relating to travel restrictions.

Kingfisher hands back furlough cash

B&Q owner Kingfisher is to hand back £23m in UK furlough cash after a do-it-yourself boom prompted by coronavirus.

Second-quarter home improvement sales rose as more people worked from home and looked at fresh ways to use space during the pandemic, Kingfisher said.

It reported a “resilient” first half performance, with sales falling 1.1% at constant currencies to £5.9bn, reflecting the impact of Covid-19 in the first quarter.

This was partially offset by a “strong” recovery in the second quarter.

Adjusted pre-tax profit was ahead 23.1% year-on-year at £415m for the six months ended 31 July. It declared no interim dividend.

6.45am: London expected to bounce back

The FTSE 100 is expected to end four days of losses and see a 30-point bounce ahead of an announcement from Boris Johnson about new measures to try and curb the spread of a second wave of coronavirus in the UK.

Fresh pandemic fears and concerns about a delay in US stimulus measures saw further falls on markets overnight.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was down 0.5% while on Wall Street the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.84%, the S&P 500 lost 1.16%, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.13%.

Investors took a battering as warnings of more lockdowns hit confidence and wiped £51 billion off the value of top stocks in London.

The FTSE 100 year to date

The FTSE 100 remained deep in the red, closing 202.76 points (3.38%) lower at 5,804.29.

British Airways’ parent company IAG was down 12% to its lowest level since 2012, while there was a 10% loss for the jet engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce and a 9% tumble for the pub chain JD Wetherspoon.

Today’s agenda

Nicola Sturgeon will announce new measures to tackle a surge in cases of coronavirus (c.5pm)

The Prime Minister will address Westminster on the Covid crisis and will make a live TV announcement at 8pm

Full story here

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