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Thursday Update

DB Live: Market turns on tech fall; Amazon adds 7k jobs

7.50pm Portugal added to quarantine list

Travellers arriving into Scotland from Portugal and French Polynesia must go into quarantine.

Travellers into England do not have to quarantine.

Full story here

4.45pm: London spooked by tech sell-off

London Stock Exchange

The FTSE 100 index turned lower as the tech stock sell-off in the US spooked traders.

Britain’s blue-chip benchmark closed the day down around 90 points, or 1.52%, at 5,850, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 plunged over 223 points at 17,480.

Melrose Industries rallied 12.59% after saying it planned big job cuts at its GKN Aerospace business as the industrial turnaround company reported a first-half loss of £560m.

Engine maker Rolls-Royce gained 5.7% after winning a contract worth many millions of euros to provide the neutron flux monitoring system for two nuclear reactors under construction in China.

Among the fallers, Admiral was down 4.21%, BHP lost 5.82% and Antofagasta dropped 3.96% as their stock went ex-dividend, while retailer Next was knocked 4.41% lower by a downgrade to ‘underweight’ at Morgan Stanley.

On Wall Street, stocks took a steep dive, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling by more than 700 points mid-morning. The S&P 500 index tumbled by 3.5% and the Nasdaq composite index by more than 5%.

Apple marked its worst day since March, with shares down by more than 5%. Amazon, Salesforce and Microsoft all saw declines in the 3-5% range.

1.15pm: Radar work for Edinburgh

A £317m contract to produce radars for Royal Air Force fighter jets will secure 300 jobs in Edinburgh.

Full story here

1pm: Bellrock signed up by GCHQ

Scottish data science firm Bellrock Technology is one of just 10 UK startups selected to join intelligence agency GCHQ’s  mentoring programme.

Full story here

11.40am: No offer for Capita

Responding to media speculation, the board of Capita said it has not received an offer from CVC Partners.

11.30am: Amazon creates jobs

Amazon parcels - Amazon website

Retail giant Amazon has said it will create a further 7,000 jobs across its UK sites this year as more people shop online.

The company has already added 3,000 roles this year and this latest recruitment drive will take its total permanent UK workforce to more than 40,000.

Amazon said the jobs will pay a minimum of £9.50 an hour. It is also recruiting 20,000 temporary posts for the festive period.

The company is recruiting at more than 50 sites, with the focus on three new fulfilment centres in England. Many of the jobs will be in engineering, human resources, IT, health and safety, and finance.

8.15am: London opens higher

Traders maintained yesterday’s upward trajectory and the FTSE 100 is once again testing the 6,000 threshold. It rose 48 points (0.8%) early in the session to 5,989.

The FTSE 250 of mid cap companies also rose, and was 0.5% higher.

The rise capped a strong start to trading across Europe, with Germany’s DAX up more than 2% and France’s CAC 40 just under 2%.

8am: SSE fined

SSE

Perth-based energy firm SSE has been hit with a £2.1 million fine from Ofgem as the first company in Europe penalised by the energy watchdog for failing to publish inside information about the wholesale energy market.

Martin Pibworth, SSE’s Energy Director, said:  “SSE takes its market disclosures extremely seriously and acted in good faith, publishing details of the ‘Black Start’ contract for Fiddlers Ferry power station once signed, in line with our interpretation of the REMIT regulations at the time. 

“We subsequently understood that Ofgem’s interpretation required disclosure to the market at an earlier stage. We admit that our approach was not in line with this requirement.  

“SSE did not benefit from disclosing only once the contract was signed and remains committed to clear and transparent rules for all market participants. We will be pressing regulatory authorities for additional guidance for market participants going forward.”

7am: Enquest ‘performing well’

Kraken oil field

North Sea oil explorer Enquest said lower prices caused revenue and profit to fall but it continues to perform well in challenging conditions.

Full story here

Revolution Bars

Trading in the period since Revolution Bars reopened has been ahead of the board’s expectations, in part as a result of the Eat Out To Help Out scheme. 

Comparable venue sales in the 8 weeks to 29 August were 72.5% of last year. In the first four weeks of the period (to 1 August) comparable venue sales were 60% of last year but in the last four weeks (to 29 August), during which time the EOTHO scheme has been operating, comparable venue sales were 77.5% of last year. 

EOTHO has been “a big success” in the last four weeks driving Monday to Wednesday comparable* venue sales to 188.4% of last year. 

Hut Group confirms IPO

E-commerce retailer Hut Group has confirmed the terms of its IPO, valuing the company at £4.5 billion and raising gross proceeds of about £920 million. It will be the biggest listing of a British company since 2013.

The Hut Group was set up in 2004 and has since grown it into a giant of Britain’s digital economy employing 7000 people.

The offer will be comprised of new shares and existing shares, which are being sold by existing shareholders.

Watches of Switzerland chairman stepping down

Dennis Millard, chairman of Watches of Switzerland Group, which floated last year, will not seek re-election at the AGM on 14 October and is expected to be replaced on an interim basis by Tea Colaianni, senior independent director.

Consultancy Spencer Stuart has begun the search for a permanent successor to Mr Millard.

Brian Duffy, chief executive, said: “I would like to thank Dennis for his direction and guidance as our group transitioned into public ownership.

“Both the IPO and the demands of listed company status were new to me and my team and Dennis’s counsel and advice, delivered with a firm hand and a fair degree of charm, were invaluable.”

Markets

Wall Street ended sharply higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 1.6%, S&P 500 1.5% higher and the Nasdaq Composite up 1%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq clocked up yet more record highs.

The Trump administration has urged US states to prepare to distribute a potential Covid-19 vaccine by 1 November in the latest sign of the accelerating race to deliver a vaccine by year’s end and before the Presidential election.

Today’s top Daily Business headlines

Aviation ‘facing demise like coal in the 1980s’

One in four hospitality firms at risk if 2008 crash repeated

Self-employed fear paying for support they didn’t get

Johnson offers hope for Alexander Dennis workers



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