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Friday Update

DB Live: GDP rises 6.6%; Heathrow traffic plunges

6.30pm: Jack attacks Sturgeon

Scotland Secretary Alister Jack has accused First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of making “false” and “regrettable” claims about Westminster’s plans to create an internal market for the UK.

Full story here

4.45pm: London market

The FTSE 100 held on to small gains during the session and closed 28.77 points (0.48%) higher at 6,032.09.

Traders were encouraged by a report from economic think tank NIESR estimating the UK will emerge from recession at the end of this quarter.

2.45pm: Markets positive

Wall Street opened the final session of the week on a positive note with all three main indices higher.

In the early minutes of trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.44% while the S&P 500 climbed 0.39% and the Nasdaq rose 0.25%.

12.30pm: Sturgeon quizzed on BBC switch-off

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says the decision by the BBC to switch off live coverage of her daily briefings is a “matter for the BBC”, but makes the point that as a public service broadcaster it reaches people in the community who may not be familiar with the internet, or may suffer from a disability.

She insists she has not used them to push political points, but admits she is not infallible.

Full story here

11.30am: UK strikes trade deal with Japan

Britain has secured a post-Brexit trade deal with Japan, its most significant trading agreement since leaving the EU.

Full story here

8.45am: Ford for Deloitte role

Big four accountant Deloitte has announced that Scottish businesswoman Baroness Margaret Ford of Cunninghame will over see changes to its audit governance structure. It has also announced a new managing partner.

Full story here

8.30am: London looks for direction

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was up 22.20 points, or 0.4%, at 6,025.52, although investors were looking for direction amid uncertainty over the Brexit talks and another plunge in US tech stocks (see below).

The mid-cap FTSE 250 index up 9.05 points, or 0.1%. The AIM All-Share index was down 0.1%.

7am: GDP up in July

Melrose Industries

UK GDP grew by 6.6% in July as parts of the economy reopened from the lockdown.

It is the third month in a row that the economy has expanded. The Office for National Statistics said that the UK “has still only recovered just over half of the lost output caused by the coronavirus”.

GDP is now 18.6% higher than its lowest ebb in April but the UK’s economy is still 11.7% smaller than it was in February.

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist, said the prospect of a second wave is restraining consumer and business confidence, and firms continue to face cash flow difficulties.

“With government support schemes coming to an end and renewed uncertainty over Brexit, clearly the road back to ‘normal’ is going to be a rocky one. 

“A successor to the Job Retention Scheme and a deal with the EU are essential foundations for a near-term economic recovery. Learning the lessons from local lockdowns will also help manage any second wave of Covid, and get growth onto a more sustainable footing.”

British Chambers of Commerce head of economics Suren Thiru said: “With many firms continuing to face an unprecedented cash crisis and unemployment likely to surge as the support schemes wind down, there remains little prospect of a sustained resurgence unless substantial action is taken.   

“To protect jobs and livelihoods, the government should consider extending and adapting the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to ensure businesses are supported sustainably over a longer period, as well as introducing a more significant package of support for firms placed under local restrictions.”  

Heathrow traffic plunges

Heathrow Airport said passenger numbers in August plummeted by 81.5% compared to the same month last year.

North American passenger numbers were down 95%.

It also repeated its call for the UK government to introduce testing at airports as an alternative to the 14-day quarantine rule. 

Markets

Wall Street ended in the red, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ending down 1.5% and S&P 500 down 1.8%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite closed 2.0% lower.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 index is up 0.6%. In China, the Shanghai Composite is up 0.4%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong is up 0.7%.

Today’s top Daily Business headlines

Scot becomes first woman to head a Wall Street bank

MPs call for ‘targeted extension’ to furlough

Reopening of offices and events venues delayed

Hungary on quarantine list, St Mirren suffer second case



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