Wednesday Update

DB Live: Sterling rises on EU talks; ASOS up, but cautious


4.30pm: FTSE lower

Traders were encouraged by hints of some progress in the Brexit talks. Sterling climbed nearly 1%, forcing the FTSE 100 lower to close at 5,935.06, down 34.65 (0.58%)

12.20pm: Avoid Blackpool, says FM

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urges Scots, including Old Firm fans, not to travel to traditional autumn destinations such as Blackpool this weekend.

Full story here

Noon: Market dips on EU talks

After rising just above the 6,000 threshold in early trade, the FTSE 100 was marginally back in negative territory at 5,958.73, down 10.98 points (0.18%) amid scepticism over the Brexit talks.

Brussels representatives are expected to say progress is “still not sufficient” to reach an agreement, according to Reuters.

11.30am: Battery power merger

Two Scottish firms have announced a merger to help advance local battery-powered generation in such places as retail parks and company garages.

Full story here

11am: Northern Ireland circuit break

Northern Ireland will close its pubs for a month from Friday and shut schools for a fortnight from next week under a circuit-breaker lockdown, First Minister Arlene Foster announced today.

Full story here

9.30am: Three for Tech Nation

Tech Nation, the growth platform for tech companies and leaders, announced that three Scottish companies will be among the 32 companies selected to join the Applied AI Growth programme.

Full story here

7.30am: Tesco acquires Ageas stake

Tesco Bank has acquired Ageas’s stake in Tesco Underwriting, confirming its interest reported by Daily Business last November.

The investment will enable Tesco Bank to create an end-to-end insurance business to help Tesco shoppers manage their money.

Full story here

7am: ASOS sees leap in profit

Online fashion retailer ASOS said it had made a “solid” start to the new financial year but was “retaining caution” on the outlook for consumer demand whilst economic prospects and lifestyles of 20-somethings remain disrupted.

It reported a fourfold rise in full-year profit for the year to 31 August as it proved a beneficiary of the COVID-19 restrictions.

Pretax profit came in at £142.1 million on a 19% rise in sales to £3.26 billion.

Nick Beighton, CEO, said: “Whilst life for our 20-something customers is unlikely to return to normal for quite some time, ASOS will continue to engage, respond and adapt.”

Barratt sees strong demand

House builder Barratt said it is seeing continuing strong customer demand across the country.

In a trading update for the period 1 July to 11 October it said total forward sales (including JVs) as at 11 October were 15,135 homes (13 October 2019: 12,963 homes) at a value of £3,647.6m (13 October 2019: £3,070.2m).

Devro unveils CFO

Rohan Cummings will join the board of Scotland-based meat casings company Devro as executive Director and chief financial officer on 1 December.

Full story here


Spread betters expect the FTSE 100 index to open between 15 to 23 points higher after closing down 31.67 points, or 0.5%, at 5,969.71 on Tuesday.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index is up 0.1% while in China, the Shanghai Composite is down 0.7%. The Hang Seng index Hong Kong was trading 0.3% lower after trading resumed following a typhoon on Tuesday.

Wall Street’s three key indexes ended the session lower on frustration over stimulus delays. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.6%, S&P 500 0.6% and Nasdaq Composite 0.1%.

Today’s agenda

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hold talks with EU chief Ursula von der Leyen.

EIE20, the investor pitching event, takes place virtually

Apple launches the iPhone 12

Today’s top Daily Business headlines

Starmer and Tory MP attack PM’s Covid plan

Eighth year of growth at Gillespie Macandrew

Funding for Subway ‘not enough to halt cutbacks’

Walker steps out of papers to seek election for SNP

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