Friday Update

DB Live: Aegean earthquake leaves 17 dead, 700 injured


10pm: Turkey and Greece bit by earthquake

At least 17 people are believed to have died and more than 700 left injured after a powerful earthquake destroyed about 20 buildings on the Turkish mainland and caused panic on the Greek islands.    

It measured 6.6-magnitude and was centred in the Aegean Sea at a depth of 10.3 miles.

The epicentre was eight miles from the Greek island of Samos.

A number of people are feared trapped under rubble and the two countries have agreed to work together on rescue attempts.

4.30pm: London tech stocks slip

The FTSE 100 recovered at the close to end a dismal week just 4.48 points lower at 5,577.27.

Tech stocks had dragged the index under water in line with the US sell-off, with Ocado, Just Eat, Avast and tech-heavy investment fund Scottish Mortgage among them.

Market analyst Neil Wilson at said: “Big tech reported earnings that showed its resilience to the virus but also betrayed just how richly priced these stocks are in the wake of the pandemic.”

Top riser on the day was NatWest (RBS) after reporting on an improved third quarter. Its shares closed 6.95p higher (5.93%) at 124.13p.

1.30pm: Face masks in school

Parents have been advised to wear masks when dropping off or picking up their children at school in levels 3 and 4 areas under new guidelines coming into effect on Monday.

Senior pupils and their teachers are also advised to wear face coverings in classrooms, while staff are advised to wear face coverings in all schools where social distancing is difficult.

1pm: Labour calls for BiFab inquiry

The Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee should instigate an inquiry into the handling of a £30 million EDF North Sea contract offered to the BiFab fabrication yards, Scottish Labour MSP Alex Rowley has demanded.

Former Advocate General for Scotland Lord Davidson QC this week intervened to dispute the Scottish Government’s assertion that assisting BiFab would breach EU state aid rules.

Following yesterday afternoon’s summit over the future of the firm, joint trade union leaders have written to the Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop urging transparency over legal advice which led the Scottish Government to withdraw financial guarantees to support the manufacture of eight turbine jackets for the Neart na Gaiothe (NnG) offshore wind project. 

turnberry vid clip

Noon: Data breach fine for Marriott

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined hotel group Marriott International £18.4 million for breaching the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that affected the systems of its Starwood hotels group.

Starwood hotels include Trump Turnberry in Ayrshire (pictured), London’s Park Lane Sheraton Grand, Westbury Mayfair and Le Meridien Piccadilly.

Full story here


11am: Eat Out scheme contributed to new Covid wave – study

The Chancellor’s “Eat out to help out” discount scheme to boost spending at restaurants, cafes and pubs over the summer contributed to a second wave of infections, according to a new study.

Between 8% and 17% of newly detected infection clusters could be linked to the scheme during the period of the offer, according to the study by the University of Warwick.

Areas where there was a high uptake of the scheme saw an increase in new infections about a week after it started, the study found, while those same areas saw a decline in new infections a week after the discount offer finished.

The Treasury disputed the findings. A spokesman said: “Many other European counterparts have experienced an uptick in cases – irrespective of whether similar measures for the hospitality industry have been introduced.”

However, earlier this month Prime Minister Boris Johnson conceded that it may have had an impact on infections, though he defended it for helping to protect millions of jobs in the hospitality industry.

Mobile bank

9am: NatWest RBS back in profit

NatWest RBS has reported a return to profit for the third quarter as chief executive Alison Rose hinted at the return of the dividend and hailed the resilience of the underlying business and the strength of its balance sheet.

Operating profit before tax came in at £355 million compared to a loss of £8m in Q3 2019.

Full story, key figures and market reaction here

8.15am: London calm ahead of big weekend

The FTSE 100 remained broadly stable at the open, dipping just 17 points to 5,564 as traders look ahead to next week’s US presidential election and prepare for this weekend’s winding down of the furlough scheme and new Covid restrictions.

7am: BA owner reports loss

International Consolidated Airlines Group said its full loss for the third quarter was €1.9bn as it continued to axe staff at British Airways and Aer Lingus due to a lack of international travel amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The carrier revealed a full statutory post-tax loss of €5.6bn for the nine months to 30 September.

Agreements to make 10,000 British Airways and Aer Lingus staff redundant have now been reached with most employee groups at British Airways, the company said, at a cost of €275m in the quarter.

For sale, sold, homes, housing, property

House price growth

UK house price growth hit a five-year high in October, despite the wider economy losing steam.

The average property sold for £227,826 in October, up 5.8% year-on-year in the biggest leap since January 2015.

Prices were up 0.8% month-on-month, according to mortgage lending figures from Nationwide.


Asian markets remained on alert ahead of the US presidential election and fears that the global economic downturn will persist.

Japan’s Nikkei slipped 0.8% despite Wall Street reversing recent falls. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 0.52%, the S&P 500 gained 1.19% and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.64%.

US stock markets were boosted by strong quarterly reports from tech giants and data showing the US economy grew at a historic annualised pace of 33.1% in the third quarter.

Google parent Alphabet,, and Facebook all beat analyst estimates for quarterly revenue, with Amazon reporting a second straight quarter of record profits.

Bite out of Apple

The late launch of new 5G phones caused Apple’s customers to delay buying new devices, leading the company to report the steepest quarterly drop in iPhone sales in two years.

Apple fell over 5% at one point in after-hours trade on Wall Street, wiping $100 billion from its stock market value. 

Facebook rises despite boycott

Social network Facebook’s profit jumped in the recently-ended quarter as it benefitted from a resurgent online ad market despite a boycott, the company reported.

Profit jumped 29% to $7.8 billion in the quarter on an increase in revenue to $21.2 billion.

Today’s top Daily Business headlines

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Calls for talks with Sturgeon as hospitality anger grows

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