Daily Business Live: Thur
Aviva dividend pledge; SSE wind farm milestone
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4.30pm: Markets ease into weekend
Stock markets were left treading water for most of the day as the dust settled on the Spending Review, the US took a public holiday and the UK Government confirmed anticipated new lockdown measures in England.
The FTSE 100 closed 28.16 points (0.44%) lower at 6,362.93.
4.15pm: Hibs CEO quits
Leeann Dempster has resigned as chief executive of Hibernian FC.
2pm: Tied Pubs Bill
MSPs are due to debate stage one of the Tied Pubs Bill at 5pm. The bill aims to set up a pubs code and an adjudicator to protect publicans from selling only the beers of big brewers. It is expected to get parliament’s support.
1.30pm: Office crisis
A new report says a critical shortage of top grade office space in Glasgow means it will take only one “modest” letting to leave the city with nothing to offer potential tenants or investors.
9am: Markets take stock
The FTSE 100 was unmoved at 6,390 with gains in consumer non-cyclicals, healthcare and technology being offset by weakness in utilities, energy and real estate. Some big names are trading without the rights to their next dividend, including Imperial Brands and National Grid.
Germany’s Dax index nudged up 0.1% with real estate and tech stocks leading the way. The biggest riser was SAP, up 1.6%.
The pound slipped 0.1% against the US dollar to $1.3372 while Brent Crude oil fell 1.1% to $48.32 per barrel.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said:; “The UK stock market has taken a moment of reflection after all the whirlwind of the past few weeks where equities bounced back hard on vaccine hopes, a strong oil price and some relief with how the US Presidential transition might play out.”
8am: London slips
The FTSE 100 opened higher before falling into negative territory at the open ahead of the first full session after the Chancellor’s Spending Review. It was trading down 7.47 points at 6,383.62.
7am: Aviva ‘robust’
Aviva has declared a 7p per share interim dividend and a final decision is expected next March on a final 2020 dividend of 14p per share.
The company said its trading performance is robust and is financial position is strong with a capital surplus of £11.8 billion.
It is also reviewing its remuneration policy following criticism by Financial Conduct Authority.
In an update, chief executive Amanda Blanc said: “The first nine months have demonstrated Aviva’s ability to grow in core markets where we have attractive, long-term growth prospects.
“Bulk purchase annuities sales increased to £5 billion, which is a record for Aviva and commercial insurance premiums are up 9% across the UK, Canada and Ireland.”
Mitchells & Butlers
Pub and bar operator Mitchells & Butlers has revealed that 1,300 staff have been made redundant as the COVID-19 crisis pushed the company into loss.
SSE reaches Dogger Bank milestone
SSE Renewables, together with its 50:50 joint venture partner, Equinor, has reached financial close on the first two of three phases of Dogger Bank wind farm which will be the world’s biggest when complete in March 2026.
Each phase has a capacity of 1,200MW and will generate around 6,000GWh. In total, Dogger Bank will produce enough clean, renewable electricity to supply 5% of the UK’s demand, equivalent to powering six million UK homes.
The funding of the development of Dogger Bank A and B represents the largest ever offshore wind project financing anywhere in the world and SSE’s expected equity investment forms part of its £7.5 billion investment programme to March 2025, the renewables element of which will double its renewables output by 2025.
Total investment in the first two phases of the project will be around £6 billion and has already created hundreds of UK jobs, with more to come as project construction ramps up.
Alistair Philips-Davies, SSE chief executive , said: “We are proud to be leading on the construction and development of Dogger Bank Wind Farm, which has been 10 years in the making. We are putting our money where our mouth is on delivering net zero and reinforcing the UK’s position as a world leader.”
Mike Ashley target Mulberry announced an adjusted half year loss before tax of £1.9m (2019: £10.1m) before adjusting items of £0.5m (2019: nil).
The fashion accessories group said trading during the first three months of the period was more severely affected than that during the second three months.
Overall Group sales in the period were down 29% to £48.9m (2019: £68.9m), with sales in Q1 down 39% but sales in Q2 down 18%.
The FTSE 100 is expected to edge higher while the US takes a break for Thanksgiving.
Investors and Wall Street traders took cash out of the market ahead of today’s public holiday.
The Dow Jones closed 173 points lower, the S&P 500 was down 0.16%, whilst the Nasdaq rose 0.48%.
In Asia, the Nikkei was up 240 points or 0.91% whilst the Hang Seng imoved 0.23% higher and the Shanghai Composite was down slightly.