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Friday Update

DB Live: JD Sports Footasylum boost; Qashqai for UK


4.45pm: Hays chief dies

The founder of Hays Travel John Hays has died after collapsing at his head office in Sunderland.

Full story here

4.30pm: JD Sports’ Footasylum deal ‘back on’

JD Sports’ received a late boost after the Competition and Markets Authority’s decision to block its acquisition of Footasylum was quashed.

The Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) today overruled the watchdog’s decision. It is only the second time since the CMA was formed that any of its judgements have been overturned.

London closes lower

The FTSE 100 remained under water all day despite Wall Street rising, but recovered from a low of 6280 to close 22.55 points (0.36%) lower at 6,316.39.

3pm: Qashqai to be built in UK

Nissan’s new hybrid Qashqai model (prototype pictured) will be built at its Sunderland plant, easing concerns over the company’s post-Brexit commitment to the UK.

The third-generation of the compact SUV, which was first launched in 2006, will go on sale next year.

Nissan employs 7,000 at the Wearside factory where it has operated since 1986.

2.45pm: Covid test firm shares rise

Shares in Covid testing firms rebounded following investor concerns that saw millions wiped off market values.

Synairgen shares surged after data from trials of its inhaled Covid-19 treatment, SNG001, published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, showed positive results in hospitalised patients.

SNG001 – Synairgen’s inhaled formulation of interferon beta-1a – was shown to be well tolerated and patients who received the drug had greater odds of improvement and recovered more rapidly, the company said.

Synairgen shares were up 26% at 127p.

Shares in Scottish firm Omega Diagnostics, which is part of a consortium behind a new testing kit, also rose, up 17% at 56p. The shares fell yesterday following a report doubting the accuracy of its tests, a claim the consortium and the Department of Health and Social Care rejected.

Wall Street opened on the front foot as market sentiment continued to be positive despite rising coronavirus infections across the world.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped more than 200 points, up 0.66%, while the S&P 500 rose 0.69% and the Nasdaq climbed 0.63% as tech stocks won their way back into favour.

10am: Markets cool on vaccine

The FTSE 100 has taken its cue from falls in the US and Asia overnight to open 0.7% lower before recovering.

“After the vaccine-infused euphoria at the start of the week a dose of reality seems to have been administered to the market,” says AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.

“Clearly the Covid crisis is not at an end despite the positive news announced by Pfizer and counterparts in Russia – perhaps it would be more accurate to paraphrase Churchill and say we are at ‘the end of the beginning’ of the pandemic.” 

FTSE 100 today

Markets also noted US Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell’s call to US lawmakers to get on with approving a package of fiscal stimulus.

“Given the political backdrop of a disputed election outcome the chances of anything being signed off in the final quarter of the year seem to be slim at best,” said Mould.

Oil prices were also on the back foot, amid a warning that demand will not recover until well into next year.

“Still, it is worth keeping the profit taking of the last two days in perspective. Investors’ perspective on the outlook has definitely been shifted in a positive direction by the vaccine breakthroughs and there is the promise of more news in this area in the weeks to come.”

7am: Galliford Try

Construction group Galliford Try said it is performing well, in line with the board’s expectations, with an excellent first half year average month end cash position towards the upper end of previous guidance of £125m-£145m.  

The board expects the group to return to profitability in the first half of this financial year and a resumption of dividend with the interim results.

“Our strategy and sector focus mean that the Group is positioned to emerge strongly from the pandemic, supporting the Government’s planned investment in infrastructure and economic recovery. 

“We welcome the Government’s support for the construction sector continuing to operate.”

It said it is encouraged by the pipeline of new opportunities across key sectors. These include the £60m Winchburgh Schools project in West Lothian for West Lothian Council.


Spread betting firm CMC Markets expects the FTSE 100 index to open around 59 points lower at 6,280, having shed 43.16 points on Thursday.

Japan’s Nikkei ended 0.53% lower this morning, snapping eight consecutive sessions of gains, as investor sentiment was knocked by concerns around new cases of the coronavirus both at home and abroad.

Wall Street saw a sell-off as soaring COVID-19 infections raised the probability of a new round of economic shutdowns, and investors grappled with the realisation that any potential vaccine remains months away from coming to market.

Those stocks which rallied on Monday and Tuesday on the back of Pfizer’s news on its vaccine suffered the steepest declines.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 317.46 points, or 1.08%, the S&P 500 lost 35.65 points, or 1.00% and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 76.84 points, or 0.65%.

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