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Wednesday Update

DB Live: Rolls’ nuclear plan; takeover rule change

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4.30pm: FTSE up for third session

Investors continued to buy into the vaccine story, pushing up stock markets for a third day. The FTSE 100 closed 85.25 points (1.35%) higher at 6,382.10, its highest for five months.

Property, airline, banking and utility stocks were some of the biggest gainers, with BA owner IAG, up 11.05p at 148.7p; Segro, up 58.8p at 930p; Ocado, up 138p at 2,302p; and Kingfisher, up 17.5p at 293.4p.

Paddy Power and FanDuel owner Flutter closed 640p higher at 13,430p after revealing a surge in customer numbers,

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil increased by 2.67% to $44.36.

Hinkley nuclear power station

11.45am: Rolls-Royce in nuclear jobs plan

Engine maker Rolls-Royce is leading a group of companies expecting to create 6,000 jobs in the construction of 16 mini nuclear power stations over the next five years.  

It is estimated that 34,000 further jobs could be created as components are made in factories across the Midlands and the north of England.

10am: Takeover rules to change

The UK government is to update its powers to block foreign takeovers of UK firms if they are seen to pose a threat to national security.

The National Security and Investment Bill will allow it to intervene where it decides there are unacceptable risks to the UK.

The new powers could halt foreign takeovers, even retrospectively.

8am: London opens higher

London’s FTSE 100 index continued its upward surge, rising almost 40 points at the open to trade at 6,336.63.

7am: Wetherspoon says Scots tiers ‘onerous’

JD Wetherspoon

JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin says the current Covid regulations are a “complete muddle” and the benefits “questionable”.

Mr Martin added: “For any pub or restaurant company trading in different parts of the UK, and for customers generally, the constantly changing national and local regulations, combined with geographical areas moving from one tier to another in the different jurisdictions, are baffling and confusing.

Pub groups want FM to ‘tweak tiers’: Full story here

Hospitality owners in plea for alcohol rule change

Heathrow

Heathrow airport reported an 82% drop in traffic in October, the eighth consecutive month of “catastrophic” decline, and warned that November is likely to be even worse.

It said long-haul and critical markets for trade suffered the worst declines due to the Government’s “debilitating” quarantine requirements.

The airport’s overall cargo volumes were down 23% compared to last year. North America the UK’s biggest export market has been hardest hit by the downturn.

“The lack of a testing regime has left British airports unable to compete with EU rivals, the refusal to offer English and Welsh airports business rates relief runs the risk of worsening an already challenging situation and the plans to end VAT-free shopping threatens to kick our industry when its down,” said the company.

CEO, John Holland-Kaye, added: “Aviation is the lifeblood of the UK’s economy, critical for exports of goods and services and imports of vaccines, as well as inbound tourism, students and foreign direct investment. 

“Lack of Government action is weakening our sector, making it harder for us to support the eventual economic recovery and help deliver the Prime Minister’s vision of a global Britain.”

Flutter Entertainment

Flutter, the gaming and betting group that includes Paddy Power and FanDuel, saw its average daily customer base soar by 41% during the third quarter. Group online revenue grew 33% as it focused on the return of sports.

Peter Jackson, chief executive, commented: “Flutter’s performance in the third quarter exceeded our expectations in both sports and gaming.”

BAE Systems

Defence group BAE Systems said underlying earnings per share are now expected to be slightly higher than previously guided with good operational performance and an expected lower tax rate offsetting the negative foreign exchange impact.

Fashion houses join VAT campaign

Some of the world’s luxury brands, including De Beers, Gucci and Hugo Boss, have today warned that the Treasury’s decision to abolish tax-free shopping for international visitors will cost the UK “billions of pounds of revenue”.

Full story here

Markets

The FTSE 100 is expected to pause for breath following a two-day surge fuelled by Covid vaccine hopes.

Spread-better IG expects the FTSE 100 to open down around 4 points after ending Tuesday’s session 110 points higher at 6.296.

New York began to rotate away from tech firms and towards value stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.9% higher while the S&P 500 fell 0.14% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 1.37%.

However, investors in Asia were more positive with Japan’s Nikkei 225 rising 1.67% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.2%.



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