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EasyJet loss; Virgin Money CFO; Craneware, Aggreko updates

4.30pm: London closes on cautious note

Caution over the early effectiveness of a Covid vaccine continued to weigh on investors who also took profits from sharp rises over the past week. The FTSE 100 closed just under 60 points lower at 6,365.33.

3pm: Restrictions extended

Businesses in almost half of Scotland will be plunged into pre-Christmas uncertainty as a result of tough new restrictions to fight the coronavirus.

Full details here

9.30am: Start-up collaboration

Converge, the academic company creation programme, has forged a collaboration with and technology giant Cisco.

Full story here

8.30am: Markets temper vaccine rush

The FTSE 100 opened lower in line with overnight predictions , trading 26.81 points off at 6,394.48. The CAC 40 in Paris and the DAX 30 in Frankfurt were both flat as investors turn their attention back to rising coronavirus infections.

Many analysts are warning that markets still face a tough winter despite the positive news on vaccines.

“The positive response comes despite rising infections in the US and the risk of more lockdowns,” said Danske Bank chief analyst Jens Peter Sorensen. 

7am: EasyJet plunges

Edinburgh airport Easyjet

EasyJet has reported an annual pre-tax loss of £1.27 billion after seeing its operations reduced to a skeleton service.

Revenues plunged 53% to £3bn from £6.4bn a year earlier when it reported a £430 million profit.

On an underlying basis, the loss was £835m, within company guidance of £815m – £845m.

Chief executive Johan Lundgren said: “While we expect to fly no more than 20% of planned capacity for Q1 2021, maintaining our disciplined approach to cash generative flying over the winter, we retain the flexibility to rapidly ramp up when demand returns.

“We know our customers want to fly with us and underlying demand is strong, as evidenced by the 900% increase in sales in the days following the lifting of quarantine for the Canary Islands in October. We responded with agility adding 180,000 seats within 24 hours to harness the demand.”

The company has been burning £50 million a week during the busier summer months.

Mr Lundgren said the airline expects to fly no more than a fifth of its usual flights in the first quarter.

Virgin Money CFO

Virgin Money UK has appointed Clifford Abrahams as executive director and group chief financial officer from March.

Full story here

Craneware ahead

Health care billing firm Craneware said the first four months of this fiscal year saw a return to strong sales growth, considerably ahead of the equivalent period of the prior year.

In a statement ahead of its AGM, the Edinburgh-based firm said: “Results are ahead of management expectations for this stage in the year and, we expect revenues and adjusted EBITDA for the Interim period to 31 December 2020 to be ahead of the equivalent period in the prior year, building the foundation for a return to double-digit growth in the future.”

Aggreko revenue down

The temporary power generator Aggreko said underlying group revenue (excluding the impact of currency and pass-through fuel) for the nine months to the end of September was down 14% on last year, driven by the significant impact of the pandemic in the last two quarters and the lower oil price. Reported revenue was down 15%.

Markets

The FTSE 100 is heading for a bit of backtracking on Tuesday morning after making more gains on positive coronavirus vaccine news.

London’s index of blue chips has been called 25 points lower by spread-betters on the IG index.

The Japanese Nikkei 225 index ended up 0.4%. In China, the Shanghai Composite closed down 0.2%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong closed up 0.1%.

Wall Street traders drove the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a record close thanks to an injection of news about another vaccine.

The Dow fell just short of 30,000, surging by 470.63 points or 1.6% to 29,950.44, while the S&P 500 hit a new peak and closed 1.16% firmer. The Nasdaq Composite ended the session 0.8% stronger.

European equities also surged on the news. Both London and Paris climbed 1.7% while Frankfurt ended the day 0.7% higher. The FTSE 100 closed 104.90 (1.66%) higher at 6,421.29.

Full story here



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