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Frasers mulls Mulberry bid; Nationwide ‘robust’; Sage

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4.30pm: London closes marginally higher

The FTSE 100 closed up 17.1 points at 6,351.45, as US markets open in the red, giving little incentive for UK traders to chase share prices higher.

8.15am: London higher

The FTSE 100 index was trading nearly 12 points higher at 6,346.29.

Defence contractor BAE Systems led the risers with a 3.5% gain following the latest boost to military spending.

7am: Sage lifted by cloud

Businesses moving their operations to the cloud helped Sage Group which upped its dividend as it reported stronger than expected growth for the past year.

The developer of accounting and HR software for small and medium sized business, reported £1.77bn of underlying revenue in the 12 months to end-September, up 3.7% on last year. Organic operating profit was down 3.7% to £391m.

A final dividend of 11.32p was declared, resulting in the full-year dividend being lifted 2% to 17.25p.

Frasers in offer period for Mulberry

Mulberry

Mike Ashley’s Frasers group is now in a 28 day “put up or shut up” period when it must decide whether to make an offer for high street fashion accessories chain Mulberry.

Frasers now holds interest in 36.82% of Mulberry’s shares and contracts for differences relating to further stock.

A dispensation granted to Frasers by the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers means Frasers is not obliged to make a mandatory cash offer, despite being over the 29.9% ruling.

Government borrowing, retail sales

Government borrowing rose to £22.3 billion in October as the UK continued heavy spending to support the economy during the coronavirus pandemic.

The figure, £10.8bn more than for the same month last year, is the highest October borrowing total since 1993.

UK retail sales volumes rose by 1.2% between September and October, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It said it was the sixth month in a row that sales had risen.

Nationwide robust

Nationwide Building Society reported robust half-year profits despite a £139 million provision for loans that may not be repaid due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The lender reported a 17% rise in pretax profit of £361m for the six months to September.

Britain’s second-largest provider of home loans said it was boosted by strong demand for buy to let mortgages, although its net lending over the period dropped to £1.6 billion, nearly half of the previous year’s £3bn.

Parkmead eyes wind farm

Oil and gas minnow Parkmead is eyeing a potential large wind farm project on a part of the group’s onshore acreage as it looks to broaden its energy base.

Full story here

Markets

The FTSE 100 index looked set for a modest 15 point rise, taking its lead from Wall Street which staged a modest rally yesterday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 45 points higher while the S&P 500 advanced 14 points.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 88 points but Japan’s Nikkei 225 was down 133 points. 



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