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Factory output surges; Horta-Osorio heads to Credit Suisse

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4.30pm: London buoyant on Brexit talks, PMI data

The FTSE 100 closed at 6,384.73 +118.54 (1.89%) as investors remained optimistic about the chances of a Brexit deal being reached.

PMI data meanwhile showed British factories grew at their fastest pace in almost three years last month (see below) as they stockpiled raw materials and rushed to finish new work before new post-Brexit customs rules come into force on 1 January.

Housebuilders were among the main gainers.

10am: Manufacturing sector at 35-month high despite lockdown

  • Purchasing managers report that the manufacturing sector showed considerable resilience in November, despite the lockdown in England and restrictions on economic activity elsewhere.
  • Lessons have been learned in keeping manufacturing activity going from the previous lockdown – many factories have been adjusted to meet social distancing requirements so employees can still work.
  • Additionally, there is an appreciable lift to manufacturing activity coming from stockpiling and increased demand from the EU ahead of the ending of the UK-EU transition arrangement on 31 December.
  • The manufacturing PMI improved to a 35-month high of 55.6 in November 

Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to the EY ITEM Club, says: “The Government has stressed that it wants manufacturers to stay open during the lockdown and many factories have been adjusted to meet social distancing requirements so employees can still work.

“It is also evident that there was an appreciable lift to manufacturing activity in November coming from the stockpiling of critical inputs and increased demand from the EU ahead of the ending of the UK-EU transition arrangement on 31 December.

9.30am: Debenhams talks fail

Department store chain Debenhams is expected to close after JD Sports confirmed it was pulling out of a rescue deal and administrators were unable to find a buyer.

Full story here

8am: Market opens higher

The FTSE 100 opened almost 30 points higher at 6,295.74

Antonio Horta-Osorio Youtube

7am: Lloyds boss for Credit Suisse

Lloyds Banking Group’s outgoing chief executive António Horta-Osório will leave at the end of April and become the next chairman of Swiss bank Credit Suisse from 1 May.

Urs Rohnerwill step down from Switzerland’s second biggest bank as previously announced upon reaching the statutory term of 12 years, it said in a statement.

Mr Horta-Osorio will be succeeded at Lloyds by HSBC executive Charlie Nunn.

Iomart ‘resilient’ following Covid hit

Cloud computing firm Iomart posted a 29% fall in pre-tax profits from £8.4m to £6m for the half year to the end of September.

Full story here

Cairn company secretary change

Cairn Energy has announced that group company secretary, Duncan Wood is retiring from the company after 22 years. He is replaced with immediate effect by Anne McSherry, who has been with Cairn since 2009.

Scotgold pour

Scotgold Resources, the gold exploration and production company focused on Scotland, poured its first gold at the company’s Cononish Gold & Silver Mine yesterday and today said it looks forward to ramping up production at Cononish to design level early in the New Year and taking its place as Scotland’s first commercial gold mine.

CEO, Richard Gray, commented: “Our first gold pour is not only a significant milestone in the development of our Cononish Gold & Silver Project but a milestone on the road to a Scottish gold mining industry.  Today’s news is therefore a landmark event both for the Company and for Scotland.”  

Weir contract

Weir Group has won a £95m order to provide aftermarket components and service to the Iron Bridge magnetite Project in Western Australia.

The contract follows Weir’s success in winning a record £100m order for original equipment for the Iron Bridge project in 2019.

Markets

Oil: OPEC members failed to come to an agreement on delaying an easing in production cuts yesterday, and Reuters reported that the OPEC+ meeting that was scheduled for today will take place next Thursday, in the hope that members can come to some sort of agreement. Failure to come to a deal will be bearish for the market, says ING

Brent crude was down 26 cents, or 0.5% at $47.62 a barrel by 0550 GMT, after dropping more than 1% yesterday.

Equities: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei closed near a 29-1/2-year high, tracking gains in US stock futures over growing optimism that major drugmakers will roll out coronavirus vaccines before year-end. The Nikkei 225 index ended up 1.34%, near its highest level since April 1991.



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