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Brexit deal ‘by weekend’ as talks reach climax

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4.30pm: Market higher

The FTSE 100 closed 26.88 points higher at 6,490.27, a third consecutive days of gains for December as hopes rose of a Brexit deal by the end of the week.

10.15am: Bifab in administration

Engineering company BiFab has been placed into administration following the Scottish Government’s withdrawal of financial support.

Full story here

10am: Brexit deal hopes rise

Michel Barnier

A Brexit trade deal could be struck by the weekend after the two sides showed hints of compromise over fish quotas.

In an attempt to break the deadlock, Mr Barnier said Boris Johnson had lowered his demands by asking to get back only 60 per cent of the fish that EU boats currently catch in British waters, down from 80%.

European Union diplomats later said they hoped a Brexit trade deal could be agreed by Friday or at the weekend, and EU officials said negotiators were likely to review progress in the next two days.

… more follows

8.15am: London defies downgrade

Investors defied a projected slip in the market, driving the FTSE 100 up 10.4 points to 6,473.80 in early trade.

Shares in Edinburgh takeover target Nucleus were up 10p at 195p following yesterday’s 52.5p surge on confirmation of talks.

7am: Business rates repayment

Sainsbury's Local

Sainsbury’s said it will forgo £440 million business rates relief on its stores granted by the UK Government and the devolved administrations since March.

Full story here

AJ Bell sees good growth, divi lifted

Revenues at the investment platform were up 21% to £126.7m for the year ended 30 September, pre-tax profits rose 29% to £48.6m and assets under administration up 8% to £56.5bn against a 19% fall in the FTSE all share over the same period.

Total customers increased by a record 63,239, up 27% to 295,305 (FY19: 232,066)

Shareholders will be rewarded with a 28% dividend hike to of 4.66p, taking the total to 6.16p, and the company sees the uncertainty of the past nine months as a catalyst for more people to want to look at investing in their own future.

Andy Bell, chief executive, said: “This has been another year of strong growth.

“The long-term growth drivers of the platform market remain strong, with customers increasingly looking for good value, online solutions and we are well positioned to benefit from those trends.”

Markets

London is expected to open lower, pulling back from a rally in the previous two sessions.

IG says futures indicate the FTSE 100 index of large-caps to open 22.19 points lower, or 0.3%, at 6,441.20. The index closed up 78.66 points, or 1.2%, at 6,463.39 on Wednesday.



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