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Trump threat to stimulus bill; Arcadia update awaited

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4.30pm: Pound up on Brexit hopes

Sterling rose amid speculation that a Brexit deal is imminent and could be announced before Christmas Day, or on the day itself.

Sterling was up 1% at about $1.35, and up 0.7% against the euro at 90.36.

It helped offset a downbeat warning on the spread of new strains of coronavirus which will see more areas of England in lockdown from Boxing Day, and the lorry delays at Dover.

The FTSE 100 closed 42.59 points (0.66%) higher at 6,495.75.

4pm: Clarks deal saves stores, jobs – and cuts rent

LionRock Capital will invest £100 million in the 195-year-old Clarks chain of shoe shops as part of a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).

The CVA will mean that none of Clarks’ 320 stores will have to close, and no jobs will be lost.

It also means that 60 of Clarks’ stores will pay no rent at all, while rent will be turnover-based at the remaining 260. Rent due will be based on how much customers spend at each store.

8.30am: Cairn surges

Shares in Cairn Energy surged to the top of the FTSE 250, rising 32% after the Edinburgh-based oil explorer won a damages claim from the government of India.

Full story here

8.15am: FTSE 100 lower

Investors were caught between a potential slippage in the US stimulus bill (see below) and reports of progress in the Brexit talks.

Trading in London got off to a quiet start, with the FTSE 100 initially sliding 22 points before clawing back some ground to trade about 9 points lower at 6,444.46.

Markets

Donald Trump

US president Donald Trump is threatening not to sign a long-awaited stimulus bill, unnerving investors.

S&P 500 futures were down half a percent by mid-morning in Asia and European and British equity futures fell by the same margin as the news offset reports that a Brexit deal could be struck today.

Mr Trump described the bill as “a disgrace” with too much foreign spending, adding that he wanted to increase “ridiculously low” $600 cash payments for individuals to $2000.

Market watchers will be encouraged by the easing of France’s ban on freight traffic crossing the Channel and signs of further progress in the Brexit talks.

However, the FTSE 100 is expected to open lower as traders contended with yet more uncertainty on both sides of the Atlantic on the last full trading day before Christmas.

Spread-better IG expects the FTSE 100 to open down 22 points., It ended yesterday’s session up nearly 37 points, or 0.57%, at 6,453.

Beeks board hire

Beeks Financial Cloud Group, the Glasgow-based cloud computing and connectivity provider for financial markets, hinted at an acquisitions strategy after appointing a non-executive director with M&A experience.

Full story here

Arcadia update

An update is due on the future of the collapsed fashion group Arcadia, which fell into administration a month ago.

Deloitte has received about 30 expressions of interest for the Topshop and Miss Selfridge owner.

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group and Next are among the bidders.

Australia-based City Chic Collective snapped up the group’s plus-sized brand Evans on Monday.



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