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Manufacturing, mortgages, FTSE 100 hit new highs
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4.30pm: FTSE soars on vaccine hopes
The FTSE 100 closed 111.36 point or 1.72% higher at 6,571.88 after peaking at 6662.66 as vaccine prospects outweighed concern over another lockdown.
2.20pm: Scotland in lockdown
Scotland is to be placed into a stay-at-home lockdown for the month of January similar to the restriction which was imposed last March.
11.10am: Mortgages at new high
Mortgage approvals for house purchases across the UK reached a 13-year high of 104,969 in November, the highest since August 2007.
10.20am: Manufacturing rises on Brexit stockpiling
UK manufacturing activity is at a 37-month high, according to official data for December.
The purchasing managers survey pointed to further strengthening due to stockpiling ahead of the UK-EU transition period ending on 31 December. However, the EY Item Club says this boost to manufacturing activity now looks set to reverse.
Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the EY ITEM Club, says: “The manufacturing sector has clearly been less affected that many other areas of the UK economy by restrictions on activity.
“The Government stressed that it wanted manufacturers to stay open during the lockdown and during the restrictions on activity thereafter, and lessons have been learned in keeping activity going from the previous lockdown.
“With restrictions now in place in most areas of the UK, the EY ITEM Club expects the economy will have a challenging start to 2021 and will likely see modest contraction in the first quarter. This would result in a double dip recession.”
10am: Munro quits Aviva
Aviva Investors chief executive Euan Munro, a former star fund manager at Standard Life, is leaving the firm for a new role outside the group.
8.50am: Lomond merges
Lomond Capital, the owner of leading Scottish lettings & estate agents Braemore and Stonehouse, is to merge with Yorkshire firm Linley & Simpson to create a new national lettings and estate agency group.
8am: London opens strongly
On the London stock market’s first day of trading since the UK left the EU, the FTSE 100 opened 103.58 points (1.6%) higher at 6,564.10 with investors optimistic that vaccine rollouts in 2021 could spell an end to lockdown measures, despite warnings that there could be more lockdowns.
Ladbrokes owner Entain was top riser, surging 26.2% after confirming it has received a proposed £8.1bn offer from US casino operator MGM Resorts (see below).
7am: Wolseley sale
Ferguson is selling its plumbing supplies division Wolseley UK in a £308 million deal to private investment firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.
Hipgnosis buys catalogue
Hipgnosis Songs Fund has acquired the music catalogue of Jimmy Iovine, a record producer in the 70’s and 80’s.
Ladbrokes receives offer
Ladbrokes, the gambling chain, has confirmed that it has received a possible offer of £8.1 billion bid from US casino giant MGM Resorts.