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Ocado boosted by pandemic; Bellway demand ‘robust’

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4.30pm: London close

The FTSE 100 closed just 8.03 points higher at 6,531.56.

2pm: Storage firms hopes to raise £300m

Aberdeen-based Carbon Neutral Energy (CNE) hopes to raise £300 million and create 200 jobs in Scotland over the next five years.

The hybrid power solutions company has invested heavily in technology to meet the growing challenge of storing and using electricity produced from renewable sources.

It was formed last year by energy industry veteran Mark Patterson and his two sons Harry and Philip.

11.45am: Freeport support

An offshore energy supplier has joined the bid to create a freeport in the Cromarty Firth.

Full story here

11.30am: Nicol to leave Thorntons

Craig Nicol is to stand down after 10 years as managing partner at law firm Thorntons.

Full story here

9am: London edges higher

After an initial fall the FTSE 100 was back in positive territory, up 8.19 points at 6,531.72.

Ocado-van-Percy-Pig

7am: Ocado earnings rise

Online grocery platform Ocado reported a 68.8% rise in core earnings as the coronavirus pandemic drove demand for home deliveries.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose to £73.1 million in the year to 29 November from £43.3 million in 2018-19.

Group revenue rose 32.7% to £2.33 billion, with revenue from the retail business, a joint venture with Marks & Spencer, up 35% to £2.19bn.

Ocado plans to open new UK warehouses this year which will provide 40% more capacity.

Nucleus acquired

David Ferguson

Edinburgh based financial wrap platform Nucleus is being acquired by James Hay Holdings in a recommended deal valuing the company at £144.6m.

It will create an independent adviser platform with about £45bn of assets under administration. 

Full story here

Bellway ‘robust’

House builder Bellway posted record first half volume output, with the completion of 5,656 new homes (2020 – 5,321) in the six months to 31 january, a rise of 6.3%. 

It reported strong underlying demand, with a 3.3% increase in the private reservation rate to 156 per week (2020 – 151), building on last year’s robust first half trading performance. 

Jason Honeyman, chief executive, said the housing market remains robust, supported by good affordability, low interest rates and the temporary stamp duty holiday.

The end of the stamp duty holiday and the changes in the Help-to-Buy rules will make it more difficult for some customers to achieve the necessary deposit requirements to purchase a new home, he said.

Housing revenue has risen by more than 12% to about £1.7 billion. 

Markets

The Dow Jones secured its longest daily winning streak since August as traders grew confident about Covid-19 stimulus.

The index closed 237.52 points higher (0.76%), while the S&P 500 was 0.74% firmer and the Nasdaq Composite saw out the session 0.95% stronger.

London closed higher on hopes of a substantial US financial aid package and the rising oil price. The FTSE 100 closed 34.20 points, or 0.5%, higher at 6,523.53. 



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