Daily Business Live
Iomart invests in speed; Capita to restructure; retail data
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4.30pm: Blue chips lower
Traders marked the FTSE 100 41 points lower at 6,762 as investor attention focused on Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell’s comments late. He is due to announce the Central Bank’s interest rate decision, though no change to policy is expected.
8.30am: Traders await Fed view
The FTSE 100 was 20 points or 0.3% lower in early trading, as traders look ahead to the US Federal Reserve meeting later.
BT Group is the biggest riser, up 4.6p or 3.21% at 147.8p after its mobile business EE won 5G spectrum in the latest auction.
7am: Iomart invests in speed
Iomart, the cloud computing company, has invested nearly £2 million in next generation technology that will reduce the chance of bandwidth bottlenecks, enabling content such as on-demand video, voice and cloud services to travel along the optical fibre at speed.
The core routing technology from Cisco will provide 100GB capacity on its network with the ability to scale to 400GB. As a result, iomart customers will benefit from faster, even more reliable connections to support their data and applications.
Capacity will increase from 10GB to 100GB through two of the most interconnected peering facilities in Europe, Telehouse London and Equinix in Slough, and through iomart’s largest data centre in Maidenhead.
The investment follows a noticeable increase generally in internet traffic due to COVID-19.
Reece Donovan, CEO (pictured), said: “This is a significant investment that supports our growth strategy and underlines our commitment to provide businesses with the services they need to support their future operations.”
Outsourcer Capita unveiled a plan to reorganise its business into three divisions and raise £700 million from selling non-core assets as it seeks to accelerate a turnaround.
Capita will have a public service arm and a separate blue-chip division with the non-core businesses deposited into a third arm for disposal.
Revenues in the year to end-December 2020 fell by 10% to £3.3bn with a loss before tax of £49.4m (£62.6m)
Retail ‘not quite as dismal’
Total retail sales in Scotland decreased by 24.3% compared with February 2020, when they had decreased by 0.8%.
David Lonsdale, director at the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “February wasn’t quite as dismal as January for Scottish retail sales, but the overall picture remains unremittingly bleak.
“Sales fell in real terms by 22%, the fourth worst monthly performance in the past year, and were only aided by a small but nonetheless discernible boost in kids clothing sales ahead of primary children returning to school.”
The FTSE 100 was expected to open relatively unchanged after ending Tuesday’s session 54 points higher at 6,803. Traders are awaiting the meeting of the US Federal Reserve later and whether there will be measures to control inflation.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.39% while the S&P 500 fell 0.16%. The Nasdaq rose 0.09%.
The subdued feeling continued in Asia this morning, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 down 0.02% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.26%.
On currency markets, the pound was trading 0.01% higher against the dollar at $1.389.