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Goldman backs Starling Bank; PM axes India trip; CBI regions plea

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4.30pm: FTSE 100 slips back

The FTSE 100 just managed to stay above the 7,000 threshold as equities came under pressure at the start of the week.

The index closed down 19.45 points, or 0.3%, at 7,000.08.

3pm: Tycoon blasts government over ferries

Bus and property tycoon Sandy Easdale has accused the SNP of throwing taxpayers’ cash around like ‘confetti’ in the ongoing ferries scandal.

Full story here

11am: New law firm

Four Scottish solicitors have combined to establish a new legal firm based in Glasgow. 

Full story here


10.30am: Record charities mandate

Aberdeen Standard Capital has won its biggest ever charities mandate.

Full story here


10am: PM cancels India trip

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has cancelled a scheduled trip to India amid surging coronavirus cases and alarm about a new variant.

A joint statement from the British and Indian government said the trip will not go ahead “in light of the current situation”.

Public Health England said the Indian variant has been spotted 77 times in Scotland and England since March.


9am: London pushes ahead

Shares in Equiniti were up 15% at 158p after receiving a takeover offer from Siris Capital Group.

Melrose, the owner of aerospace group GKN, was 1.68% higher after announcing plans to offload Nortek Air Management for around $3.6bn.

The FTSE 100 index was up 17 points at 7,036.47.


7am: Caledonia Asset Management sold

Mattioli Woods, the specialist wealth and asset management business, has acquired Edinburgh-based Caledonia Asset Management in a deal worth £960,000 with the potential for a further £640,000 top-up payment, dependent on the attainment of specified performance targets in the two years after completion.

Full story here


7am: Darktrace

cybercrime

Cybersecurity start-up Darktrace has confirmed that it intends to float at least 20% of issued share capital in an initial public offering on the main market in early May.

The London-based firm, founded in 2013 by a group of former intelligence experts and mathematicians, uses artificial intelligence technology to detect and respond to cyberthreats in a business’ IT systems.


6.55am: Goldman extends Starling investment

Starling-Bank

Starling, the UK digital bank, has received a £50m investment from Goldman Sachs Growth Equity.

The investment is an extension of the bank’s oversubscribed £272 million Series D funding round announced in March, which valued it in excess of £1.1 billion pre-money. This takes the total raised in the Series D round to £322 million.

Starling now has more than two million current accounts, including 350,000 business accounts. Its deposit base has increased from approximately £1 billion just over a year ago, to now more than £6 billion.


00.01am: Small firms output rises

Output at small UK businesses rose for the first time in six months during March – the strongest reading since November 2016, suggesting a swift return to growth as restrictions eased at the end of the first quarter.

The recovery was led by small firms in the construction sector, with output among small firms rising at the fastest pace since June 2001, according to the latest NatWest UK Small Business Recovery PMI survey.

Small service sector companies recorded the steepest rate of activity growth for three years in March.

In the manufacturing sector, the latest data showed that production continued to pick up from the slump seen at the start of 2021. 


00.01am: Prices likely to rise

A rising number of firms expect their prices to increase significantly in the coming months. British Chambers of Commerce also document growing concern among businesses over rising inflation.

The data, drawn from responses from more than 5,800 firms, shows two in five businesses (38%) in Q1 2021 expect to see their prices increase in the next three months, compared to 25% in the previous quarter. In contrast, only 5% of firms are expecting a decrease. 

The figures also demonstrate that nearly one in three (30%) businesses cite inflation as a cause of concern in the coming months, up from one in four (25%) in the previous quarter.


00.01am: Empowering regions

Business can serve as a driving force behind the UK’s levelling-up aspirations by harnessing local strengths to propel regional economies through recovery towards enduring prosperity, says the CBI.

Director-General Tony Danker will today outline his vision for tackling long-term regional inequalities at the organisation’s Urban Revival conference.  

In a new vision for the UK economy, to be published in May, the CBI will call for regions to be liberated from the restrictive cookie-cutter approach of the past, and empowered to capitalise on their unique strengths to build back better.  


Markets

Having closed above 7,000 on Friday for the first time since February last year, the FTSE 100 is expected to pause for breath rather than follow Asia’s strong response to Chinese growth fitgures.

China’s two major markets set the pace in the region as economic recovery hopes continued to drive sentiment.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong gained 0.62% while the Shanghai Composite in China surged 1.18%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 0.06% and South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.02%.



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