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Unemployment falls; Eurostar funding; Vodafone

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4.30pm: FTSE 100 flat

The FTSE 100 just managed to stay in positive territory, closing 1.39 points higher at 7,034.24.


10.30am: Herald offices sold

A property developer has completed the purchase of 200 Renfield Street in Glasgow, former offices of The Herald & Times newspapers.

Full story here


9am: Eurostar funding

Eurostar has received a £250m refinancing package from a group of banks in a bid to shore up its finances amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

It said the deal – £50m shareholder equity, £150m shareholder guaranteed loans and £50m restructured existing loan facilities – will be guaranteed by majority shareholder SNCF, the French state rail group.


8.45am: London shares higher

The FTSE 100 shrugged off yesterday’s doubts to open in positive mood, trading at 7,070.08m, up 37.23 points (0.53%).


7am: Unemployment falls

Employment law

The UK unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 4.8% in the January-March from 4.9% in the previous three months as hiring picked up pace.

Nearly 100,000 new employee jobs were created in April, the biggest monthly jump for over six years.

British Chambers of Commerce head of economics, Suren Thiru, said:  “The decline in the unemployment rate and the rise in payroll employment is further confirmation that the UK jobs market is now more resilient to the ongoing restrictions. 

“The rise in the number of job vacancies points to an encouraging upturn in demand for labour amid the gradual reopening of the economy and the strong vaccine rollout.”

Scotland’s unemployment rate fell slightly to 4.3%.

Early estimates for April 2021 from HMRC Pay As You Earn Real Time Information indicate that there were 2.3 million payrolled employees in Scotland, a fall of 3.2% (76,000) compared with February 2020 (pre-pandemic). This compares with a fall of 2.7% for the UK over the
same period.

UK productivity – measured in terms of output per hour – improved in Q1 2021 after a small overall increase of 0.4% in 2020, despite the economy contracting 9.8%.

… more follows


7am: Vodafone

Mobile firm Vodafone posted a 1.2% drop in full-year adjusted earnings, coming in at the bottom of its guidance and missing market expectations.

Adjusted EBITDA came in at €14.4 billion on revenue of €43.8 billion, down 2.6%, for the year.

However, the company forecast growth this year.

Chief executive Nick Read said Vodafone experienced accelerating service revenue growth across its business, with a particularly good performance in Germany, its largest market.

“The increased demand for our services supports our ambition to grow revenues and cash flow over the medium-term,” he said.


Markets

The FTSE 100 is expected to pick up strongly after starting the week on a downbeat note and closing 11 points lower at 7,033.

The focus will be on the latest UK unemployment numbers.

The Bank of England expects unemployment to increase this year to 5.2% before falling to 4.7% in the second quarter of 2022.

Wall Street had a day in red, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq leading the decline, down 0.4%, but all three major indices finishing off their lows, with the Dow Jones losing 0.2% and the S&P 500 falling 0.25%.

Asia, on the other hand, had a positive day despite Japan’s economy shrinking at an annualised rate of 5.1% in the January to March period.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong gained 1.27% while the Shanghai Composite in China rose 0.15%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 surged 2.35% and South Korea’s Kospi was 1.31% higher.



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