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Virgin Media-O2 deal go-ahead; parcels lift for Royal Mail

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5pm: FTSE 100 back above 7000

Shares rebounded after recent sharp falls prompted by rising inflation.

Danni Hewson, AJ Bell financial analyst, said: “It’s been a bumpy day for the London markets which couldn’t make up their minds initially if they were going to shake off yesterday’s lows or not.

“By lunchtime optimism was in the driving seat again, partly fuelled by a rally in Bitcoin and given an afternoon shove by US markets responding nicely to better-than-expected jobs news.”

The FTSE 100 ended the day 69.6 points higher at 7,019.


9am: Miller acquires Wallace

Miller Homes has acquired Wallace Land Investments and Management, a land promotion company, accelerating the expansion of Miller Homes’ landbank and growth to deliver 5,000 homes a year over the medium term.

Wallace was founded in 2009 in Edinburgh and has expanded into England with a particular focus on the North West, West Midlands and the South.


8.45am: FTSE 100 rises

The FTSE 100 rebounded after yesterday’s fall, trading at 6,972.02, up 21.82 points (0.31%).


7am: Virgin Media-O2 deal approved

Virgin Media logo

The £31 billion merger between Virgin Media and O2 has been given the go-ahead by the regulator.

The Competition and Markets Authority has waved through the deal following an investigation.

Officials provisionally cleared the deal last month.

Mike Fries, chief executive of Virgin owner Liberty Global, and Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete, head of O2 owner Telefonica, said: “This is a watershed moment in the history of telecommunications in the UK as we are now cleared to bring real choice where it hasn’t existed before, while investing in fibre and 5G that the UK needs to thrive.”

O2 has 36.6 million customers across its network, which includes giffgaff, Tesco Mobile, Sky Mobile and Lycamobile.

Virgin Media has about 5.3 million customers.


7am: Royal Mail

Royal Mail letters post box

Royal Mail benefited from the growth of parcel delivery which contributed to a 116% rise in group adjusted operating profit to £702 million (2020: £325m).

Pre-tax profits in the year to March rose to £726m from £180m.

The group has declared 10p one-off final dividend proposed in respect of 2020-21.

Non-executive chairman Keith Williams, said: “The Group has demonstrated that it can effectively harness market growth opportunities even in difficult circumstances and revenues previously forecast for three years’ time have been delivered this year.”


7am: easyJet optimistic

Easyjet

Budget airline easyJet said it will fly about 15% of its pre-pandemic schedule in the third-quarter but expects a big pick-up from June.

“We have the ability to flex up quickly to operate 90% of our current fleet over the peak summer period to match demand,” it said after posting a first-half loss of £701 million.

“Over the past six months, we have successfully undertaken a major restructuring and cost reduction process alongside maintaining an investment-grade balance sheet with significant liquidity and managing our cash burn better than expectations.

“We are well placed to bounce back in the recovery.”

Passenger numbers for the six months ending 31 March 2021 decreased by 89.4% to 4.1 million (H1 2020:  38.6m).

Total revenue decreased by 90% to £240m (H1 2020: £2,382m) with passenger revenue decreasing by 91% to £170m and ancillary revenue decreasing by 87% to £70m.


Markets

Spread betters expect the FTSE 100 to bounce back from yesterday’s inflation-induced fall and despite further falls on Wall Street.

The Dow Jones dropped 164 points or 0.48% whilst the S&P 500 ended 0.29% lower. The Nasdaq held up, to end the session only slightly lower.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei rallied 102 points or 0.36%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was 175 points or 0.6% lower. The Shanghai Composite index shed 0.23%.



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