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House prices | Barratt CFO | SLA shares sale | Facebook hits $1trn


5pm: House builders lead charge

The FTSE 100 index ended 14.58 points higher at 7087.55, with house builders among the day’s top risers following latest data on prices (see below).

Berkeley Group was up 0.49%, Persimmon added 1.57%, and Taylor Wimpey was 1.12% firmer.

Travel-related stocks were under the cosh again amid worries about restrictions, with InterContinental Hotels off 0.93%, tour operator TUI down 5.05%, low-cost carrier Wizz Air descending 3.06%, British Airways owner IAG falling 1.42%, and travel retailer WH Smith 3.03% weaker.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average 84 points ahead, while the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.02% having reached fresh all-time highs on Monday.

9am: Bridgepoint plans IPO

Private equity firm Bridgepoint said it plans an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange.

The firm, which has about £23.5 billion of total assets under management, and owns Miller Homes, said the IPO would raise £300m to support its growth plans and repay debt.

Full story here

8am: Market open

The FTSE 100 opened 4.63 points higher at 7,077.60.

7.30am: London faces worker exodus

About two in every five people living and working in inner London could work remotely, according to new research which has raised questions over office requirements, transport and the hospitality sector.

The data from Advanced Workplace Associates indicates that London risks losing more than 835,000 jobs as the pandemic sparks a permanent shift to more flexible working patterns, and city dwellers are able to move out of the capital to other locations across the UK or overseas.

It found that 41% of people living in London’s 14 inner boroughs could now do their jobs at a distance.

7.15am: House prices rising

For sale, sold, homes, housing, property

The latest numbers from Nationwide showed house prices rising a further 0.7% in June, taking the average asking price across the UK to £245,432. In Scotland it is £194,100, up by 6.7% on 2019-20 and by 25% on the pre-financial crash average price of £154,813 in 2007-08.

June’s rise in the UK average left the annual increase in prices at 13.4%, the biggest year-on-year gain since the end of 2004. Comparisons with unusually weak prices in June 2020 flattered annual growth, but underlying momentum remained strong.   

Martin Beck,  senior economic adviser to the EY ITEM Club, said: “Property prices continue to benefit from a cocktail of forces propelling demand. The extension of the stamp duty holiday [in England] looks to have prompted interest among potential buyers before the tax holiday begins to be phased out on 30 June.”

7am: Standard Life Aberdeen raises £652m

Standard Life Aberdeen has raised a net £652 million through the sale of just over half its stake in the Indian life and pensions business HDFC.

SLA, which controversially intends to rebrand as abrdn, will use the proceeds for general corporate purposes.

The shares sold constituted 4.99 % of HDFC Life’s share capital, with SLA’s shareholding now down to 3.89% worth about £530m.

7am: Barratt appoints CFO

Barratt Developments has appointed Mike Scott as an executive director and chief financial officer from Countryside Properties where he holds the same position. He joined Countryside as group financial controller in 2014.

During the past seven years, he has overseen a period of significant growth at Countryside, including the group’s IPO in February 2016 and the acquisition of Westleigh Homes in April 2018.

Prior to joining Countryside, he held a number of senior finance roles from 2010 until 2014 at J Sainsbury, including latterly as head of investor relations. He qualified as a chartered accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2002.

Global markets – Facebook hits £1 trillion


The value of Facebook soared above $1 trillion last night after the social network won a significant legal battle against an American regulator.

A federal judge dismissed an antitrust lawsuit that sought to force the company to sell Instagram and WhatsApp, saying that the Federal Trade Commission’s action was “legally insufficient”.

The ruling was a setback to attempts to rein in the power of America’s giant corporations and saw Facebook’s share price hit a new record, closing 4.2%, or $14.27, higher at $355.64.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 1% to breach 14,500, while the S&P 500 closed 0.2% higher. The Dow Jones fell 0.4%.

In London the FTSE 100 was being called five points higher this morning on the IG spread-betting platform, a day after falling 0.9% to 7,072.97.

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