Daily Business Live
Jobs market ‘recovering’; Bellway strong demand; Boohoo soars
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5pm: Stocks close higher
London stocks closed higher as investors digested the latest UK jobs data suggesting a recovery was taking hold.
The FTSE 100 ended the session up 25.8 points or 0.36% at 7,172.48.
British Airways owner IAG edged 0.06% higher, engine maker Rolls-Royce added 0.6%, Wizz Air rose 0.83%, and Wagamama owner Restaurant Group was 1.78% firmer.
EasyJet closed flat, and train station and airport caterer SSP Group was 0.54% weaker.
Bellway slipped 0.34% lower even after reporting strong demand for new homes in the second half as buyers looked for larger properties with home-working space (see below).
Shares in Scottish firm Omega Diagnostics closed more than 10% lower at 62.5p following a media report that one of its Covid test partners is allegedly set to sue the government for “stonewalling” approval of its kit for use in the UK.
3pm: Delay to easing
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today said the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in Scotland is likely to be delayed, though she refused to give a firm date.
10.15am: Grain distillery plan
Plans have been unveiled for the first grain distillery in the Scottish Borders.
10am: London shares higher
Despite the delay to “Freedom Day” some leisure and airline stocks enjoyed take-off. British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines was up 1.93%, while EasyJet climbed 1.76%.
Hotels group Whitbread was 1.29% better while Wagamama owner Restaurant Group added 2.43%.
AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said: “The hospitality and travel stocks which had sold off ahead of the delay to ‘Freedom Day’ in the UK made partial recoveries as investors welcomed some form of clarity over the new 19 July unlocking date.
“The move had been widely trailed in advance and therefore did not come as a huge shock to the market.”
The FTSE 100 is off its best levels but still 25 points to the good at 7,171.71.
Inflation will be back on the agenda as the US Federal Reserve begins its two day meeting with the latest US retail sales and producer prices figures to the fore.
9.30am: Trade deal agreed
Terms of a trade deal between the UK and Australia have been agreed that will open up the market in goods and labour.
9am: Iomart shortlists targets
Cloud computing firm Iomart, is on the hunt for acquisitions and has drawn up a shortlist, CEO Reece Donovan tells Daily Business.
7am: Jobs market ‘recovering’
The unemployment rate is falling and the number of job vacancies rising, according to new data.
UK unemployment stood at 4.7% in the three months to April, down from 4.8% previously, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
The number of job vacancies in March to May was 758,000 – just 27,000 below pre-pandemic levels.
However, unemployment among the young and those in hospitality remains high.
In Scotland for February to April 2021, Scotland’s employment rate estimate decreased slightly to 74.2% and the unemployment rate estimate increased slightly to 4.2%.
Separate HMRC early estimates for May 2021, also published this morning, show there were 2.4 million payrolled employees in Scotland, 50,000 fewer than in February 2020, prior to the pandemic.
House builder Bellway reported strong demand for larger properties with home-working space.
The company lifted its forecasts for the average selling price to £300,000 from £293,000. The order book rose 20.5% to £1.89bn in the four months to 6 June.
Bellway said demand for larger, higher-value homes remained “encouraging”, also supported by the extension of the UK government’s stamp duty holiday and despite the introduction of lower regional price caps under the “help-to-buy” scheme outside of London, and the restriction to first time buyers only from April 2021.
Online fashion retailer Boohoo has posted a 32% rise in sales in its latest quarter despite a tough year-on-year comparative, benefiting from a pick-up in demand as lockdown restrictions eased.
It maintained its guidance for full year 2021-2022 revenue growth of about 25%, with an overall core earnings (EBITDA) margin of 9.5-10%.
Cloud computing firm Iomart, said it has displayed resilience throughout the pandemic, despite a 25.7% fall in pre-tax profit to £12.5m for the year ended 31 March, from £16.8m in the previous year.
The FTSE 100 was expected to open higher following a record close for both the Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 on Wall Street.
In Asia, opinion was split with Japan and Australia performing well, while China’s main markets were led lower by flattening commodity prices.
The early action in London is likely to be subdued ahead of a two-day meeting of America’s Federal Open Markets Committee, which, according to some reports, will assess whether it is time to scale back its $120bn asset purchase scheme.