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Vodafone hits renewables milestone | Joules expands
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5pm: London slips
Inflation concerns and a rebound in sterling ultimately weighed on London stocks which ended the session lower.
A near-three-year high in the price of crude had lifted BP and Royal Dutch Shell higher and they helped pull the index up from midday after a mixed start.
But the FTSE 100 closed 15.95 points, or 0.22%, lower at 7,074.06.
Danni Hewson, AJ Bell financial analyst, said: “Big oil companies were amongst the big winners in both London and on Wall Street today as the oil price surged past the $75 dollar mark earlier.
“Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Tullow Oil bolstered the FTSE and Occidental Petroleum topped the risers on the S&P 500. Recent rises are being fuelled by the global economic rebound as vaccine programmes speed recovery and spark demand.
“The gains weren’t enough to maintain forward momentum for London markets with house builders dragging down the FTSE 100 after an investigation into the leasehold sector from the Competition and Market’s Authority.
“Landmark commitments from Persimmon and Insurance company Aviva appear to signal big changes and big costs. Taylor Wimpey, Barratt Developments and the previously mentioned Persimmon all saw share prices fall as investors take stock of the decision and its ramifications.
8.30am: FTSE flat
The FTSE 100 index opened flat at 7,090.62, up just +0.61 points.
7am: Vodafone renewables milestone
Vodafone Group says its entire European operations will be 100% powered by electricity from renewable sources from 1 July.
These include mobile and fixed networks, data centres, retail and offices, as the telecoms firm progresses towards the goal of reducing its own carbon emissions to net-zero by 2030 and across the company’s entire value chain by 2040.
In July 2020, Vodafone brought forward its plan to purchase 100% renewable electricity in Europe to July 2021 from its previous target of 2025 and is committed to achieving the same step-change in Africa by 2025.
Most of the group’s total energy use during financial year 2021 was in the form of purchased electricity but, following this announcement, 100% of Vodafone’s purchased electricity in Europe is now from renewable generation sources including where Vodafone is a tenant on other landlord’s sites.
7am: Leasehold agreement
Two property investors and developers have pledged to make their leasehold terms fairer, following an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority.
Aviva has committed to remove certain terms from its leasehold contracts which cause ground rents to double, and Persimmon is set to offer leasehold house owners the opportunity to buy the freehold of their home at a discounted price.
7am: Berkeley on rise
Berkeley reported a rise in annual profits driven by sales of homes in London and the South East.
Pre-tax profit for the year to 30 April rose 2.9% to £518.1m as revenue rose 14.7% to £2.2bn.
The company maintained long-term guidance of a 15% cumulative pre-tax return on equity until April 2025 and said it expected profits in the next two years to be similar to 2021.
7am: Joules expands
Joules Group said store sales for the eight weeks since post-lockdown reopening are ahead of the comparable period two years ago.
The company said it has opened three new sites after seeing pent-up consumer demand.
In the financial year ended 30 May, revenue rose 4% to £199m mostly a result of the e-commerce business and the acquisition of Garden Trading in February 2021.
Profit before tax and exceptional items is anticipated to be £5.5-6.5m, slightly ahead of current market expectations of £5.2-5.3m.
7am: Phoenix share sale and board change
Swiss Re has sold of 66,199,917 shares in Phoenix, representing approximately 6.6% of Phoenix’s total issued share capital.
The sale, through an accelerated book build, is to a range of new and existing institutional investors.
As a result of Swiss Re’s holding falling below 10% of Phoenix’s total issued share capital, it is no longer be entitled to appoint a non-executive director to the Phoenix Board and Christopher Minter, will resign on 25 June.
The FTSE 100 was expected to open lower as investors await more data from the UK and the US.
The prediction of a slow start followed a positive performance on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing up 0.2%, while the S&P 500 climbed 0.51% and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.79%.
Asia was more mixed with Japan’s Nikkei 225 down 0.02% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.45%.