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FTSE up on Covid easing date | Quiz sales still impacted


5pm: Market rises on easing confirmation

Sajid Javid

The UK blue chip index rose on confirmation that the UK plans to remove most coronavirus pandemic lockdown measures on 19 July.

High street and travel stocks felt little real benefit having rallied into the announcement.

Mass events in England will be allowed to go ahead, with entertainment hotspots such as nightclubs able to reopen, though they will be encouraged to implement COVID-19 checks at the door.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid, pictured, told the Commons that in respect of COVID-19 cases, things are likely to get worse before they get better and stressed the importance of people continuing to wear masks indoors in public spaces.

Mr Javid confirmed the government is no longer recommending people in England work from home if they can, but neither is it encouraging them to rush back to the office, adding that the government is expecting “a gradual return to the workplace over the summer”.

Business groups welcomed confirmation of the date for almost full reopening but said clearer guidance was needed on what they should be doing to keep staff and customers safe.   

Claire Walker, co-executive director at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “In particular, the government must give clarity on the  issues of  employment law, health and safety requirements  and liability. Firms  need to know what will happen if they remove some, or all, COVID-safety measures  and then have a large  outbreak linked to their premises.” 

The FTSE 100 closed 3.54 points, or 0.05% higher at 7,125.42.

11.45am: Wind farm contract

RJ McLeod has been awarded a key contract by Banks Renewables which is installing some of the biggest wind turbines in the UK.

Full story here

10.30am: Fixed income mandate

Cameron Hume, the Edinburgh-based investment firm, has been awarded a £67 million (A$125m) environmental, social and governance (ESG) focused fixed-income mandate by Australian pension fund, First Super.

Full story here

9am: Blue chips dip

The FTSE 100 dipped as forecast, down 43 points at 7,078.67 in the first hour of trade.

“The opening of the UK stock market on Monday could have been a lot worse given how investors’ nerves were tested last week with a big sell-off linked to concerns over the strength of the global economic recovery,” says Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

“A 0.6% decline is not great, but at least it isn’t on the scale of last week’s horrible session where the FTSE fell 1.7% in day.

“Sadly, there is a repeat of the same stocks driving down the market – banks, miners and oil producers, all of whom are bellwethers for the state of the economy.

“Utilities and real estate were the only sectors in the FTSE 100 pushing ahead on Monday, whereas the FTSE 250 fared a bit better.”

7am: Daily Mail sale proposal

Daily Mail

The Rothermere family is considering taking the Daily Mail and General Trust, the owner of the Daily Mail and MailOnline, private following a takeover approach for one of the company’s business-to-business divisions.

The company confirmed that it is in discussions in relation to the sale of its Insurance Risk division, RMS, while it is prepared to pass on to investors its 16% holding in online car dealer Cazoo after it lists through a SPAC deal in New York.

Full story here

7am: Quiz update

Glasgow-based fashion chain Quiz said sales of its dressy and occasion wear continue to be impacted by the restrictions on social activities and events.

Sales for the period 1 April to 30 June rose £17.3 million, up £13.1m on the corresponding period last year when sales were severely impacted by the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK and Europe.

The company’s own websites generated £4.6m (2020: £2.2m) with revenues steadily improving through the period. Sales through third party websites totalled £1.8m with this channel impacted by the ending of sales through the Debenhams website from early April 2021. Last year this generated £1.2m.

The group’s UK stores and concessions reopened through mid to late April. In the comparable prior year period, all the group’s UK stores and concessions were closed until late June. 

As at 30 June 2021, the group operated 61 stores in the United Kingdom, 13 fewer than operated prior to the lockdown of stores in March 2020.

Global markets

Janet Yellen vid

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is due in Brussels today for talks with Eurozone finance ministers on global tax reforms.

On Sunday she urged the EU to reconsider its plans for a “discriminatory” digital tax, saying the new deal should make it redundant.

In Venice on Saturday, G20 ministers, including Ms Yellen, endorsed a plan agreed by 132 countries to overhaul the way multinational companies, including US digital giants, are taxed.

“The agreement that we’ve reached in the OECD framework discussion calls on countries to agree to dismantle existing digital taxes that the US has regarded as discriminatory and to refrain from erecting similar measures in the future,” Ms Yellen told reporters.

“So it’s really up to the European Commission and the members of the EU to decide how to proceed. But those countries have agreed to avoid putting in place in the future and to dismantle taxes that are discriminatory against US firms.”

In Asia this morning, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was up 2.2%. In China, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.3%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was up 0.4%.

The FTSE 100 was expected to open 24 points lower.

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