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Wall St closes higher on Fed report | Shell hikes payout


9.30pm: Apple and Amazon drive Wall Street higher

Wall Street

Apple and Amazon were among mega-cap firms heading up market gains and notching new record closes as Wall Street ended higher. Minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting showed officials were divided on economic signals.

The S&P 500 closed at a fresh record high , up 0.34%, while the Dow Jones and Nasdaq rose by 0.3% and 0.01% respectively.

5pm: London closes higher

London stocks managed a positive finish, helped along by a strong showing in the mining sector, as investors eyed the release of the minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting.

The FTSE 100 closed up 50 points, 0.7%, at 7,151.

11.30am: Wise valued at £8bn

Two thousand employees in Wise, one of Britain’s biggest fintech firms, will see their holdings worth six-figure sums after the company’s valuation hit £8 billion on its debut on the LSE.

It will see a major payday for Wise founders Kristo Kaarmann — a former consultant at PwC and Deloitte — and fellow Estonian Taavet Hinrikus, while also paying out big sums to its employee shareholders.

Full story

10.15am: Fibre contract

Commsworld has won the contract to provide ultra-fast network connectivity to the £1bn St James Quarter in Edinburgh.

The Edinburgh-based company will install its high-capacity network infrastructure to the retail and leisure facility which opened last month.

8.30am: London opens higher

The FTSE 100 was trading 37 points higher at 7,137.65.

7am: Shell to hike payouts


Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell said it will increase payouts to shareholders as the global economy recovers from the pandemic.

The group said it plans to increase shareholder distributions to within the range of 20% to 30% of cash flow from operations, starting from its second quarter results announcement on 29 July.

It said the move comes on the back of a “strong operational and financial delivery, combined with an improved macro-economic outlook”.

7am: Wetherspoon calls for VAT parity

JD Wetherspoon

Pubs chain Wetherspoon has criticised the government’s VAT regime for favouring supermarkets over pubs and said the restoration of the higher rates from September will result in Wetherspoon having to increase food prices by around 40 pence per meal.

Full story here

7am: Galliford Try wins Scottish Water deal

Galliford Try’s environment business has secured a contract with Scottish Water covering civil engineering projects including pipelaying, drainage and capital maintenance of its assets. The framework is worth up to £350m over six years, with an extension option of up to six years.

Bill Hocking, chief executive of Galliford Try, said: “This success represents our latest strategic win as we build on our capability of water asset optimisation.”

Seven companies have been appointed to deliver one of Scotland’s biggest capital investment infrastructure programmes. The others are: Clancy, George Leslie, RWGM joint venture, Ross-shire Engineering, WGM Engineering & Boulting (joint venture) and Morrison Water Services.

Scottish Water will spend £1bn a year on thousands of miles of water pipes, sewer networks, treatment works and other assets.

7am: Redrow

House builder Redrow said housing orders remain ‘very strong’  and it expects revenues to rise back above £2bn in the current year.

In a trading update it said: “The continuing strong sales market combined with the tapering of the stamp duty holiday [in England] at the end of June has resulted in Homes turnover in the regional businesses being ahead of expectations,” said the builder in a trading update.

It said revenue in the year to 27 June will be £1.94bn, with the number of completions at 5,620, adding that the numbers were helped by £43m from the private rented sector and the sale of land.

Global markets

Investors were cautious ahead of the minutes from the June meeting of the US Federal Reserve’s rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC).

Attention will be focused on the central bank’s decision to forecast two interest rate hikes by the end of 2023, as well as any commentary of the outlook for the economy.

There was a mixed performance on Wall Street overnight with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing down 0.6% while the S&P 500 dropped 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.17% to a record 14,663.

Markets in Asia were more negative this morning, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 down 1.2% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.81%.

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