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Powell speech lifts markets | Ascot Lloyd buys CIS

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5pm: Markets buoyed by Powell

The FTSE 100 index reversed earlier losses to close higher as markets welcomed US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell signalling that the U.S. central bank will remain patient on bond tapering. 

At the close, the UK blue-chip index was 23 points, or 0.32% higher at 7,148, above the session low of 7,109 but below the peak of 7,158.

The more UK-focused FTSE 250 added 107 points, or 0.45%.

Companies including Anglo American, BHP and BP led the gainers on the back of firmer commodity prices. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.61% firmer, with the broader S&P 500 index ahead 0.76%, while the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite gained 1.1%.


11am: IFA acquired

Ascot Lloyd has acquired Aberdeen-based Central Investment Services adding £761m in funds to the wider group.

CIS is an independent financial advice firm serving private and corporate clients.

Eight IFAs and a team of support staff will join Reading-based Ascot Lloyd which becomes one of the largest financial adviser firms in the city.


9.30am: Spending limit increases

Consumers will be able to spend up to £100 on contactless cards from October.

Full story here


8.30am: Market edges up

The blue chip FTSE 100 index edged up 7 points to 7,131.97 as forecast in what is expected to be a quiet session ahead of the Jackson Hole symposium (see below).

Aerospace and defence engineer Babcock rose 2.55% to 382.3p following an upgrade to ‘overweight’ from ‘equal weight’ by Barclays which lifted its price target to 424p from 315p.

Energy shares, industrial miners and travel stocks have been top performers this week. Travel stocks remain on course to end their best week since March on higher demand amid easing lockdowns.


7am: Newcastle Building Society profits leap

Newcastle Building Society delivered a strong performance in the first half of 2021. Profit before tax increased by £11.7m to £13.9m (Half year 2020: £2.2m). Gross lending rose to £483m from £357m.

Mortgage arrears remain at low levels with 0.43% of mortgages in arrears by three months or more.


Global markets

Attention will be on the virtual Jackson Hole symposium today, although it appears unlikely the Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell will add much to recent speculation over early tapering of stimulus measures.

Concerns about the impact of the fast-spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus on the economy could make expectations of an announcement premature.

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: “Powell’s speech may well lay the groundwork for some sort of roadmap to be laid out at the September meeting, with the timing of any decision likely to be dependent on how good next week’s August payrolls report is likely to be.

“We hear a lot about the risks around the Delta variant, and waiting for the risks to subside, however we could we waiting a long time for that to happen. The virus is hear to stay, and its how we learn to live with it that matters now as we head into the winter months.”

The FTSE 100 was expected to edge up slightly ahead of a quiet day for corporate news and following a lacklustre session on the US markets.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.5%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite closed down 0.6%.

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has squeezed out a 12 point gain but Japan’s Nikkei 225 is off 131 points.

Brent oil was quoted at $71.94 a barrel, up from $71.40 late Thursday.



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