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WeWork soars on IPO debut | retail sales fall | IHG up


5pm: Market closes higher

The FTSE 100 index closed up 14.25 points, or 0.2%, at 7,204.55 on Friday – but lost 0.4% for the week overall.

JD Sports Fashion closed up 1.9% after the athletic apparel retailer bought a majority stake in Crete-based Cosmos Sport.

InterContinental Hotels Group lost 2.9% even after the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza owner said its trading continues to improve significantly, with its revenue per available room creeping closer towards pre-pandemic levels.

J Sainsbury closed down 1% after the supermarket chain decided to retain its banking arm after having spoken with possible buyers.

9am: Market defies retail fall

The FTSE 100 was trading 28.37 points higher at 7,218.67 despite weak retail figures (see below).

Richard Hunter, head of markets at interactive investor, said consumers continued to snub the high street “in favour of an escalating trend of socialising which has become a factor since the easing of lockdown restrictions”.

Ironically, on the day its online operations were hit by a technical glitch (see below), London Stock Exchange Group was up 1.6% at 8,084p, on a third-quarter trading update.

The exchange boasted of a strong performance across all divisions driving a 7.6% growth in total income and gross profit growth of 7.3%.

Sainsbury’s was down 2p on news about its bank division. AJ Bell financial analyst Danni Hewson said: “Sainsbury’s disappointed the market with the news that it is ending talks over a sale of its bank division.

“A more streamlined Sainsbury’s might have made more sense as a bid target, and there has been significant speculation on this front since the takeover of rival grocer Morrisons.”

Miners were once again in doldrums. Rio Tinto and BHP Group were both lower.

8.05am: LSE site hit

The London Stock Exchange has been hit by technical issues and market data was not available on the site.

“We are investigating a technical issue on  Market data is not displaying as expected,” the company said in a message.

7.30am: Retail sales fall

Customers buying fewer household goods and furniture saw retail sales fall for the fifth month in a row in September, despite Covid restrictions easing in the summer.

Sales dipped by 0.2%, following a 0.6% drop in August, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Fuel sales rose by 2.9% as motorists returned and shortages caused panic buying.

7am: Sainsbury’s Bank interest

Sainsbury's Bank hq

Sainsbury’s said it is no longer in talks over the sale of its Edinburgh-based bank.

In a statement to the market it said it had received some expressions of interest in a possible acquisition but talks had now ended.

Full story here

7am: Intercontinental Hotels Group

Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza owner Intercontinental Hotels Group, also owner of the George in Edinburgh, said it had seen a significant improvement in trading during the third quarter.

Keith Barr, CEO, said: “RevPAR (revenue per available room) recovered closer towards pre-pandemic levels as more and more guests returned to our hotels around the world.

“Domestic leisure demand was particularly strong in a number of markets over the summer, where occupancy and rate climbed back to 2019 levels.

“Discretionary business travel, group bookings and international trips have also shown increasingly encouraging signs, on top of continuing good levels of essential business demand.”

Global markets – WeWork IPO, PayPal linked to Pinterest

WeWork office Edinburgh
WeWork Edinburgh

Shares in office sharing company WeWork soared on its debut on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday, two years after it was forced to withdraw its plans for an IPO.

Co-founder Adam Neumann partied with early employees as the flotation through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) handed him a $1 billion windfall.

Shares in the company closed up 13.49% at $11.78, giving the company a $9.3 billion market capitalisation. Two years ago it was valued at $47bn.

The company — founded in 2010 by Neumann, 42, and Miguel McKelvey, 47 — has 851 locations in 152 cities, including Edinburgh.

It became the biggest renter of commercial property in London and New York, but was forced to shelve a planned flotation on Wall Street in 2019 because of investors’ concerns over its concerns over its business model and corporate governance.

Plans for the merger with SPAC BowX Acquisition Corp. were first announced in March.

PayPal Holdings shares fell by 5.3% extending declines after it emerged it may be looking at acquiring Pinterest.

Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that the payment platform was exploring options to acquire the social media company in a deal worth about $45 billion.

However, the Wall Street Journal said PayPal shareholders were not keen on the all-stock acquisition. 

Shares of electric car maker Tesla jumped 3.3% a day after posting record earnings and revenue, while tech company HP rose nearly 7% on the back of similarly strong results.

The S&P 500 rose 0.3%, closing at an all-time high of 4,549 points, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was nearly flat and the Nasdaq gained 0.6% in a mixed day of trading.

It was the seventh straight day of gains for the S&P 500 index, which is now up around 5% so far this month as the stock market has rallied on the back of positive third-quarter earnings reports.

UK blue-chips were set to open firmer ahead of today’ retail sales data.

Spread betting quotes indicate the FTSE 100 would open around 24 points higher.

Asian markets have generally been buoyant this morning with Japan’s Nikkei 225 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng trading higher.

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