Daily Business Live

Scots GDP ‘points to recovery’ | oil price up again

4.45pm: Blue chips close up

The FTSE 100 closed 19.63 points higher at 7,286.32.

9.45am: GDP data ‘points to recovery’

Kate Forbes

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said the latest GDP figures underscore Scotland’s continuing economic recovery from the pandemic.

GDP grew 0.4% in September, leaving output just 1.1% below the pre-pandemic level of February 2020. Output in the service sector, which accounts for around 75% of the economy, rose by 0.5% and growth was also recorded in manufacturing and construction.

Ms Forbes said: “Over the coming weeks I will deliver a Budget to help households, communities and businesses across the country and launch our National Strategy for Economic Transformation, setting out how Scotland will harness innovation and entrepreneurship to create green, fair and sustainable jobs over the next decade.  

“Challenges remain, but the indicators show we are in a strong position from which to drive Scotland’s economic recovery and renewal.”

9am: Oil price rises again

Crude is up again, with Brent 0.74% higher at S$82.92 a barrel and West Texas Intermediate up 0.76% at $79.10 as the US move to release more oil failed to do the trick of bringing prices down.

The tech-light FTSE 100 rose 39.17 points at 7305.86 after avoiding the fall-out on the Nasdaq as Wall Street investors switched from technology stocks to companies likely to benefit from recovery.

In London, Johnson Matthey, which recently surprised the market with plans to exit its battery development business, has unveiled a £200m share buyback programme and the sale of its advanced glass technologies division. Its shares – which slumped on the battery news – edged up 0.33%.

7am: Brewin Dolphin sees ‘exceptional year

Robin Beer

Brewin Dolphin chief executive Robin Beer, has hailed “an exceptional year” after the wealth manager achieved record discretionary inflows.

“We expect to capture significant synergies and benefits across the business, supporting our vision to deliver double digit earnings per share growth by 2025,” he said.

Full story here

7am: Mulberry back in black


Luxury brand Mulberry said it had returned to profit and hailed the success of its sustainable product range.

CEO Thierry Andretta said: “Product innovation and sustainability are central to our strategy, demonstrated by the recent launch of our “The Lowest Carbon collection”, further supporting the commitments we made in our Made to Last manifesto and our goal to reach zero carbon emissions by 2035.

“The bold decisions we have taken with regards to focussing on our UK production capabilities, means that we are well placed for the festive trading period and beyond.”

Group revenue increased 34% to £65.7m (2020: £48.9m), producing profit before tax of £10.2m (2020: loss before tax £2.4m) which includes a one-off profit of £5.7m on disposal of its Paris lease.

7am: Virgin dividend

Virgin Money is recommending a final dividend for the year ended 30 September 2021 of 1p (2020:nil).

7am: R&M sale

The River & Mercantile board today announced that it proposes to return £180m to shareholders, following the completion of the sale of its UK fiduciary management, advisory and derivatives business via a tender offer. This represents approximately 80% of the expected net cash proceeds of £228m. 

R&M is currently subject to competing takeover offers. Full story here.

Global markets

Japan’s factory activity grew at the fastest pace in nearly four years in November, as output accelerated on loosening COVID-19 restrictions, defying pressure from the biggest jump in input prices in 13 years.

Activity in the services sector also accelerated, expanding at the fastest pace in more than two years as economic conditions stabilised after a sharp decline in COVID-19 cases and deaths thanks to soaring vaccinations.

The Nikkei slumped 1.6% while South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.08%.

China’s Shanghai Composite gained 0.14% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.60%,

Wall Street saw the Dow Jones edge up 0.55%, while the S&P 500 was just a tad higher and the Nasdaq dipped 0.5%.

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