Market report

Joules confirms Next talks | FTSE 100 higher

Blue chips made a strong start to trading, taking their cue from Friday’s upbeat US jobs data which lessened fears of a slow down in the US economy. The FTSE 100 closed up 42.63 points, or 0.6%, at 7,482.37.

Hargreaves Lansdown, was 7.2% higher as the fund supermarket extended Friday’s 5% rise on the back of rising client numbers.

On AIM, Joules jumped 11p (33%) to 44.25p after confirming it is in discussions with Next about a potential £15m equity investment which would result in Next becoming a minority shareholder in the group.

It is also in talks about adopting its online services to support the Group’s long term growth plan

A weekend report said Joules was looking to sell a 25% stake to Next.

Joules has had a difficult year, with a series of profit warnings that have seen its shares collapse 90%.

It called in KPMG to advise on its options and has agreed an extension to its banking facilities with main lender Barclays.

The chain has about 130 stores and more than 1,000 staff. It announced in May that CEO Nick Jones, would step down in the first half of its next financial year.

Joules said there can be no certainty the discussions with Next will lead to any agreement and a further announcement will be made if and when appropriate.

Brent oil was quoted unchanged at $96.22 a barrel at the close of London equities.

Global markets

Oil prices edged up from multi-month lows as investors bought into the market following Friday’s data on US jobs and Chinese exports that eased recession concerns.

Strong US ISM Manufacturing PMI early last week helped cool fears of a recession by underscoring the resilience of the economy. This was followed by an impressive jobs report. The US unexpectedly added 528,000 non-farm payrolls against a predicted 250,000, while wage growth was also higher than forecast.

The pound was quoted at $1.2075 early Monday

Brent crude futures had risen 22 cents, or 0.2%, to $95.14 a barrel by 0439 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate crude was at $89.18 a barrel, up 17 cents, or 0.2%.

The Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo was down 0.3%. In China, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.3%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was down 0.6%. The S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney was up 0.1%.

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