Market report

Pound surges | Whitbread back in black | HSBC plunges


5pm: Sterling higher

The pound has hit its highest level since mid-September, as investors welcomed the appointment of Rishi Sunak.

Sterling soared by 1.8% to $1.1488, its highest since before the mini-budget on 23 September

Government borrowing costs also fell back, reflecting a greater degree of confidence among investors.

The FTSE 100 closed unchanged at 7,013.48.

7am: Whitbread

Premier Inn and Hub Inn Edinburgh

Premier Inn owner Whitbread said strong current trading and positive lead indicators make it confident in the full year outlook.

Statutory profit before tax for the half-year to 1 September was above pre-pandemic levels and ahead of expectations.

First-half statutory revenues doubled (+104%) year-on-year to £1.35bn, helping the group swing from an interim adjusted pre-tax loss of £56.6m in 2021 to an adjust of pre-tax profit of £271.9m.

It declared an interim dividend of £49m (24.4p per share) in line with our policy, payable on 16 December.

Outgoing CEO Alison Brittain said: “We delivered an outstanding trading performance in the first half of the year, with revenues and profit before tax above pre-pandemic levels.

“Despite macroeconomic uncertainties, our current trading performance is strong and our business has proven its resilience in previous downturns.”

7am: Ithaca confirms IPO

Ithaca Energy, which has interest in the North Sea, including the controversial Cambo oil field, has confirmed its intention to float on the stock market, following its announcement on 18 October. The price will be fixed in due course. It is thought to be valued at about $6bn.

Delek Energy will reduce its current ownership but will remain as a controlling shareholder.

6.30am: HSBC falls

Asia-focused HSBC fell 2.6% in Hong Kong, after posting a 42% decline in profit and revenue in the three months to the end of September. Pretax profit came in at $3.15 billion, down from $5.4bn last time.

The figures included a $2.4bn hit from the sale of the business in France.

The bank has appointed Georges Elhedery, a former head of its investment bank, as its new chief financial officer.

Global markets

Market focus will remain on the new prime minister, Rishi Sunak, and whether he makes major changes to his Cabinet.

There is hope that his installation will draw a line under recent turmoil and can build the unity in his party that he spoke about in his first public comments.

Sterling was quoted at $1.1291 early Tuesday, marginally soft from $1.1295 at the London equities close on Monday.

London markets are tipped for a subdued session in spite of gains in China. The Shanghai Composite and the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong were both up 0.1%, falling back from stronger advances earlier in the session. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was up 1.1%.

Stocks on Wall Street rose as traders saw a likely pause in the current pace of interest rate rises. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.3%, the S&P 500 up 1.2%, and the Nasdaq Composite up 0.9%.

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