Gulf bank eyed Standard Chartered | Next sees dip
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4.30pm: Bank soars on bid rumour
Shares in Standard Chartered Bank surged on reports that First Abu Dhabi Bank was interested in a bid, but the UAE’s biggest bank later said it had previously been at the very early stages of evaluating a possible offer for Standard Chartered, but is no longer doing so
Shares in Standard Chartered rose by up to 20% before the statement saw them fall back.
However, the aborted move has potentially made Standard Chartered a takeover target.
A deal would have created an emerging markets-focused banking giant with assets of more than $1 trillion with a significant foothold in emerging markets.
Positive numbers from Ryanair yesterday pushed rival carriers higher with British Airways owner IAG up 2.8% to 138.36p and Easyjet climbing 5.9%, or 20.9p, to 375.6p.
Miners recovered as metal prices bounced back, with copper and aluminium making the biggest gains, pushing up shares in Anglo American, Antofagasta and Glencore.
The FTSE 100 recovered from its opening dip to close 48.26 points higher at 7,633.45.
Clothing and interiors retailer Next is forecasting lower profits to kick in for the next financial year, reflecting uncertainty over the consumer outlook and ongoing inflationary pressures.
The firm raised its year to January 2023 pre-tax profit forecast to £860m from £840m previously after full price sales rose a better than expected 4.8% in the nine weeks to 30 December. This was c.£66m better than previous guidance of a 2% fall for the period.
But it forecast a dip for the following year to January 2024 when it expects full price sales to be down 1.5% and profit before tax to fall by 7.6% to £795m.
Fast food retailer Greggs posted a 18.2% rise in like-for-like sales in its final quarter to help take its total sales for 2022 to a better-than-expected £1.51 billion.
The high street chain said it continued to see material cost inflation but it was confident it would make good progress in 2023.
The board of Scottish oil and gas explorer Capricorn Energy says a plan for the company proposed by rebel shareholder Palliser is based on “outdated and incorrect facts and assumptions” and would destroy value. Full story here
Wealth management deal
AAB Wealth, part of the AAB Group, has acquired Kilkee Financial Services based in Aberdeen.
Amazon job cuts
E-commerce giant Amazon is cutting more than 18,000 employees in the biggest round of lay-offs by a technology major so far.
The world’s largest retailer, which rode a surge in demand at the height of the pandemic, is now moving to cut costs amid cooling demand and fears of recession. It will begin informing affected staff later this month.
US markets shrugged off the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last meeting which showed officials remain steadfast in their commitment to tackling inflation.
However, Wall Street closed off earlier highs with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.4%, the S&P 500 up 0.75%, and the Nasdaq Composite 0.69% higher.
Another batch of PMI surveys are due in the UK and the US while initial jobless claims figures in the US will give a further guide as to the health of the US jobs market ahead of tomorrow’s non-farm payrolls numbers.