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FTSE 100 closes higher but off 6,700

The UK blue-chip benchmark closed around four points higher at 7,692
wall street sign
FTSE 100 closed up four points
  • FTSE 100 closes up - just

  • Tesco UK boss steps down after cancer diagnosis

  • UK economy grows 0.3% in May

  • Wall Street higher

FTSE 100 closed marginally higher but off the 6,700 level seen earlier as US stocks also climbed.

The UK blue-chip benchmark closed around four points higher at 7,692, while FTSE 250 was also up - about 30 points to close at 20,851.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up around 142 points, while the S&P 500 is ahead by around 32.

The tech heavy Nasdaq index is up nearly 17 points at 7,292.

David Madden, at CMC Markets, said: "Investors are still in buying mode as there has been no update regarding the trade dispute. Investors are using the relatively quiet period in terms of newsflow as an opportunity to buy into the market."

Fiona Cincotta, at City Index, said on today's data that whilst the GDP printed in line with expectations at 0.3%, both manufacturing and industrial production figures failed to live up to forecasts, sending the pound downward.

She suggests also there was little in the release to suggest that the Bank of England will be raising rates in three weeks’ time.

Cincotta added that with the UK political picture looking more stable today, as Prime Minister Theresa May appeared to have survived the storm.

3.45pm: FTSE flirts with 7,700

With less than 30 minutes left in the session, the FTSE 100 was flirting around the 7,700 mark where it has been for most of the day.

Ocado Group PLC (LON:OCDO) is the top riser, advancing 5.8% to 1,070p. It’s been an up-and-down day for the online grocer though, as higher investment costs offset a rise in revenues as the company swung to a loss in the first half.

Hargreaves Lansdown PLC (LON:HL. has also been in demand after being upgraded by City broker Numis Securities. Shares are up 3% to 2,075p.

Water groups United Utilities PLC (LON:UU.) and Severn Trent PLC (LON:SVT) are the index’s biggest fallers, both sliding 3% to 743p and 1,941p respectively.

That was part of a wider move out of defensive stocks, which has also seen National Grid PLC (LON:NG.) (down 1.5% to 855.2p) and SSE plc (LON:SSE) (down 1% to 1,380p) take hits.

Tesco PLC (LON:TSCO) is also in the red, down 1.5% to 256p as its UK boss stepped down from the board having been diagnosed with cancer. Charles Wilson had been tipped as a successor to current chief executive Dave Lewis.

On the currency markets, decent GDP and consumer spending data this morning has done little to budge the pound, although sterling is up against both the euro (€1.133) and the dollar (US$1.327).

3.15pm: US regulators approve Takeda’s US$62bn Shire bid

The proposed US$62bn takeover of UK drugmaker Shire Plc (LON:SHP, NASDAQ:SHPG)  by Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceuticals Co Ltd has received US approval.

Takeda said the United States Federal Trade Commission has given the deal unconditional clearance, bringing the Tokyo-listed firm closer to its bid to become a leading global drugmaker.

The Japanese company is still awaiting approval from other international regulators, including in the European Union and China.

Shareholders of the two companies are also yet to give their go-ahead for the takeover, which is expected to be the biggest hurdle.

2.55pm: Dow Jones heads towards 25,000

As traders had expected, US stocks jumped at the opening bell to extend yesterday’s gains.

The Dow Jones added 114 points to reach 24,891, leaving it within touching distance of 25,000 which it hasn’t hit for a month now.

The Nasdaq Composite opened 12.7 points, or 0.2%, to 7,768.9, while the S&P 500 rose 7.2 points, or 0.3%, to reach 2,791.2.

2.40pm: Hargreaves Lansdown rises on Numis upgrade

Hargreaves Lansdown PLC (LON:HL.) is one of the top risers on the FTSE 100 after Numis Securities upgraded its rating for the investment platform group to ‘add’ from ‘hold’.

The City broker hiked its target to 2,198p, up from 1,861p previously, with the FTSE 100-listed stock currently changing hands at 2,065p, up 2.6% on Monday’s close.

In a note to clients, the Numis’ analysts said: “We believe HL is a structural growth story which it has been ever since IPO and should remain, possibly for decades to come.

“We see the potential for platform businesses to increasingly manage a customer's investments and wealth becoming a much greater and more comprehensive financial services offering.”

They added: “By virtue of delivering growth in the most adverse of market conditions we believe HL is a low risk business as well as being a high growth and highly profitable business.”

2.20pm: Collagen Solutions emerges from challenging 

Collagen Solutions PLC (LON:COS) boss Jamal Rushdy and chief financial officer Hilary Spence join Andrew Scott in the Proactive studio.

2.05pm: ‘Spoons' pre-close trading update on Wednesday

Expect a lot of gas from JD Wetherspoon PLC’s (LON:JDW) pre-close trading update tomorrow, and no, we’re not talking about the usual Brexit rant from the value pub chain’s founder and chairman Tim Martin.

Investors will instead be looking to see what effect the recent CO2 shortage has had one beer sales. At the end of June, some ‘Spoons ran out of John Smith’s and Strongbow as the shortage hit suppliers, even some of the big names such as Heineken.

Also of interest will be the impact of the World Cup as most of the chain’s pubs don’t usually show football to try to create a family-friendly atmosphere. Given England’s success at the current tournament, that is likely to have dented sales somewhat.

The recent warm weather should have offset some of that, though.

1.50pm: Sorrell beats WPP to MediaMonks

Former WPP PLC (LON:WPP) boss Martin Sorrell has won a fierce bidding war between his new business, S4 Capital, and his old employer for Dutch digital ad agency MediaMonks.

The 73-year-old sweetened the €300mln deal by agreeing to pay some of that fee in S4 shares to fend off any competition from WPP.

The ad giant’s lawyers had sent a letter to Sorrell last week, claiming that he could lose up to £20mln in share awards if he pursued the takeover as he would be in breach of a confidentiality agreement signed when he left back in April.

Sorrell is understood to have shrugged off the claims though, with reports suggesting he wouldn’t let £20mln stand in the way of his plans.

1.25pm: UK to join Pacific area free trade agreement?

12.50pm: Ocado leads Footsie higher

In early afternoon trading, the FTSE 100 is up 16.4 points to 7,704.4.

Leading the way is online grocer Ocado Group PLC (LON:OCDO) which has been something of a yoyo stock today after swinging to a loss in the first half despite reporting a rise in sales.

Shares opened up higher before falling into the red. They are currently up 6.6% to 1,079p.

Sky PLC (LON:SKY) is also in the black, climbing 2% to 1,498p on reports that 21st Century Fox is considering upping its offer for the satellite broadcaster, which would top a previous bid from rival Comcast.

Water companies United Utilities PLC (LON:UU.) (down 2.7% to 745.6p) and Severn Trent PLC (LON:SVT) are among the top fallers today as part of a wider pull out of defensive stocks.

On the currency markets, the pound is up 0.3% versus the euro to €1.131, while it is flat against the dollar at US$1.325.

12.30pm: Wall Street set for hot start on quiet day

Wall Street stocks are set to extend Monday’s gains when the opening bell rings in New York later this afternoon.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is set to add 76 points to reach 24,851; the tech-heavy Nasdaq is called 24.4 points higher at 7,301.1; while the spreadbettors see the broader S&P 500 kicking off Tuesday’s session 7.3 points in the black at 2,791.3.

“With an empty economic calendar and a lack of trade war twists, the Dow Jones is set to climb 70-ish points when the bell rings on Wall Street,” said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.

“That would push the Dow towards a three-week high of 24850, the index continuing to put its end of June/start of July lows behind it.”

12.05pm: £500mln added to Sky’s value on Fox bid reports

Sky PLC (LON:SKY) has seen another £500mln added to its market capitalisation this morning after reports suggested 21st Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOXA) is preparing a new £25bn bid to top the offer the satellite broadcaster has received from Comcast Corp (NASDAQ:CMCSA).

The Financial Times claimed that Fox’s offer will almost certainly be at a premium to Comcast’s most recent bid of 1,250p per share.

The US company could make the new offer as soon as this week, the FT added, if its earlier bid for Sky is formally approved by the UK government.

With Sky’s current share price at 1,503p, up 2.3% on Monday’s close, shareholders are betting that more even bids could be forthcoming.

11.25am: M&S AGM begins with a waistcoat joke …

11.15am: Bank holiday next Monday, anyone?

More than 80,000 people have signed a petition calling on the government to make next Monday (July 16, the day after the World Cup final) a national bank holiday.

Of course this all hinges on England getting to the final which, even if they did that, would the government be prepared to approve a last-minute bank holiday? It seems unlikely, but I’ve signed it anyway. If you want to do the same, you can here.

11am: Aldi and Lidl to close early on Sunday if England reach final

Aldi and Lidl are to close their stores early on Sunday should England make it to their first World Cup final for more than 50 years.

The German discounters have promised all staff in their England stores that they can leave at 3pm so they can watch the match which kicks off at 4pm.

Will other retailers follow suit? It hardly seems worth paying staff when the whole country will be in their living room or local pub watching the Three Lions bring it home …

10.45am: Defensive stocks dumped

Mid-way through morning trading, the FTSE 100 is up by 6.2 points, or 0.1%, to 7,694.2.

The pound, which has held up pretty well despite the political chaos over the past 48 hours, is up slightly against the euro to €1.130, while it is broadly flat versus the dollar at US$1.325.

Keeping the blue-chip index above water is Ocado Group PLC (LON:OCDO) – although the market can’t seem to make its mind up about the online grocer’s interim results.

Ocado posted a 12% rise in revenue to just shy of £800mln, but higher investment costs meant it swung to a loss of £9mln in the 26 weeks to June 3. Shares have been up-and-down all morning, although they are currently up almost 2% at 1,030p.

Clothes retailer Next PLC (LON:NXT) is up for the second day in a row, adding 1.6% to 6,000p. Yesterday it was boosted by some decent sales figures from rival Matalan, while today’s Barcalys Consumer Spending report suggests us Brits are loosening the purse strings a bit.

Luxury fashion label Burberry Group PLC (LON:BRBY) is also on the rise, climbing 1.9% to 2,110 ahead of a trading update tomorrow.

Defensive stocks are out of favour, though. Cigarette makers British American Tobacco PLC (LON:BATS) (down 1.3% to 3,908p) and Imperial Brands PLC (LON:IMB) (down 0.7% to 2,896p) were both stubbed out by investors.

As were utility groups, with water companies United Utilities PLC (LON:UU.) losing 2.2% to 749.8p, and Severn Trent PLC (LON:SVT) shedding 1.4% to sit at 1,975p.

Supermarket giant Tesco PLC (LON:TSCO) was also nursing some losses after announcing that its UK boss, Charles Wilson, has stepped down from the board, having been diagnosed with cancer.

Wilson was formerly the chief executive of Booker, which was acquired by Tesco earlier this year. He had been earmarked by many as a potential successor to current CEO Dave Lewis. Shares fell 1.2% to 256.7p.

10.15am: World Cup and warm weather boosts consumer spending

The World Cup and recent run of good weather have encouraged us Brits to open our wallets a little more, according to the latest Barclays Consumer Spending report.

Spending rose 5.1% last month compared to the same period a year ago, with non-essential spending jumping 5.5% - the highest level in more than 18 months.

Pubs were the big gainers, reporting a 33% rise in spending on the day of England’s first World Cup match.

Importantly, Barclays reckons almost two-thirds of us are feeling positive about our household finances, compared with 57% in May.

“These figures are encouraging, as the effects of the sunny weather and World Cup fever have boosted consumer spending,” said AJ Bell’s personal finance analyst Laura Slater.

“The data only takes into account the first England match, which led to a 33% boost to spending in pubs. This means we can expect July’s figures to be equally as buoyant as more people flocked to bars and pubs to watch the England games.”

9.50am: ‘Carney won’t be in a rush to raise rates next month’

Some decent economic figures of late, coupled with some bullish comments from Bank of England governor Mark Carney, means many economists think interest rates could be raised next week.

This morning’s GDP figure – the UK economy grew by 0.3% in March – was in line with expectations, but Fidelity investment director Tom Stevenson thinks it will encourage Carney and co to keep rates on hold at next month’s meeting.

“The first of a new-style monthly GDP report shows a continuation of an old-style economic story,” said Stevenson.

“Good weather and a Royal Wedding provided a boost to the services side of the economy in the three months to May but construction and manufacturing remain in the doldrums.

“The overall trend is yet to break out of the downward path it has traced since the beginning of 2017. There is nothing in today’s release to suggest that the Bank of England will be rushing to raise rates in August.”

9.35am: UK economy grows by 0.3% in May

The first ever monthly GDP release from the ONS has indicated that the UK economy grew by 0.3% in May, in line with what economists had been expecting.

Financial and legal services were among the main contributors, as was the retail sector, which seems to have bounced back from the Beast of the East with aplomb.

“The manufacturing production figure increased by less than expected and takes the shine off what otherwise would have been a fairly upbeat batch of data,” said XTB Market’s chief market analyst David Cheetham.

8.55am: Footsie only edges higher

The FTSE 100 index only managed modest gains in early trading as sterling steadied after Monday’s Brexit-related worries after Boris Johnson and David Davies quit the UK government, with investors waiting for the next bomb-shell.

Around 8.45am, the UK blue chip index was up about 3 points at 7,681, having slipped back from an opening peak of 7,702.

Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, commented: “A lack of domino-effect following Monday’s Davis/Johnson resignation double whammy – well, so far at least – and the absence of any trade war news led to an underwhelming open on Tuesday.”

He added: “The pound was similarly quiet after its roller-coaster Monday; having surged and then slumped on the respective resignations of David Davis and Boris Johnson, sterling couldn’t make much headway in reclaiming its losses against the dollar and the euro, sitting unchanged at $1.325 and €1.128.”

Campbell continued: “Yet there is the chance for some actual movement, with the UK becoming the first major country to switch its GDP releases from a quarterly to monthly schedule.

“Tuesday’s reading covers the 3 month period to the end of May, and is likely to come in at 0.2%, the same as the official Q1 figure. There’s also manufacturing and industrial production data, set to rise to 1.0% and 0.5% respectively.”

Brexit was also on the minds on the corporate front, with interdealer broker TP-ICAP PLC (LON:TCAP) the London market’s biggest faller, dropping over 30% in value to 283.9p as it said its chief executive officer John Phizackerley is quitting with immediate effect after it warned that Brexit-related costs will see 2018 underlying operating profit miss analysts' expectations.

The world's biggest interdealer broker said full-year earnings would be hurt by additional costs of about £10mln related to Britain's planned departure from the European Union and new rules on market transparency.

Proactive news headlines:

Live Company Group PLC (LON:LVCG) has said its BRICKLIVE Christmas show will launch in Monaco in December this year. The AIM-listed media group said its subsidiary, Brick Live International Limited (BLI), had signed a licence agreement with GrimAldi Forum Monaco (GFM) to stage and promote the BRICKLIVE Christmas show at the GrimAldi Forum in the principality between 22 December 2018 and 6 January 2019.

Kalahari Metals, a privately-held company in which Metal Tiger Ltd. (LON:MTR) has recently invested, has begun exploration for copper and silver in Botswana.

Shanta Gold Ltd (LON:SHG) has met its cost reduction target three months ahead of schedule. The East Africa-focused gold producer has shaved an annualised US$7.2mln from costs by renegotiating contracts with suppliers and by eliminating non-essential general and administrative spending.

Stobart Group Ltd (LON:STOB) intends to make a proposal for former chief executive Andrew Tinkler's 7.7% shareholding as soon as practicable, the Southend Airport owner said today. The company said it has been already been approached by one party interested in making an investment. 

Communication and information technology services provider AdEPT Telecom PLC (LON:ADT) enjoyed another period of strong growth in the year to the end of March, delivering its 15th consecutive year of growth in underlying earnings.

Eckoh PLC (LON:ECK), the global provider of secure payment products and customer contact solutions, has won a contract worth at least £1.4mln with Capita Customer Management.

ITM Power PLC (LON:ITM) revealed, after Monday’s close, that it has agreed a new strategic partnership agreement with Sumitomo Corporation. It sees the potential development of multi-megawatt projects in Japan, based exclusively on ITM Power's electrolyser products.

Collagen Solutions PLC (LON:COS) boss Jamal Rushdy has told investors that the company is in a stronger position after what was a difficult year for the regenerative med-tech group.

Keywords Studios PLC (LON:KWS) has announced it has made a number of key appointments within its leadership team to strengthen the business, further drive integration and support its continued growth path.

An upswing in exploration for minerals in West Africa provided good momentum for Capital Drilling PLC (LON:CAPD) in the latest half-year. Revenues at the drilling contractor rose to US$27.8mln in the quarter to June, a 4.5% increase on the previous quarter though 9.4% lower than a year ago.

Shefa Yamim (A.T.M.) Ltd (LON:SEFA) has reported “encouraging” results from the first bulk sample collected at the Kishon Mid-Reach Zone 2 site. The Israel-focused precious stone explorer said the BS-1230 bulk sample, the first of five collected at the end of 2017 to determine a potential resource, was dominated by gemstones at 99%.

Chaarat Gold Holdings Ltd (LON:CGH) has to date drilled approximately 6,000 metres of the planned 30,000 metre 2018 drilling programme.  Eight drill rigs are currently in operation on site. Already, the company has confirmed that gold mineralisation continues further along strike northeast of the existing one million ounce resource.

Telit Communications PLC (LON:TCM) said it would vigorously defend itself should a civil claim be made against the company regarding its involvement with Bartolini After Market Electronic Services (BAMES) by BAMES's administrators.

discoverIE Group PLC (LON:DSCV) announced that it is convening an extraordinary general meeting to be held on 26 July 2018 at which a resolution of special business will be proposed which will, if passed, resolve the technical non-compliance issue that has been identified with respect to distributable reserves of the group's holding company, which it referred to its full-year results published on 5 June.

6.45am: Positive start expected

The FTSE 100 is expected to start Tuesday positively as the London index continues to find support from a somewhat robust pound - a reflex from the political, Brexit-related headlines of the past 24 hours.

Monday saw the FTSE 100 close some 70 points higher at 7,687.

“The index could find itself trading more in line with its European peers today as the pound attempts to stabilise,” said Jasper Lawler, analyst at London Capital Group.

He added: “Theresa May defiantly stood her ground on Monday; with threats of a vote of no confidence unfounded she lives to fight another day as PM.

“As Theresa May’s position stabilised, the pound managed to pick itself up off its lows and ended Monday just 0.3% lower.”

Tuesday’s UK focus - assuming there aren’t any further Westminster resignations or other Brexit headlines – is likely turn to monthly economic stats with figures due for manufacturing, industrial production and monthly GDP.

In the stock market, Marks & Spencer PLC (LON:MKS) and Occado Group PLC (LON:OCDO) are among the familiar names in Tuesday’s corporate diary.

IG Markets this morning sees the FTSE 100 starting Tuesday’s session on the front foot, with the CFD and spreadbetting firm calling the index about 10 points higher at 7,695 to 7,699.

New York equities were broadly higher on Monday, with the Dow Jones leading Wall Street as it closed 320 points or 1.3% higher at 24,776.

The S&P 500 rose 0.88% to 2,784 while the Nasdaq similarly added 0.88% to finish the day at 7,756.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei climbed 234 points or 1.06% to trade at 22,286 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.22% to 28,752 and the Shanghai Composite was negative, down 0.4% at 2,803.

Australia’s ASX 200 was down 24 points or 0.39% at 6,261.

Around the markets

Sterling: US$1.3234, down 0.2%

Gold: US$1,258 per ounce, unchanged

Brent crude: US$78.59 a barrel, up 1.8%

Significant announcements anticipated for Tuesday July 10:

Trading updates: Marks & Spencer PLC (AGM) (LON:MKS), Robert Walters PLC (LON:RWA), Kier Group PLC (LON:KIE), ITE Group PLC (LON:ITE), Dechra Pharmaceuticals PLC (LON:DPH), Young & Co.’s Brewery PLC (LON:YNGA)

Interims: Ocado PLC (LON:OCDO)

Finals: AdEPT Telecom PLC (LON:ADT), Begbies Traynor Group PLC (LON:BEG), Jaywing PLC (LON:JWNG), Photo Me International PLC (LON:PHTM)

Economic data: UK construction output; UK trade numbers; German ZEW economic sentiment survey; US JOLTS jobs

Headlines

Martin Sorrell beats WPP to MediaMonks acquisition - Financial Times

Britain's broadband speeds are so poor they are down to 35th in the world – Daily Mail

New homes could be required to have electric car charge points – Sky News

Nostalgic social network 'Timehop' loses data from 21 million users – The Register

Pub sales soar as World Cup fever sweeps the nation – The Mirror

Rail firms forced to abandon winter timetable changes – The Guardian

UK house prices should be frozen for five years to prevent another financial crisis – The Independent

Co-op Bank names fifth chief executive in seven years – Financial Times

UK private equity firm ends Chinese aerospace sale after regulator probe – Reuters

Fox prepares new Sky offer to outbid Comcast – Financial Times

Millions of Spanish wine bottles sold off as French rosé – BBC News


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