The Market Report with Katie Pilbeam FTSE 100 edged lower even though the widely followed Gfk retail survey showed an improvement in March with consumer confidence also improving. The blue-chip index shed 11 to 6,927.
Britain’s borrowing in March hit a new record of £28bn as the government continued to support the economy through the pandemic. Total borrowing so far this financial year is now £303bn or £250bn higher than twelve months ago.
Joe Biden, meanwhile, is looking to sort the US ‘s growing debt by taxing the rich. Wealthy Americans face hikes in the top rate of income tax and on investment gains under proposals unveiled overnight by the US President.
FirstGroup PLC (LON:FGP) has agreed on the sale of its First Student and First Transit bus operations to infrastructure investor EQT for US$4.6bn (£3.3bn). Shareholders will get a 30p special dividend with the group going forward to be just a UK bus and rail operator.
Among the small caps, Genedrive PLC (LON:GDR) said its HCV test was effective in an independent study evaluating real-world performance in low and middle-income countries. It was trialled on 426 participants in Georgia and Cameroon.
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (LON:BMY) has bought certain assets of Red Globe Press, the academic imprint, for £3.7mln. It specialises in books for higher education students, with over 7,000 titles on the backlist.
Symphony Environmental Technologies PLC’s (LON:SYM) antimicrobial film will cover seats and handles of buses of a city in Brazil. Over 400,000 passengers will be protected from coronavirus and other bacteria.