FTSE falls over Covid fears, China and US Fed concerns overshadow Morrisons bid and M&S update

FTSE 100 turned lower again as fears over Covid, China and the US Fed raising interest rates overshadowed a higher bid for Morrisons and a rare good trading update from M&S. London’s blue-chip index dropped 13 to 7,045 in early trades.

Marks and Spencer Group PLC (LSE:MKS) (LSE:MKS) announced a strong start to the year and an upgrade in its profit outlook for 2021. The retailer said it now expects full-year adjusted profits to come in at the upper end of previous guidance of £300-£350mln provided there are no further trading restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC (LSE:MRW) (LSE:MRW) confirmed that it has agreed an improved offer worth 285p per share in cash from US private equity group Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, valuing the grocer at £7bn. CD&R’s offer trumps the £6.7bn offer from rival bidder Fortress. Morrisons said it has now dropped its backing for the Fortress bid.

Tesla is planning to launch the prototype of a humanoid  robot next year, chief executive Elon Musk said at the company’s latest artificial intelligence (AI) day.  The robot is designed to eliminate “dangerous, repetitive and boring tasks,” Musk told the audience, adding that “essentially the future of physical work will be a choice.”
Argo Blockchain PLC (LSE:ARB, OTCQX:ARBKF, FRA:0XP) (LSE:ARB, OTCQX:ARBKF, FRA:0XP) has filed for an initial public offer (IPO) in New York on the Nasdaq Global Market. The carbon-neutral cryptocurrency miner said it intends to list under the symbol ‘ARBK’ and will maintain its listing in London.

Yooma Wellness Inc (CSE:YOOM, OTC:LVVEF, AQSE:YOOM, FRA:7AI) has followed up its London listing by completing the £10.2mln acquisition of Vitality CBD Limited, a market leader in cannabidiol products. Vitality’s presence at mainstream retail outlets such as Boots, Tesco, Asda and Lloyds Pharmacy will add “a significant source of recurring revenue”, Yooma said.

Genel Energy PLC (LSE:GENL, FRA:4VL, OTC:GEGYY) told investors that it will take steps to protect its rights in the Kurdistan region in northern Iraq, after it received notice from the regional government’s Ministry of Natural Resources stating its intention to terminate the Bina Bawi and Miran PSCs. In a stock market statement, it said: “Genel believes that the KRG has no grounds for issuing its notices of intention to terminate.

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