Weekly review

Josh White Sharecast | 21 Apr, 2017 16:52 | | |

The FTSE 100 ended the week down 227.07 points, or 3.09%, at 7,114.55.

Equity view

Private equity firm Electra said it had received £67m from AXIO Group in relation to the sale of information provider RISI.

Restaurant Group said chief financial officer, Barry Nightingale was stepping down from the board and leaving the company with immediate effect.

Property developer Hammerson secured a £360m loan at an initial margin of 90 basis points from a syndicate of fourteen banks in a bid to reduce its debt.

Aviva bought VietinBank's entire 50% shareholding in its life insurance joint venture VietinBank Aviva Life Insurance Limited and signed a new distribution agreement with VietinBank to sell life and health insurance products through its network of more than 1,100 branches.

Consumer products group Reckitt Benckiser posted a trading update for its first quarter on Friday, reporting it was in line with expectations with continued strong performance in the health division led by Mucinex and Durex.

Investors in paper and plastics product supplier Essentra were gathering for the company’s annual general meeting on Thursday, where chairman Paul Lester was set to confirm trading for the financial year to date had been in line with the board's expectations.

Technical products supplier Diploma bought Abacus ALS, the largest privately owned supplier of in-vitro diagnostics products in Australia and New Zealand, for up to £15. 7m (AU$26m).

Unilever upped its quarterly dividend 12% as underlying sales grew 2. 9% in the first three months of the year, despite sales volumes remaining in the red for the third consecutive quarter.

Rio Tinto said first quarter copper production fell 37% month on month and year on year due to issues at its mines in Chile and Indonesia.

Specialist retailer of greeting cards, dressings and gifts Card Factory announced the appointment of Kristian (Kris) Lee to the board as chief financial officer on Thursday.

Luxury fashion brand Burberry reported a drop in total underlying revenue in the second half as an "exceptional" performance in the UK was offset by efforts to improve brand positioning in the US and in the beauty business.

Segro said on Wednesday that it has had an "excellent start" to 2017, signing £16m of new headline rent.

Pest control and hygiene group Rentokil Initial posted its first quarter trading update on Wednesday, with ongoing revenue rising 23. 8% - or 10% at constant exchange rates - to £579m.

Victrex announced that David Hummel plans to retire as chief executive at the end of March 2018 after 24 years at the company.

Outsourcing company Bunzl reported a rise in first quarter revenue following new business wins and acquisitions.

Net inflows returned at Ashmore Group in the three months to the end of March as investors regained confidence in emerging markets.

Production began at LGO Energy's second well in the Goudron Field in Trinidad at a rate that suggests the company will be able to substantially increase production over the coming year.

London-listed miner Gem Diamonds appointed Harry Kenyon-Slaney as chairman and a non-executive director, succeeding Roger Davis who will step down at the next shareholder meeting on 6 June.

Exeter-based airline Flybe Group announced on Tuesday that its chief financial officer Philip de Klerk had resigned to take up the position of CFO at AIM-traded materials firm Low & Bonar.

Amec Foster Wheeler was awarded a new contract by China Energy Engineering Group Guangdong Power Engineering Co (GPEC), for the design and supply of two circulating fluidized-bed (CFB) steam generator boilers, and technical advisory services.

Economic news

UK retail sales fell in March to record their first quarterly decline since 2013 as the falling pound sent shop prices soaring, which suggests the consumer spending slowdown is gathering pace and that the Bank of England may not raise interest rates for some time.

Inflation and growth may outstrip the Bank of England's most recent forecasts, the Monetary Policy Committee's Michael Saunders said.

UK lenders upped mortgage lending by 19% in March compared to February, but was down by almost the same proportion compared to last year.

England has as many as 200,145 empty properties across the country, with homes to the value of £43bn being left idle.

Star fund manager Neil Woodford drummed up £553m from investors in his new income fund since it launched last month.

Almost half of small to medium enterprises lost money during the tax self-assessment process in the last year, a new survey released on Tuesday suggested, at a time when the Government was pushing through its ‘Making Tax Digital’ initiative.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced the UK will hold a general election on 8 June.

International events

Business activity in the eurozone hit a six-year high in April, according to preliminary data released on Friday.

The most likely outcome of the French elections was a victory for either the centrist or centre-right candidates, Emmanuele Macron and Francois Fillon, strategists at Citi said.

US jobless claims rose last week, edging past economists forecasts, even as a key measure of labour market slack fell to its lowest level since the turn of the century.

Factory activity in the US mid-Atlantic region cooled in April alongside a decrease in price pressures.

Car registrations in the European Union rebounded in March, led by rebounds in France and Germany, but analysts said they continued to point to a gradual slowdown.

The White House's push on tax reforms will ultimately succeed, although it may be delayed, meaning interest rate markets were being overly pessimistic, strategists at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch argued.

US industrial production grew a tad more quickly than expected last month, with a surge in utilities output more than offsetting weakness in manufacturing.

Criticism of Turkey's referendum result grew louder on Tuesday, with the European observers claiming close to three million votes could have been manipulated.

More news

28 Apr S&P reaffirms AA rating on UK, outlook clouded by Brexit

Standard&Poor's reaffirmed its rating on the United Kingdom's long-term sovereign debt but warned of the potential impact on the economy from the uncertainty around the Brexit negotiations and their eventual outcome.

28 Apr FX round-up: Sterling nonchalant after UK Q1 growth disappoints

Sterling made steady gains on most key cross on Friday, appearing nonchalant in its reaction to disappointing UK economic growth data out mid-morning.

28 Apr Europe close: Weak US, UK GDP weigh on shareson the continent

European stocks ended the day on a mixed note after weak readings on UK and US GDP dragged many indices into the red at the end of the month.

28 Apr Laird off to solid start, but second half remains key

Electronic component maker Laird reported strong sales growth in the first quarter of 2017 after a difficult year.

28 Apr General Motors truck and SUV sales drive record earnings

Growth at General Motors accelerated past analyst forecasts with a record first-quarter set of earnings.

28 Apr RBS and Lloyds Bank customers hit by online glitch on payday

Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group customers were prevented from accessing money in their accounts due to a technical glitch ahead of the bank holiday weekend.

28 Apr Kennedy Wilson confirms quarterly dividend, new office leases

Kennedy Wilson Europe Real Estate announced it will pay an interim quarterly dividend of 12.0p per share, while also reporting strong leasing momentum across key investments in Greater London and Dublin.

28 Apr Time spins backwards on decision not to sell business

Time Inc stock reversed recent gains after the board decided not to sell the publishing business as it was being "reinvigorated" under a new strategy.

28 Apr Morgan Stanley downgrades Berendsen on competition concerns

Berendsen not only needs to invest in property, plant and equipment but is facing increasing competition in the UK, warned Morgan Stanley as it downgraded the stock on Friday.

28 Apr UK mortgages and consumer credit card borrowing both decline - BBA

Mortgage approvals and consumer credit card lending both fell in March according to fresh data from the banking industry, providing the reason for the fall in house prices announced elsewhere on Friday.