Weekly review

Josh White WebFG News | 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

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The top flight index recovered some ground on Friday, but mostly on account of weakness in Sterling after German Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly echoed other European Union officials, saying "the most difficult phase is ahead of us".

15 Dec Week ahead: US data, Catalan elections in focus

The focus in the coming week will continue to be on the ebb and flow of data out of the US, including Republicans' progress on securing passage of their tax cuts.

15 Dec US open: Stocks jump as Republicans move to secure passage of tax cuts

Wall Street is heading higher again on Friday amid news that Republicans were tweaking their proposed tax cuts in order to secure prompt passage of the US tax bill.

15 Dec Airbus chief executive to step down in board shake-up

The chief executive of French planemaker Airbus will step down from his position in 2019 as the company announced a major shake-up of its management team.

15 Dec FTSE 250 movers: TalkTalk rises but Serco gives back gains

London’s FTSE 250 was up 0.1% to 20,023.23 in afternoon trade on Friday as the Christmas lull kicked in.

15 Dec US industrial production rises slightly less than expected in November

Industrial production in the States rose slightly less quickly than expected last month, despite higher output of business equipment and materials.

15 Dec Strategic Minerals renegotiates acquisition of Leigh Creek Copper Mine

Diversified mineral production and development company Strategic Minerals announced on Friday that, after the successful completion of technical and financial due diligence on the Leigh Creek Copper Mine company, it has agreed to continue with the acquisition on renegotiated terms.

15 Dec FTSE 100 movers: Sky jumps but retailers retreat on H&M sales

London’s FTSE 100 was up 0.3% to 7,469.23 in quiet afternoon trade on Friday.

15 Dec Gfinity partners with Microsoft for next Halo World Championship

International esports entertainment group Gfinity has been named as a preferred event partner to Microsoft for the forthcoming ‘Halo World Championship 2018’ for the next season, it announced on Friday.

15 Dec Hutchison Chi-Med begins fruquintinib trial in US

Hutchison China MediTech, known as Chi-Med, has initiated the United States Phase I bridging clinical trial of fruquintinib, it announced on Friday.