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

21:47 US close: Stocks finish higher on impressive factory data

Stocks started the week higher on Monday, on the back of a stronger-than-expected reading on the Empire State factory index and amid somewhat hawkish Fedpseak.

18:03 Europe close: Political standoff weighs on Spanish stocks

Stocks on the Continent were little changed at the start of the week, save in Spain where the ongoing political standoff between the central government in Madrid and regional officials in Catalonia weighed on sentiment.

17:53 Mercedes-Benz to recall almost 400,000 vehicles over faulty airbags

German multinational automotive group Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, announced on Monday that they would recall nearly 400,000 vehicles that were potentially fitted with a faulty airbag.

17:40 London close: Stocks slip lower despite gains for miners

London stocks slipped on Monday as miners rallied on the back of Chinese inflation data, but Convatec slid after a profit warning.

16:39 Airbus chief willing to step down if 'no longer part of the solution'

Tom Enders, chief executive of French aeronautical giant Airbus, said on Sunday that he would be willing to step down from the role he had held since 2012 in an effort to safely guide the firm through ongoing corruption investigations.

16:31 US open: Stocks push higher following upbeat factory data

Stocks have started the week higher on the back of a stronger-than-expected reading on the Empire State factory index and amid somewhat hawkish Fedpseak.

16:22 Telit confirms talks to offload automotive division

AIM-quoted machine-to-machine (M2M) communications provider Telit Communications confirmed it was in "very early stage" talks to sell its automotive division.

16:07 Tuesday preview: UK inflation could top 3pc; results from Pearson, Merlin, Asos

UK and eurozone inflation will be the big focus of the day, while the new reporting season kicks in with Asos, Bellway, London Stocks Exchange, Merlin Entertainment, Pearson and Virgin Money.

16:05 Stellar Diamonds agrees sale price for Guinea assets

West Africa-focussed diamond development company Stellar Diamonds announced on Monday that it has signed conditional share purchase agreements with Gold Knight - a wholly-owned subsidiary company of BDG Capital - in relation to the proposed sale of Stellar's assets in the Republic of Guinea, as it had previously announced on 5 June and 14 August.

15:59 Genedrive signs distribution agreement with Sysmex

Near-patient molecular diagnostics company Genedrive announced on Monday that it has signed a distribution agreement with Sysmex Europe, a subsidiary of Sysmex Corporation, for the Genedrive HCV ID Kit and Genedrive platform in the Europe-Middle East-Africa region, with an initial focus on Africa.