Weekly review

Josh White WebFG News | 06 Oct, 2017 16:46 - Updated: 16:46 | | |

The FTSE 100 ended the week up 149.62 points, or 2.03%, at 7,522.87.

Equity view

Unilever has called a deadline for bids for its £6bn spreads business of 19 October, according to reports overnight.

Budget airline easyJet said on Friday that headline pre-tax profit for the year is expected to be at the upper end of the previously guided range as it reported a record number of passengers over the summer.

CRH's proposed $3.5bn acquisition of US-based Ash Grove has been derailed after the Kansas company received a potentially larger rival offer.

Ultra Electronics confirmed on Friday that Sparton Corporation shareholders had approved the takeover by Ultra.

Aviva said it had agreed to buy a majority shareholding in low cost investment service Wealthify Group for an undisclosed sum.

Balfour Beatty said it was selling its US unit Heery to CBRE Group for $57m (£42m) to allow it to expand operations in the region.

Medical products group BTG grew sales at double-digits at constant exchange rates in the first half of the year and confirmed it was on track for the full year, while also announcing it has acquired a US-based cardiovascular catheters business.

Ferrexpo reported a drop in pellet production for the third quarter on Thursday due to its ongoing pellet line maintenance programme.

Topps Tiles warned on Wednesday that full-year profit will be at the lower end of the current range of market expectations as market conditions "remain challenging" despite a moderate improvement in the group's final quarter.

Shares in 888 Holdings fell on Wednesday after Sinitus sold its entire stake in the online gambling group via an accelerated bookbuild.

CLS Holdings has renewed leases on 14 government properties across the UK with average rent falling 15%.

Convenience retailer McColl's Retail said on Wednesday that co-founder and non-executive director James Lancaster has stepped down from the board with immediate effect.

Coca‑Cola HBC, one of the Coca-Cola Company’s largest bottling partners, announced on Tuesday that its CEO, Dimitris Lois, died on 2 October.

Britvic said on Tuesday that it plans to close its plant in Norwich and transfer production of Robinsons and Fruit Shoot to its manufacturing sites in East London, Leeds and Rugby, in a move that will affect 242 employees.

Bakery chain Greggs reported solid third quarter growth on Tuesday, claiming total sales were up 8.6% in the 13 weeks to 30 September, compared to 5.6% growth at the same time last year, while like-for-like sales in company-managed shops improved 5.0%, up from 2.8%.

Indivior has submitted a new drug application in the US for a once-monthly injectable schizophrenia treatment and agreed to buyout patent rights from a manufacturer of similar antipsychotic medication.

Vodafone Group announced on Monday that its Vodafone Portugal division, and Portuguese telecommunications and media conglomerate NOS, have signed an agreement to deploy and share a fibre-to-the-home network which would be marketable to around 2.6 million homes and businesses in Portugal.

Kaz Minerals said on Monday that following continued commissioning progress, the Aktogay sulphide plant has been declared commercial.

Electronic trading services provider NEX Group has warned that first-half profit margins will be hit by increased investment in its Optimisations business and ongoing low volatility on its Reset business.

Tritax Big Box has exchanged contracts with LondonMetric to acquire a national distribution centre on Danes Way at the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal in Northamptonshire, currently let to Royal Mail Group, the two firms announced on Monday.

Economic news

UK retail sales were solid in September but growth remained weak amid rising prices, a consumer crunch and declining high street footfall.

The average house price in the UK hit its highest on record in September, underpinned by a shortage of homes, according to data from lender Halifax.

UK new car sales fell steeply in the historically strong month of September for the first time in six years to record their sixth monthly decline in a row.

Banks would start to move out of the UK if a Brexit transition deal was not agreed by Christmas, a Bank of England deputy governor warned.

Activity in the UK services sector unexpectedly improved in September but new business growth fell to a 13-month low, according to a survey released on Wednesday.

Theresa May revealed new plans to pump £2bn into affordable housing in her speech at the Conservative party conference on Wednesday, also confirming that parliament would debate legislation for an energy price cap as soon as next week.

UK construction activity declined for first time in 13 months in September, according to a closely followed survey of the industry that indicated "fragile" client confidence and a lack of new infrastructure projects was hitting new business volumes.

Brexit poses "significant risks" to financial services companies, the Bank of England's financial stability committee warned in a report on Tuesday, which also admitted for the first time that the market's reliance on Libor had created a financial stability risk.

Growth in the UK's manufacturing sector eased back more than expected in September, according to figures released on Monday.

Shares in housebuilding companies were lifted on Monday after Theresa May said the government will plough a further £10bn into extending the Help to Buy scheme.

International events

US President Donald Trump is preparing to decertify the Iran nuclear agreement, according to several US media reports.

Former Federal Reserve Board governor and Morgan Stanley banker Kevin Warsh has a 40% chance of being appointed as the new chair of the Fed, according to Oxford Economics.

Eurozone retail sales strengthened last month as the currency bloc's three largest economies all delivered simultaneous sales growth for the first time in over two years.

US-backed Iraqi forces announced on Thursday that they had recaptured Hawija, a city about 300km north of Baghdad, which had been under the rule of IS since 2014.

King Felipe of Spain has launched a scathing criticism of Catalan authorities in the aftermath of the controversial independence referendum in the region on Sunday.

The European Commission has referred Ireland to court for failing make Apple pay back taxes worth up to €13bn, in an illegal state aid case disputed by both the company and state.

The autonomous Kurdistan enclave in Northern Iraq plans to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on 1 November after Kurds vote for independence in last month's referendum.

The unemployment rate in the eurozone was steady in August, according to the latest data from Eurostat.

The European Commission has sided with Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy in the fallout related to Catalonia's tumultuous independence referendum, backing his claim that the vote was illegal but also calling for dialogue between Madrid and Barcelona.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced on Saturday that the White House had been in direct contact with North Korean officials to discuss the rogue nation's nuclear programme.

More news

00:20 US close: Wall Street mixed ahead of Thanksgiving holiday

Wall Street finished mixed on Wednesday, following the record highs set the day before and amid lighter-than-usual trading volumes ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.

22 Nov Jefferies upgrades Kingfisher to 'buy', raises target price

Analysts at Jefferies upgraded home improvement products retailer Kingfisher (KGF) to 'buy' from its previous 'hold' rating on Wednesday, raising its target price from 310p to 400p along the way.

22 Nov Europe close: German stocks give back gains amid political impasse

Stocks ended the session modestly lower as traders waited for the release of the minutes of the US Federal Reserve's last rate-setting meeting in the evening and monitored the news-flow out of Germany, amid speculation that a 'grand coalition' between Germany's two main political parties, the centre-right CDU/CSU and the Socialist SPD, may yet be possible.

22 Nov Lebanon prime minister Hariri retracts resignation

Saad al-Hariri has revoked his resignation as Lebanon's prime minister, according to a local news report on Wednesday.

22 Nov Budget: Planning probe spooks builders, mixed reaction for stamp duty cut

A range of new housing policies were proposed by Chancellor Philip Hammond in his Budget statement, including more funds for smaller housebuilder, a probe into potential holding of land by major housebuilders and a stamp duty cut for first-time buyers.

22 Nov US open: Shares hold ground ahead of FOMC minutes

Wall Street is holding its ground following the record highs set the day before, albeit amid lighter than usual trading volumes ahead of the Thanksgiving Holiday on Thursday, with investors looking to the release of the minutes of the most recent meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee.

22 Nov London close: Stocks higher on UK budget

Shares closed higher on Wednesday as investors sifted through corporate releases as well as the Autumn Budget.

22 Nov FTSE 250 movers: Qinetiq boosted by Berenberg note as Thomas Cook tanks

The FTSE 250 index was up around 0.50% on the day in which Chancellor Philip Hammond revealed his budget for the upcoming year.

22 Nov Higher margins offset declining sales volumes at Cambria

Motor dealer Cambria Automobiles managed to successfully grow profit and revenue throughout the financial year, as per-unit profits counteracted a slide in sales volumes.

22 Nov First production at Texas asset transforms Pantheon Resources into full-cycle energy and power business

Oil and gas exploration firm Pantheon Resources announced "another year of progress" in its full-year results on Wednesday, as it completed the transition from a pure-play exploration company to a full-cycle energy and power business.