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The company said the COVID-19 crisis had a 15 million pound impact in the last two months of its financial year as box volumes declined and industrial customers remained weak. The company, which makes cardboard boxes and recycled paper, reported an adjusted operating profit of 660 million pounds, up from 631 million pounds last year.
Novartis AG <NOVN.S> agreed to pay more than $729 million to settle U.S. government charges it paid illegal kickbacks to doctors and patients to boost drug sales, the U.S. Department of Justice said on Wednesday. The Swiss drugmaker will pay $678 million to resolve claims it organized tens of thousands of sham educational events where it lavished doctors with exorbitant speaker fees, expensive dinners and alcohol to induce them to prescribe its cardiovascular and diabetes drugs more often. It will also pay $51.25 million to resolve charges it funneled money through three charitable foundations to cover co-payments of Medicare patients so they would purchase its drugs.
Associated British Foods <ABF.L> said on Thursday that trading in its Primark fashion stores that have reopened after coronavirus lockdown has been "reassuring and encouraging". All Primark stores were shuttered in March as the pandemic spread. AB Foods said that since the reopening of the first stores on May 4, cumulative sales for the seven weeks period to June 20 were 322 million pounds ($403 million) and were 12% lower than last year on a like-for-like basis.
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Associated British Foods said that trading in its Primark fashion stores that have reopened after coronavirus lockdown had been "reassuring and encouraging". All Primark stores were shuttered in March as the pandemic spread. As governments eased lockdown restrictions the stores reopened, including all 153 stores in England on June 15. AB Foods said that since the reopening of the first stores on May 4, cumulative sales for the seven weeks period to June 20 were £322m and were 12pc lower than last year on a like-for-like basis. Sales in the week ended June 20, with over 90pc of selling space reopened, were £133m and trading in England and Ireland was ahead of the same week last year. However ABF warned of a divergence between its regional stores and its city centre sites. "Most of our regional stores are performing well, especially in retail parks. Our stores in the centre of big cities are suffering from the current absence of tourism and much lower commuter footfall." Sales at the high street retailer plummeted by 75pc over the past quarter due to the coronavirus lockdown.
European refiners especially are moving away from sour varieties like Russian Urals, which have risen in price since a supply cut pact by producer countries made the grades scarcer, towards althernatives like U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI), West African grades, CPC Blend and Azeri oil. "Many discounted barrels from the U.S. are arriving in Northwest Europe," one European importer of both Nigerian and U.S. oil said. Although gasoline stocks in northwest Europe remain close to all-time highs and refining margins are still in the doldrums, the bargain price of lighter, sweeter crude is hard to refuse.
Commodity trade financiers in Singapore are teaming up to strengthen lending practices and improve transparency in the sector following a spate of defaults at trading firms, four sources with knowledge of the matter said. Hin Leong Trading Pte Ltd, one of Asia's biggest oil traders, and three other Singapore-based commodity traders ran into severe financial difficulties this year, hit hard by an oil price crash and a slump in fuel demand due to the coronavirus pandemic. Commodity trade finance chiefs from about 20 banks including HSBC Holdings Plc <HSBA.L>, DBS Group Holdings Ltd <DBSM.SI> and OCBC <OCBC.SI>, have formed a working group to propose new guidelines, the sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity as the news has not been made public.
Japan will issue 500 billion yen ($4.7 billion) less in bonds than it had planned for last fiscal year and instead tap reserves to fill tax revenue shortfalls caused by the coronavirus, several government sources said on Thursday. As the pandemic hit corporate profits, the government has revised down tax revenues for the fiscal year that ended in March to 58.4 trillion yen, from the 60.2 trillion yen estimated in December. The government will tap reserves and non-tax revenues to fill the shortfall to prevent total budget revenues from falling short of expenditures, the sources said on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to speak publicly.
Every day, energy merchants collect and scrutinize whatever information they can find on fuel demand to get a trading edge: from satellite data tracking oil tankers worldwide to thermal images from cameras on pipelines and storage tanks. Real-time data on fuel demand would be the ultimate prize. Traders were chasing any clue to fathom the speed of recovery from the fastest and deepest collapse in fuel demand in history during coronavirus lockdowns.
Former Barclays chief executive John Varley is due to give evidence at a High Court trial after the bank became embroiled in a £1.6 billion battle with a businesswoman, Press Association has reported.A judge is considering evidence at a trial at the High Court and Varley is scheduled to begin giving evidence on Thursday.
U.S. pipeline company Energy Transfer <ET.N> has taken the rare step of invoking force majeure - normally used in times of war or natural disaster - to prevent oil firms from walking away from a proposed expansion of the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Energy Transfer wants to nearly double the size of the line, and some companies that signed up say it is no longer necessary due to the sharp fall in U.S. oil production after the coronavirus pandemic. DAPL is the largest pipeline running out of North Dakota's Bakken shale basin.
Britain's biggest cardboard box maker DS Smith has seen a surge in revenues from the work-from-home boost for Amazon and other online retailers.The global giant DS Smith said demand from industrial clients for its boxes had fallen sharply due to covid, but that its business supporting e-commerce firms had boomed.
While fuel demand is gradually recovering as lockdown measures ease, a second coronavirus wave could quickly undermine the trend, industry data showed last week. A Reuters poll on Tuesday estimated oil prices will consolidate at around $40 a barrel this year, with a recovery gaining steam in the fourth quarter and into 2021 on OPEC-led production cuts and as economies limp back from coronavirus lockdowns.
Primark saw sales slump by 75% in the third quarter as the UK lockdown hurt the physical stores-only retailer – but it said trading since reopening has been “encouraging”.The chain reported the slump in sales to £582 million from March 1 to June 20, including just five days since UK stores reopened. Owner Associated British Food’s quarterly revenues were down 39% to £2.6 billion, aided by a strong performance in its grocery arm, which includes the Twinings tea brand. So far this year, group revenues are down 13% to £10.2 billion.
The Duchess of Sussex said she felt "unprotected" the monarchy and was "prohibited from defending herself" against media reports while pregnant, court documents have revealed.Meghan Markle’s remarks emerged from the latest submissions in her legal action against the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and Mail Online, after articles included extracts of a letter she sent to her father in 2018.
The Labor Department's closely watched monthly employment report on Thursday would add to a stream of data, including consumer spending, showing a sharp rebound in activity. The impact of these decisions will not show up in the employment data as the government surveyed businesses in the middle of the month.
The dollar was on the defensive against more growth-sensitive currencies on Thursday, following upbeat U.S. and European economic data, though worries about the coronavirus blunted more aggressive risk taking ahead of upcoming U.S. jobs figures. Against a basket of currencies, the greenback slipped marginally and is tracking toward its worst week in a month, with a 0.4% fall - though it could shift significantly in either direction depending on U.S. jobs data due at 1230 GMT. "Any reasonable reaction to this number must also price in the resurgence in cases," said Vishnu Varathan, head of economics at Mizuho Bank in Singapore, adding that a strong beat is needed to boost sentiment.
Shares were expected to rise today after US technology stocks hit new record highs last night.The tech-heavy Nasdaq index has rebounded with a gravity-defying surge from the covid markets crash, surging even more than the wider Dow Jones and S&P; indices, which have both regained their losses since unprecedented fiscal and monetary support was pumped in by government and the Federal Reserve to support the economy and asset prices.
Hotel and tourism markets in the Isle of Wight, Exeter, Norwich, Blackpool and Cornwall will also be quick to recover, according to new research.
Twenty advocacy groups from the United States, Europe, Latin America and elsewhere signed a statement Wednesday urging regulators to be wary of Google's $2.1 billion bid for fitness tracker company Fitbit Inc <FIT.N> because of privacy and competition concerns. The 20 organizations - which include the U.S.-based Public Citizen, Access Now from Europe and the Brazilian Institute of Consumer Defense - argued that the deal would expand the already considerable clout in digital markets of Alphabet Inc's <GOOGL.O> Google.
The company will reduce its international and transcontinental crew to the minimum required by the Federal Aviation Administration, plus one flight attendant, effective from Oct. 1, 2020, Jill Surdek, American Airlines' vice-president of flight service, said in a letter to employees on Wednesday. U.S. carriers have warned that furloughs could take place in October, when the government payroll aid for the airline industry expires, but said they were hoping to avoid them. The company said it would initiate early-out programs to minimize the need for furloughs and would address the excess numbers in the coming weeks.
A coronavirus-driven collapse in fuel demand is threatening Australia's oil refining industry, just as supply chain disruptions wrought by the pandemic have focused the government on the need to shore up fuel security. Already dependent on imports for more than half its fuel needs after the closure of four refineries since 2003, industry and analysts say at least one of the country's four remaining refineries could close unless the government steps in. "When the global margin environment weakens and gets tougher, the threat of closure definitely increases," said Sushant Gupta, head of Asia Pacific downstream oil and gas research at consultants Wood Mackenzie.