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FTSE 100 Live 13 February: Tui votes to quit LSE by 98%, US inflation setback pushes London index down 0.8%

FTSE 100 Live (Evening Standard)
FTSE 100 Live (Evening Standard)

Interest rate cut hopes were dealt a blow today after this morning’s jobs and wages figures came in above expectations.

The evidence that the labour market is not cooling in the way the Bank of England might like adds to jitters ahead of tomorrow’s January inflation reading.

In an otherwise lacklustre session for the London market, the $50,000 threshold for Bitcoin and the Nasdaq advance of shares in Arm Holdings provided interest.

FTSE 100 Live Tuesday

  • Jobs figures weaken rate cut hopes

  • TUI earnings boost ahead of City exit

  • Bitcoin trading near to $50,000

Tui to leave London Stock Exchange in favour of Germany

18:00 , Simon Hunt

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Tui shareholders have voted for the travel company to abandon the company’s London listing and focus on Germany.

The move deals another heavy blow to London’s languishing stock markets.

The company said on Tuesday morning that the removal of its shares from trading in the UK would bring “understandable advantages”, and added later that it had a 98.3% majority in favour of only listing in Frankfurt during an afternoon vote.

The firm’s stock market listing in London will end on June 24, when it also expects to be admitted on to the Frankfurt Stock Exchange’s Dax index.

CFO Mathias Kiep said: “The advantages of a main listing in Frankfurt are obvious: the structures are simplified, liquidity is centralised and improved in one trading venue, and the simplified structure supports the EU requirements for ownership and control of our airlines.”

Read more here

Air Mail valuation cut in half by Daily Mail group

17:30 , Simon Hunt

Air Mail has seen its valuation slashed by nearly 50% amid reports the fledgling magazine is in takeover talks.

Daily Mail owner DMGT cut the value of its 3% stake in the business by 46% to £0.7 million, accounts filed with Companies House today show. That would imply a drop in the company’s valuation from $55 million to around $30 million.

But the magazine, set up by industry veteran and ex-Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, could see its value revised back up to as much as $50 million in a takeover deal by US roofing company Standard Industries, whose co-CEOs, David and David, are seeking to diversify the business, according to a report by Semafor.

Current investors RedBird, who are also seeking to mount a takeover of the Telegraph and Spectator titles in the UK, are reportedly seeking to sell their stake.

read more here

 (Air Mail)
(Air Mail)

End-of-day market snapshot

17:08 , Daniel O'Boyle

Take a look at our closing snapshot of a tough day on the markets.

FTSE 100 lowest close since January

16:40 , Daniel O'Boyle

The FTSE 100 has closed at its lowest level this month: down 0.8% to 7,512.28.

London’s top flight was close to flat for most of the morning, until hotter-than-expected US inflation data put shares under pressure.

Housebuilders made up most of the top fallers, with Barratt and Taylor Wimpey among the big losers.

AstraZeneca led a truncated risers’ board.

At one stage, London’s top flight was as llow as 7496.

Only six risers, but FTSE back above 7500

16:25 , Daniel O'Boyle

A slight recovery has put the FTSE 100 back above the 7500, but only six firms are up for the day.

AstraZeneca, GSK, Centrica, HSBC, BP and DS Smith are currently the only risers.

Britain's 'big five' banks prepare to deliver record-breaking total profits

16:19 , Daniel O'Boyle

Britain’s five biggest quoted bank are on course to deliver record combined profits when they reveal their financial results for 2023 over the coming days.

Analysts forecasts suggest NatWest, Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and Standard Chartered will announce total pre-tax profits of £51.6 billion in this reporting season, more than the GDP of an economy the size of Serbia. That is well above the previous high water mark of £35.8 billion immediately before the financial crisis.

HSBC, the biggest of the quintet, and Lloyds are expected to have made record profits, while the other three are forecast to have made strong profits slightly below the highs.

Read more here

'Markets may be disappointed tomorrow' by inflation reading

16:11 , Daniel O'Boyle

Ahead of the UK’s Inflation data due to be announced tomorrow morning, chief investment officer at investment group Ravenscroft, said: “The range of outcomes is wider than usual due to weight changes but tomorrow’s number could end the recent run of downside surprises at say 4.1% versus 4%, mainly due to base effects. Whilst food inflation fell sharply in January, services inflation remains sticky and energy likely had a slightly negative impact in January.

“Markets may be disappointed tomorrow but all components of inflation are declining rapidly and inflation could positively surprise markets and the MPC and be back at 2% by April/May.”

Legal tech firm Farewill sees value written down more than £50 million by shareholder Daily Mail

15:54 , Daniel O'Boyle

Legal tech firm Farewill has seen its valuation slashed by more than £50 million by one of its major shareholders, the Standard has learnt, amid growing signs European tech firms are struggling to hold on to the heady valuations they attracted during the height of the pandemic.

Media company Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) cut its estimate of the value of its 4.3% stake in Farewill by two-thirds, accounts filed with Companies House today show, implying a valuation drop from £86 million to £30 million.

DGMT first invested in Farewill, which provides online will writing services, back in 2018, and has struck deals with Farewill to place advertising features on the Daily Mail website. Other investors include co-founder of Zoopla Alex Chesterman and Wise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus.

Read more here

Farewill value cut by more than £50 million

15:51 , Simon Hunt

Legal tech firm Farewill has seen its valuation slashed by more than £50 million by one of its major shareholders, the Standard has learnt, amid growing signs European tech firms are struggling to hold on to the heady valuations they attracted during the height of the pandemic.

Media company Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) cut its estimate of the value of its 4.3% stake in Farewill by two-thirds, accounts filed with Companies House today show, implying a valuation drop from £86 million to £30 million.

DGMT first invested in Farewill, which provides online will writing services, back in 2018, and has struck deals with Farewill to place advertising features on the Daily Mail website. Other investors include co-founder of Zoopla Alex Chesterman and Wise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus.

Farewill CEO Dan Garrett told the Standard: “Farewill is on course to generate record levels of revenue and growth this financial year. The market opportunity remains as strong as ever and we are the best placed player to disrupt the £5bn end-of-life market.”

read more here

Farewill (Farewill)
Farewill (Farewill)

Body Shop collapse a 'sorry reminder' of retail sector trouble

15:48 , Daniel O'Boyle

Speaking on the collapse of The Body Shop, Russell Pointon, director of consumer at Edison Group, says: “While the official announcement that The Body Shop has gone into administration is no surprise, the potential disappearance of an almost 50-year-old high street staple is a sorry reminder of the difficulties currently facing retailers and increasing competitive pressures. Now will come a painful cost-cutting exercise that will surely extend the brand’s shelf life but likely come at the expense of a sizeable number of the company’s 2000-strong UK workforce.”

FTSE 100 down 1%, back below 7500

15:16 , Daniel O'Boyle

The FTSE 100 is now back below 7500 for the first time this month, after a 1% fall for the day.

Most of that fall has come after the release of US inflation figures showing that price pressures remain stickier than expected.

Top fallers for the day include the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust - on a tough day for many of its holdings - and Ocado.

'Death knell' for March Fed rate cut

14:39 , Daniel O'Boyle

Chris Beauchamp, Chief Market Analyst at IG Group, the trading platform, said the latest US inflation figures confirm that there is no chance of a March cut from the Fed.

Beauchamp said: “Today’s inflation figures are the death-knell for any March rate cut hopes. Things are still moving in the right direction for the Fed on an annual basis, but now hopes of a soft landing could start giving way to worries about an overheating economy and the need for more hikes.”

Arm shares plunge after recent rises

14:36 , Daniel O'Boyle

Shares in Cambridge-based chip firm Arm are down 10.5% so far today on Wall Street, after a huge surge in the past week.

The chipmaker is currently trading at $133.38, valuing the firm at $137 billion.

That means Arm shares are now only up 82.5% in the past week.

City sees August as most lately date for Bank of England interest rate cut

14:33 , Daniel O'Boyle

After the back-to-back setbacks of faster-than-expected UK wage growth and higher-than-expected US inflation, City traders have reduced their bets on Bank of England interest rate cuts.

Markets now suggest that the first rate cut will probably not happen until August.

Markets now also suggest that rates will stay above 4.5% until 2025.

Gilt yields surge: Market snapshot

14:21 , Daniel O'Boyle

The FTSE 100 has fallen further, while gilt yields are up to the highest levels reached this year.

Check out our latest market snapshot:

US inflation reading 'vindicates' Powell

14:16 , Daniel O'Boyle

Matthew Ryan, Head of Market Strategy at global financial services firm Ebury, commenting on today’s US inflation data, says: “The debate surrounding the possibility of a start to Federal Reserve policy easing in March is now well and truly dead following the January US inflation report. While the headline rate eased relative to the previous month, this came in above expectations, with the underlying measure also unexpectedly remaining unchanged at just shy of 4%.

“The news will provide further vindication to FOMC chair Powell’s cautious stance on policy and supports the narrative that officials will need to see more evidence of disinflation before committing to lower rates.

“As things stand, markets have completely written off the possibility of a March cut, with a move in May also now in serious jeopardy. We stand by our call for a start to the Fed’s cutting cycle in June, albeit this would also be thrown in doubt should US inflation continue to surprise to the upside, while the labour market shows no signs of slowing down.

FTSE 100 lower after US inflation data - 250 down 1.4%

13:59 , Daniel O'Boyle

London shares have fallen further after the latest US inflation data.

The FTSE 100 is now down 0.4%, while the FTSE 250 has plunged by 1.4%.

The Body Shop collapses into administration

13:46 , Daniel O'Boyle

High-street retailer The Body Shop has collapsed into administration, the firm confirmed today.

Administrators at FRP have been appointed to take over the firm and attempt to sell its assets, in order to repay the iconic brand’s debts.

It’s the latest high-street retail collapse, after the high-profile failures of Wilko and Cath Kidston last year.

Read more here

Will US Fed cut in April or June?

13:44 , Daniel O'Boyle

Following the latest US inflation figures, Richard Flynn, managing director of Charles Schwab UK, said: "Investors may find solace in today’s CPI numbers which suggest last year’s easing price pressures are persisting into 2024. This may reinforce expectations that the Fed will continue to move away from its previous tightening bias.

Since comments from the Fed dashed hopes of rate cuts by March, investors have set their sights on summer for the long-awaited slash. January’s report may pull predictions for the last of the Fed’s holds closer to April, as opposed to the bearish possibility of June onwards. Having said that, the lags between monetary policy shifts and their economic impact can be long and unpredictable, so the Fed appears to be in no rush to enact rate cuts at this point. As it becomes increasingly clear that markets are coping fine with the high-rate environment, investors are also asking ‘why rush?’"

US inflation ahead of expectations

13:31 , Daniel O'Boyle

Inflation in the US came in hotter than expected at 3.1% in January, dismissing hopes of Fed rate cuts coming soon.

The figure is a drop from 3.4% last month, but it’s ahead of the expected 2.9% figure.

Core inflation was 3.9%, which was ahead of the expected 3.7% and flat from December.

Coca-Cola revenue and profits fizz

13:03 , Daniel O'Boyle

On Wall Street, Coca-Cola has reported double-digit growth in revenue and profits.

Aarin Chiekrie, equity analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Coca-Cola’s fourth-quarter results showcased why it’s still the top dog in the soft drink industry. With 61 years of annual dividend increases, investors would be forgiven for thinking this is a boring mature company. But double-digit revenue and profit growth suggest otherwise and highlight the fact that this dividend king isn’t resting on its laurels.

“The revenue uplift came from a healthy mix of both price and volume, at a time when many of its peers are seeing volumes flatten or even decline.”

Coca-Cola’s eastern European bottling business has halted production in Ukraine (iStock/PA)
Coca-Cola’s eastern European bottling business has halted production in Ukraine (iStock/PA)

US inflation set to fall below 3%

13:00 , Daniel O'Boyle

The rate of inflation in the US is set to fall below 3% for the first time since 2021, according to economists, when figures are revealed today.

A sharp fall from December’s 3.4% rate would offer a major boost to hopes that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates soon.

City Comment: London’s stock market needs a shot in the Arm

11:46 , Daniel O'Boyle

Another day, another delisting.

Today Tui investors are expected to vote to approve management plans to make Frankfurt its sole market, delisting from London.

Meanwhile, the big one that got away, Cambridge-based Arm Holdings is on a spectacular run on Nasdaq that has made it the UK’s fourth biggest quoted company. Imagine the incredible shot in the, er, arm, that would have given the London stock market if such a tech champion was still trading over here.

Read more here

Market snapshot: FTSE remains slightly lower

10:50 , Daniel O'Boyle

Check out our late-morning market snapshot as the FTSE 100 remains down a few points from opening.

Scottish Mortgage under pressure in flat FTSE 100, Rolls-Royce lower

10:24 , Graeme Evans

The FTSE 100 index is down 8.54 points to 7565.15, with Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust the worst performer after a fall of 17.6p to 789.2p.

Its decline comes amid the poor form of Tesla, which is Scottish Mortgage’s seventh largest holding accounting for 4.5% of the total.

The electric car maker’s shares reversed 3% last night and have lost almost a quarter of their value in 2024.

Other blue-chip fallers included Marks & Spencer and Rolls-Royce, down 2.6p to 236.7p and 4.6p to 304.5p respectively.

GSK rose 11.8p to 1638.2p after Citi analysts lifted their price target to 2100p following last week’s results. Rival AstraZeneca, which has endured a tougher time since its fourth quarter figures, picked up 143p to 9644p.

The FTSE 250 index is down 51.16 points to 19,152.77.

Chancellor hails real wage growth

10:12 , Daniel O'Boyle

Following the morning’s jobs data, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “It’s good news that real wages are on the up for the sixth month in a row and unemployment remains low, but the job isn’t done.

“Our tax cuts are part of a plan to get people back to work so we can grow the economy — but we must stick with it.”

Yodel handed lifeline with Shift merger

09:37 , Daniel O'Boyle

The troubled parcel delivery company Yodel has been rescued from the brink of collapse in a deal that will see it merge with rival company Shift.

A deal with a private consortium, which included a number of Shift executives, was struck overnight. It means Yodel, part of the Barclay brothers’ heavily indebted empire, will not fall into administration.

Thousands of jobs at the Liverpool-based firm now look safer.

Yodel handled 191 million parcels last year, including for Argos and the Gousto mail-order meals firm.

Yodel CEO Mike Hancox, said: “Our customers have always been our priority and the transaction announced today allows us to ensure continuity for them, as well as our employees and wider stakeholders.”

Consumers will become “less obsessed” with home deliveries as awareness of the “sustainability argument” for sending parcels to collection points grows, according to an industry leader (Alamy/PA)
Consumers will become “less obsessed” with home deliveries as awareness of the “sustainability argument” for sending parcels to collection points grows, according to an industry leader (Alamy/PA)

Caffe Nero sales jump

09:37 , Simon Hunt

One of the UK’s biggest coffee chains has cheered a surge in sales as it seeks to rebound from a tumultuous pandemic trading period.

London-founded Caffe Nero, which is now a global player with over 1,000 stores worldwide, reported revenues of £265 million for the six months to November, an increase of 10.1% on the previous year.

The firm raked in a record weekly take of £8.4 million in the UK at the end of November, and served more than 7.7 million UK customers in December.

The firm opened another 20 stores in the UK and Ireland, includinga new site at Liverpool Street Station, taking its total past 600. It openedanother 23 internationally. Partnerships with delivery firms JustEat, Uber Eats and Deliveroo generated £4.7 million in the UK during the period, up by more than a quarter.

The company, which is headquartered in Luxembourg and continues to be owned by founder Gerry Ford, entered into a form of insolvency known as a voluntary arrangement in 2021 after racking up hundreds of millions in debts.

But it was able to see off a hostile takeover by billionaire Asda owners the Issa brothers after completing a debt refinancing in 2022.

(Dave Thompson/PA) (PA Archive)
(Dave Thompson/PA) (PA Archive)

 

Wages comfortably beating inflation, but forward-looking 'omens less good'

09:31 , Daniel O'Boyle

Rob Morgan, Chief Investment Analyst at Charles Stanley, says: "Average earnings are currently outpacing inflation by about 1.4%, a welcome turnaround from a year ago when they lagged soaring price rises. This will help relieve some of the ongoing cost-of-living pressures, and with the unemployment rate remaining very low it’s currently a reasonably healthy picture for many households.

"Looking ahead, the omens are perhaps less good. Job openings are still falling, illustrating reluctance of some employers to take on new staff as the economic outlook appears cloudy, so things may become a bit more difficult for those out of work or looking for a job.”

London beats out global rivals in foreign investment

09:26 , Daniel O'Boyle

London beat New York, Paris, Berlin and Hong Kong in attracting foreign direct investment last year, according to the London Property Alliance Global Cities Survey.

While all other major cities saw the number of new projects attracting investment from abroad decline last year, the number in the capital increased.

Climate tech investment was especially strong, growing by 77%.

According to City Hall, £1.3 billion was invested in these projects in the three months from July to September alone.

However, the report also found London lagged behind global peers in measures like economic output, employment and air quality.

Market snapshot: FTSE 100 a little lower

08:55 , Daniel O'Boyle

Take a look at today’s market snapshot as the FTSE 100 is a little lower in early trading.

Upgrade lifts GSK shares in downbeat FTSE 100, pub stocks struggle

08:46 , Graeme Evans

The run of lacklustre trading continued today as the FTSE 100 index eased 9.27 points to 7564.42 and the FTSE 250 dipped 62.24 points to 19,141.69.

GSK was among the frontrunners in the top flight, rising 19p to 1645.4p after Citi analysts lifted their price target to 2100p following last week’s results.

Sentiment also improved towards AstraZeneca, which has endured a tougher time since its fourth quarter figures. The shares picked up 149p to 9650p.

Blue-chip fallers included Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, with the owner of stakes in Wall Street heavyweights Nvidia and Tesla down 11.2p to 795.6p.

In the FTSE 250 index, the latest signs of strong wage growth impacted pub chains Mitchells & Butlers and JD Wetherspoon as their shares declined 5.6p to 240.8p and 14.5p to 794p respectively.

Tui heralds record quarter ahead of vote on delisting from London Stock Exchange

07:41 , Michael Hunter

Tui, the London-listed German tour operator, has reported record quarterly earnings ahead of its shareholder vote on delisting from the London Stock Exchange.

The company’s board recommended pulling the plug on London to simplify its business structure in a major blow to the City. The plan must be backed in a vote at Tui’s annual general meeting today. The move would leave it with shares listed in Frankfurt.

In the run-up to its AGM, Tui said that its first-quarter revenue broke records at €4.3 billion, from 3.5 million customers in the period, up 6%. The proportion of places filled, or load factor, hit 86%.

Jobs figures 'may mean Bank doesn't have to rush to cut rates'

07:36 , Daniel O'Boyle

Ashley Webb, UK economist at Capital Economics, says the hotter-than-expected jobs figures may mean interest rates could be pushed back, but that ultimately tomorrow’s inflation reading will be the key figure to decide that.

Webb said: “Regular private sector pay growth, the closely-watched measure by the Bank of England, eased from 6.6% to 6.2%, which left it above the Bank’s prediction for it to fall to 6.0%. Wage growth didn’t fall quite as fast as expected but the 3m/3m annualised growth rate of total wages was just 2.2%, which means more recent wage pressures haven’t been particularly strong.

“Overall, a slower-than-expected easing in wage growth may, at the margin, mean the Bank doesn’t need to rush to cut interest rates. But much will depend on broader price pressures.”

Minister hails historic low unemployment rate

07:28 , Daniel O'Boyle

Minister for Employment, Jo Churchill MP, said: “With unemployment at just 3.8% and payroll employment at a record high, we are helping many more people access work and all the benefits it brings be it financial, health or social.

“Our pioneering welfare reforms are going further, helping reduce the number of people who would otherwise be on the highest tier of incapacity benefits by 370,000 and tearing down barriers to work for millions of disabled people through our Chance to Work Guarantee.

“Meanwhile our £2.5bn Back to Work Plan will drive down inactivity, grow the economy and change lives.”

'While inflation is high, jobs success counts for little'

07:26 , Daniel O'Boyle

Nick Saunders, CEO of Webull UK, says that as long as inflation remains high, any success on the jobs front won’t count for much.

“Getting the cost wage claims under control has been key to preventing inflation running away. An unexpected fall in unemployment is potentially concerning for inflationary growth though. Wage growth is still outpacing inflation, but it is at least moving in the right direction. This has been achieved despite an unemployment rate around levels not seen since the mid-1970’s. It is not a comparison though that will gladden many hearts ahead of tomorrow’s inflation figures.

“Earnings growth has been a key inflationary driver, but if inflation remains stubbornly above the target, success here counts for little. We’re more likely to see inflation rise to meet earnings growth in the medium term.”

Arm leads US market ahead of inflation reading, Bitcoin above $50,000

07:24 , Graeme Evans

The post-results bounce for Arm Holdings continued on the Nasdaq yesterday as the Cambridge-based chip designer surged another 29% to close at $149.

The performance, which follows sweetened guidance in third quarter results, came during a mixed session for US stocks ahead of today’s inflation reading.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3% and the S&P 500 index edged deeper into record territory with a rise of 4.77 points. The Nasdaq Composite fell 0.3%, having been near November 2021’s all-time high earlier in the session.

Economists expect the annual rate of inflation to have fallen to 3.7% in January, compared with 3.9% the previous month. Given the potential impact on the outlook for US interest rate cuts, traders are forecasting a flat start for European markets this morning.

The FTSE 100 index closed broadly flat last night, with IG Index expecting a rise of 10 points to around 7584 today. The Nikkei 225 jumped 2.9% as the market in Tokyo caught up with trading after yesterday’s public holiday.

On crypto markets, Bitcoin is trading above $50,000 for the first time since the end of 2021. Fuelled by recent regulatory approval for exchange-traded funds, the currency has risen from $39,000 in mid January.

'Historic' number of sick people out of work

07:09 , Daniel O'Boyle

Commenting on today’s labour market figures, ONS director of economic statistics Liz McKeown said: “It is clear that growth in employment has slowed over the past year. Over the same period the proportion of people neither working nor looking for work has risen, with historically high numbers of people saying they are long-term sick.

“Job vacancies fell again, for the nineteenth consecutive month. However, there are signs this trend may now be slowing.

“The number of days lost to strikes went up in December, with the majority coming from the health sector.

“In cash terms earnings are growing more slowly than in recent months, but in real terms they remain positive, thanks to falling inflation.”

Job figures come in hot

07:04 , Daniel O'Boyle

The UK unemployment rate came to 3.8% for October to December, below economists’ expectations.

The jobless rate was measured using the ONS Labour Force Survey, which was 3.8% in the previous month, as opposed to PAYE figures which suggested it was higher.

Meanwhile wages continued to grow at a historic pace, faster than expected at 6.2% excluding bonuses or 5.8% with bonuses included. That was down, but economists had expected growth of 6.0% excluding bonuses.

The stronger-than-expected labour market likely pushes back interest rate cuts, but appears to suggest recession could be less likely.

The number of people employed rose by 72,000.

Recap: Yesterday's top stories

06:42 , Simon Hunt

Good morning from the Standard City desk.

Strip out the “black swan” existential events of the global financial crisis and the pandemic and we have not had an old- fashioned cyclical recession for more than 30 years. Not since the early Nineties, in fact, when the then Chancellor Norman Lamont insisted “Je ne regrette rien” despite an economic crisis that culminated in the Black Wednesday convulsions of September 1992 and sterling’s ejection from the ERM.

On Thursday we will find out whether Britain slipped into the mildest of recessions in the second half of last year. It is still on a knife-edge, with a majority of City scribes pencilling in a small contraction but a substantial minority reckoning output was flat between October and the end of the year.

For Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt, an official declaration of recession, however shallow, is yet another dent to their claims that the economy is safer in their hands than Labour’s.

Lord Lamont was known for another colourful phrase — his claim that he was “singing in his bath” after the ERM fiasco. There is likely to be little of that joie de vivre in Number 11 this week.

Here’s a summary of our top stories from yesterday: