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FTSE 100 Live 17 April: Shares close higher after yesterday's big fall, inflation dips to 3.2%

The FTSE 100 has rallied a little after the worst day in nine months yesterday.

The resilient performance came as it emerged that UK inflation dipped to 3.2%, the lowest since September 2021 but a little ahead of expectations.

Rio Tinto, Asos, Ladbrokes owner Entain and travel firm Saga are among those reporting today.

FTSE 100 Live Wednesday

  • Inflation dip fails to ease rate worries

  • ASOS posts big loss but shares rise

  • FTSE 100 recovers after 1.8% slide

Fintech sector has been a great UK success story — but it could be even more than that

Wednesday 17 April 2024 17:47

Over the last fourteen years, the fintech sector has emerged as arguably the UK’s biggest startup success story.

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Innovation drives change, and delivers value for customers in every sector, but in financial services, we have seen how user experience has been transformed by digital-first providers: features we now take for granted every single banking app were first trailblazed by UK fintechs.

Customer service has been transformed through the power of competition. And the chippy upstarts who did it are now multi-billion pound companies.

Read more here

FTSE 100 closes up 0.35% at 7,847.99

Wednesday 17 April 2024 16:38 , Daniel O'Boyle

The FTSE 100 closed up 0.35% at 7,847.99, regaining only a little of yesterday’s big losses.

Miners and China-exposed stocks led the risers. Fallers included Flutter and Segro.

Olympia ties up with 'pergola' bar and restaurant operator Incipio

Wednesday 17 April 2024 16:26 , Daniel O'Boyle

The developers behind the £1.3 billion regeration of Olympia have signed up with London bar and restaurant operator Incipio best known for its “pergola” rooftop venues at “forgotten” spaces.

Incipio will take the lead on “a number of premium dining and drinking experiences” at the 14 acre west London site due to open next summer.

Incipio, which runs The Libertine at the Royal Exchange in the City and Pergola on the Wharf in Docklands, will have 39,000 sq ft of space under its control, although the exact number of venues is not yet being revealed.

Read more here

Who is Daniel Křetínský, the Czech billionaire looking to buy Royal Mail?

Wednesday 17 April 2024 15:47 , Daniel O'Boyle

Czech billionaire Daniel Křetínský might be the next owner of Royal Mail, after submitting a shock bid for its parent company International Distributions Services (IDS) today.

Křetínský’s EP Group's initial bid, likely valuing the business at close to £2.5 billion, was rejected, but he said he hoped to engage with the IDS board on a new offer.

But who is the energy and media mogul that could soon own the 500-year-old British institution?

Read more here

US shares higher

Wednesday 17 April 2024 15:11 , Daniel O'Boyle

US shares have opened higher despite Jerome Powell’s warning on inflation last night.

The Fed chair said inflation is ‘taking longer than expected’ to hit the 2% target, in a sign that rates could be higher for longer.

But the S&P 500 is up 0.2% at 5,062.95 today, after failing to rebound yesterday from Monday’s fall.

the Dow Jones is up 0.3% to 37,911.18 and the Nasdaq is flat at 15,864.78.

France’s Vinci to snap up majority stake in Edinburgh Airport

Wednesday 17 April 2024 14:46 , Daniel O'Boyle

French firm and Gatwick Airport owner Vinci has struck a deal to buy a majority stake in Edinburgh Airport for around £1.27 billion.

Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) has agreed to sell a 50.01% stake in the Scottish airport to French infrastructure group Vinci Airports.

GIP, which has owned the airport since 2012, said it will retain the remaining 49.99% stake and form a strategic partnership with Vinci for the “next chapter” in the site’s growth and development.

Read more here

Market snapshot as shares climb

Wednesday 17 April 2024 14:07 , Daniel O'Boyle

take a look at the latest snapshot as the FTSE 100 is up 0.7%

Thames Water to borrow more to fund revised business plan, reports say

Wednesday 17 April 2024 14:00 , Daniel O'Boyle

Thames Water is formulating an updated business plan which could be published within days, as the embattled water supplier continues to scramble for cash to stay afloat, according to reports.

The company, which is the UK’s biggest water firm serving 16 million customers, is reportedly drawing up a revised five-year spending plan.

Members of the board are expected to meet on Thursday to approve the plan and executives hope to publish it on Friday, Bloomberg reported.

Read more here

Museum of London building set for 2028 demolition as City approves London Wall West scheme

Wednesday 17 April 2024 13:18 , Daniel O'Boyle

The City of London Corporation planning applications sub committee has approved a major new development at the former Museum of London site at London Wall, and the demolition of Bastion House at the site, after three years of consultations.

The Corporation put in the plans itself, and has not yet secured a deal with developer to actually undertake the plan.

The scheme will include 56,000 square metres of office space, and the Corporation said it will accomodate up to 3,100 jobs. It will also inlcude “flexible space for cultural use, an elevated public space with outstanding views including of St Pauls and public access to the remains of the Roman wall”.

Read more here

June interest rate cut looks unlikely as smaller fall in inflation 'puts spanner in the works'

Wednesday 17 April 2024 12:24 , Daniel O'Boyle

Hopes of a June interest rate cut from the Bank of England were rapidly fading today after a smaller than expected fall in the rate of inflation “put a spanner in the works”.

The headline measure, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), dropped from 3.4% to 3.2% in March compared with a consensus forecast of 3.1%. Slower food inflation of 4% was the main reason behind the fall.

Core inflation, which does not include “volatile” components such as food and energy and is closely watched by the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), fell from 4.5% to 4.2%.

Read more here

West Ham part-owner Daniel Křetínský in shock bid for Royal Mail parent International Distribution Services

Wednesday 17 April 2024 11:58 , Daniel O'Boyle

Royal Mail owner International Distribution Services has rejected a shock takeover offer from West Ham part-owner Daniel Křetínský, but the Czech billionaire hinted another bid could be on the way

International Distribution Services shares rocketed on the news, first reported by the Financial Times. They’re up 19% today to 254p, valuing the business at almost £2.5 billion.

Křetínský’s firm EP Group made the bid.

Read more here

ASOS turns to former exec of two of UK fashion's most recent casualties as new CFO

Wednesday 17 April 2024 11:16 , Daniel O'Boyle

Online clothes retailer ASOS will turn to a finance boss with experience at Matches and Farfetch - two of the most high-profile British fashion firms to go bust this year - as it aims to turn around its struggling fortunes.

Dave Murray will be the firm’s new chief finance officer, after Katy Mecklenburgh stepped down last year. ASOS noted that he has “more than two decades' experience across a range of finance roles”, including his two most recent stops at Farfetch and MatchesFashion. He was vice president and senior vice president for finance at Farfetch from 2019-2022, overseeing an initial share price boom followed by a plunge in his last year.

After he left, the firm’s struggles heightened, initially escaping bankruptcy with a 2023 rescue deal, before entering administration in January of this year.

Read more here

How the rate of inflation has changed for everyday items

Wednesday 17 April 2024 11:05 , Daniel O'Boyle

Inflation fell to a fresh two-and-a-half year low in March as food price growth slowed sharply once again.

Food and non-alcoholic drink inflation dipped to 4%, down from 5% in February, to reach its lowest level since November 2021, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

A slowdown in price rises last month for many household groceries was partly offset by an increase in the cost of fuel and a jump in inflation for a handful of items.

Read more here

Market snapshot as FTSE 100 finds some ground

Wednesday 17 April 2024 10:30 , Daniel O'Boyle

The FTSE 100 has started to climb after a nervy start, with China-exposed stocks like Burberry and Prudential joining miners and Entain among the risers.

Entain and miners lead FTSE 100, Just Eat Takeaway lower

Wednesday 17 April 2024 10:29 , Graeme Evans

Just Eat Takeaway shares are under pressure, down 5% or 56p to 1140p after the food delivery firm’s first quarter update.

European gross transaction value rose 3% on a constant currency basis to 4.2 billion euros (£3.6 billion), fuelled by a jump in spending by UK and Ireland customers.

Investors had more appetite for Deliveroo shares after they rose 0.8p to 125.9p ahead of its own update tomorrow.

The FTSE 100 index, which lost 1.8% by last night’s close in its worst performance for nine months, put back 34.58 points to 7854.94.

Commodity stocks drove the improvement, with gold miner Fresnillo the best performer after a gain of 21.5p to 606p and Anglo American up 3% or 72p to 2167p.

Rio Tinto improved 143p to 5397p as it reiterated full-year guidance in the wake of a 2% drop in first quarter iron ore production from its Pilbara assets in Western Australia.

Gambling group Entain was also on the FTSE 100 risers board, up 3% or 26p to 832.2p after it reported a “successful” Super Bowl for its BetMGM joint venture in the United States.

Safer gambling regulatory changes left first quarter revenues 7% lower in the UK and Ireland, meaning the Ladbrokes owner posted an overall performance in line with hopes.

The FTSE 250 index recovered from a slow start to stand 92.59 points higher at 19,437.13, aided by demand for the shares of Wizz Air through a jump of 4% or 73p to 2032p.

Among smaller stocks, record 2023 revenues and a return to profitability helped the eyewear manufacturer Inspecs rally off recent lows with a surge of 9% or 4.4p to 51.4p.

54% of home-owning parents ‘expect to help their adult children buy a home’

Wednesday 17 April 2024 10:17 , Daniel O'Boyle

A quarter (25%) of home-owning parents with adult children who are not on the property ladder feel guilty that they cannot provide more support, according to a survey.

Half (50%) wish they could provide more financial support than they can and nearly six in 10 (59%) worry about their children’s chances of owning a property in the future, according to property website HomeOwners Alliance.

More than half (54%) of homeowners with adult children have or expect to help their children financially to buy a home.

Read more here

Severfield hails European orders as results beat expectations

Wednesday 17 April 2024 09:12 , Daniel O'Boyle

Severfield, the steel supplier behind London venues from Lord’s to the Outernet, said its results for the year to 30 March will beat expectations as work outside the UK helped its European order book hit a record high.

The business has secured £511m of new work in Europe, including £397 million to be delivered over the next 12 months. It said a third of these orders were outside of the UK, up from 13% just five months earlier.

It said it was well-placed to deliver on “major projects which can mitigate the impacts of climate change and deliver energy security”, including nuclear reactors, carbon capture and hydrogen production.

The shares jumped by 12.5% to 60.8p, bringing them close to where they started the year.

Severfield also announced today that Charlie Cornish, currently CEO of Manchester Airport, will become its new chair, as current chairman Kevin Whiteman leaves following nine years in the role.

FTSE 100 holds firm as miners rally, Severfield jumps 12%

Wednesday 17 April 2024 08:39 , Graeme Evans

A stronger session for mining stocks has left the FTSE 100 index broadly unchanged after yesterday’s 1.8% slide.

Rio Tinto lifted 72p to 5326p following an in-line production update, while Anglo American rose 50p to 2145p and gold miner Fresnillo added 4% or 23.5p to 608p.

Other stocks up by about 1% included JD Sports Fashion and Standard Chartered, while Burberry rose 12p to 1147p as investors drew encouragement from a first quarter trading update by LVMH.

Flutter Entertainment and Next posted the biggest falls in the FTSE 100, down by 175p to 14,825p and 102p to 8736p respectively.

The FTSE 250 index was 22.07 points lower at 19,322.47, with oil services firm Hunting down 4% or 15p to 343p.

In the FTSE All-Share, ASOS jumped 10% after its interim results while structural steel firm Severfield rose 12% or 6.5p to 60.5p after reporting a record UK and Europe order book in a robust year-end update.

Market snapshot: FTSE 100 flat

Wednesday 17 April 2024 08:34 , Daniel O'Boyle

There was no sign of a rebound from yesterday’s steep fall with the FTSE 100 flat in early trading.

Take a look at our market snapshot:

Entain UK revenue down as safer gambling changes hit

Wednesday 17 April 2024 08:19 , Daniel O'Boyle

Ladbrokes and Coral owner Entain saw revenue in the UK and Ireland dip by another 7% in the first three months of the year, on top of the big hit it took from new safer gambling policies in 2022 and early 2023.

The business said it “continues to experience the effects of our regulatory implementation, as it brought in rules like “affordability checks” for high-spending gamblers ahead of those checks becoming law.

It said the “levelling of the UK regulatory landscape,” when the rest of the sector brings in the same checks, will help it grow in the UK again.

Overall, revenue was up by 3%, driven mostly by central and eastern Europe.

Interim boss Stella David said: “Overall, we are pleased with the progress being made against our plan to accelerate Entain's operational performance. There is still more to do, but the team is fully engaged in delivering operational improvements, product enhancements, as well as greater organisational agility and efficiency. We look forward to building on this momentum as we focus on our strategic priorities of organic revenue growth, margin expansion and winning in the U.S. We remain confident that our continued focused execution will drive organic growth into 2025 and beyond."

Wide difference between goods and services inflation

Wednesday 17 April 2024 08:08 , Daniel O'Boyle

Simon French of Panmure Gordon flags the ‘widening spread’ between goods and services inflation.

Rio Tinto sticks to guidance despite iron ore decline

Wednesday 17 April 2024 08:01 , Graeme Evans

Iron ore production from Rio Tinto’s Pilbara assets in Western Australia fell 2% year-on-year to 77.9 million tonnes in the first quarter of the year, the mining giant told investors in Sydney last night.

Although Pilbara output was 11% lower than the final three months of 2023, the FTSE 100-listed company reiterated production guidance for this year.

Chief executive Jakob Stausholm said: “We delivered stable operating results in the first quarter, including improvements at our bauxite and aluminium businesses, as we navigated seasonal challenges across our global operations.”

Bauxite production of 13.4 million tonnes was 11% higher than a year ago, while aluminium output of 800,000 tonnes rose 5%.

Stausholm said areas of focus continued to be growth in energy-transition materials, the ramp-up of the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia and the first full quarter of recycled aluminium production from Matalco in North America.

Rio Tinto’s Sydney-listed shares were broadly flat today.

'Last mile to Bank of England target may be longest'

Wednesday 17 April 2024 07:51 , Daniel O'Boyle

Myron Jobson, Senior Personal Finance Analyst, interactive investor, says: “While the latest reading is marginally higher than expected, inflation continues to move in the right direction with the cooling of the areas of inflation that are most felt by Britons, such as food, stoking a sense of optimism over where prices are heading.

“Things are looking up, but the last mile to the Bank of England’s 2% target may feel like the longest to Britons who have endured daily battles against rising prices.”

Another huge loss for ASOS

Wednesday 17 April 2024 07:48 , Daniel O'Boyle

ASOS reported another huge loss today as it continued to deal with huge piles of excess stock.

Revenue fell by 18% to £1.5 billion for the first half ot its financial year, as the online fast-fashion retailer aimed to be “more agile”.

It reduced costs as it cut its excess stock by almost £600 million, but still made a £270 million loss. That’s slightly smaller than the loss a year earlier.

José Antonio Ramos Calamonte, Chief Executive Officer said: “At the beginning of this year we explained that FY24 would be a year of continued transformation for ASOS as we take the necessary actions to deliver a more profitable and cash generative business. Under our Back to Fashion strategy, we set out three priorities for the year - to offer the best and most relevant product, to strengthen our relationship with customers and to reduce our cost to serve. We have delivered on each of these in the first half of the year, including right-sizing our stock ahead of target to drive our best first half cash performance since 2017 and seeing excellent results in our Test & React model, which is growing at pace. ASOS is becoming a faster and more agile business, and we are reiterating our guidance for the full year as we lay the foundations for sustainably profitable growth in FY25 and beyond."

Sales could decline by as much as 15% next year. ASOS also appointed Dave Murray as its new CFO. He previously worked at FarFetch and MatchesFashion, both of which went bust this year.

 (ASOS)
(ASOS)

Saga says it will meet looming £150 million bond payment as its pre tax loss narrows

Wednesday 17 April 2024 07:44 , Michael Hunter

Over 50s travel and insurance group Saga has narrowed its annual loss by 53% to £129 million, helped by fuller ships on its cruise line.

The heavily indebted group said it would meet a £150 million bond payment due in May.

It pointed to “sufficient liquidity ... through a combination of available cash and utilisation of the £85.0m facility” it set up with with its chairman, Roger De Haan, who ran the company for 20 years from the mid 1980s and is the son of the group’s founder.

De Haan upped the size of the credit line he has offered the company, and extended its maturity until April 2026 “to support the group with its deleveraging plans”.

The overall loss related to a £105 million impairment charge from its insurance division and restructuring costs of over £40 million.

It also cut its debt burden, by 10% to just over £637 million. It said further reductions were “ a key strategic priority”.

At its ocean cruise line, the proportion of berths sold, or “load factor” reached 88%, up from 75%.

Underlying profit for the year to the end of January more than doubled to over £38 million.

Investors yanks £1.2bn from Liontrust in latest blow to UK shares

Wednesday 17 April 2024 07:34 , Simon English

The strife in UK fund management continued today when Liontrust said it had lost another £1.2 billion in funds in the last three months.

Chief executive John Ions said: “This follows a period in which many of our core investment strategies, notably quality growth, small/mid-caps and UK equities, have been out of favour, impacting both performance and flows.”

Yesterday, Ashmore, the emerging markets fund manager, said investors had withdrawn $2 billion in the first three months in the year as they look to cut risk.

These figures follow ones from March that shows money is flowing out of London equities at the fastest pace ever. According to the Investment Association, UK savers took £14 billion out of UK shares in 2023, the 8th consecutive year of outflows.

Liontrust added: “We believe our focus on active management can deliver both for clients and the Company. Liontrust has excellent investment teams with proven processes and strong long-term performance. As market sentiment changes, Liontrust is well positioned to benefit.”

UK inflation experience 'starting to look like US'

Wednesday 17 April 2024 07:33 , Daniel O'Boyle

Ruth Gregory of Capital Economics highlighted the slower decline in services inflation, which she said raised a risk of the UK seeing inlfation stall the way it has in the US.

She said: “After two months of downside surprises, the fall in CPI inflation in March was smaller than everyone had expected. There were no real surprises in energy prices, with fuel price inflation rising from -6.5% to -3.7%. What we hadn’t anticipated was the smaller fall in services inflation from 6.1% to 6.0% (CE 5.9%, BoE 5.8%).

“Within services, restaurants & hotels, recreation & culture, and health inflation all surprised on the upside. Food price inflation surprised to the upside too, falling from 5.0% to 4.0%. As a result, these inflation figures look a little like the recent experience in the US, where after easing rapidly the pace of disinflation and has slowed.”

'“Today’s data unlikely to move the needle for Bank of England'

Wednesday 17 April 2024 07:22 , Daniel O'Boyle

Yael Selfin, Chief Economist at KPMG UK, said today’s inflation data won’t change much for the Bank of England.

Selfin said: “The overall outlook for inflation remains broadly positive, however there are several risks which could cause a setback. Oil prices have rallied over the past month which has led to an increase in prices at the pump for consumers. Also, the hike in the National Living Wage could potentially contribute to persistence in services inflation which remains elevated.

“Today’s data are unlikely to move the needle for the Bank of England. We expect inflation to return to target later this spring, which raises the prospect of interest rate cuts from June onwards. Fewer rate cuts by the Fed are unlikely have a major impact given the more favourable inflation outlook and the ongoing weakness in the UK economy.

FTSE 100 turns lower after inflation print, Wall Street stocks steady

Wednesday 17 April 2024 07:22 , Graeme Evans

Stock markets have steadied despite Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell saying the fight against inflation could take longer than expected.

The S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq Composite finished slightly lower after Monday’s big losses, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.2% higher.

Policymakers recently signalled three rate cuts in 2024 but hot inflation and the recent rise in oil prices means many on Wall Street are betting on just one move in December.

Powell said: "Right now, given the strength of the labour market and progress on inflation so far, it's appropriate to allow restrictive policy further time to work and let the data and the evolving outlook guide us.”

The FTSE 100 index fell 1.8% yesterday on the higher-for-longer rates outlook, but this morning’s UK inflation reading appears to have dampened hopes for a positive start to today’s session.

IG Index had called the FTSE 100 to open 26 points higher at 7846 but futures markets are now pointing to a slightly weaker start.

'Too early to declare victory' on inflation

Wednesday 17 April 2024 07:13 , Daniel O'Boyle

James McManus, chief investment officer at Nutmeg, said we’re still far from victory on inflation.

“Headline inflation continues to move closer to the Bank of England’s elusive 2% target, but it’s too early to declare victory.

“Deflation in energy prices, thanks to the falling Ofgem price cap, has helped to bring headline inflation down.

“But core Inflation is expected to remain sticky thanks to services inflation, which incorporates wage growth indirectly.

“Yesterday’s data showing average wages before bonuses grew at 6% over a year ago, is of critical focus for the Bank of England.

“The market expects the UK central bank to make at least one 0.25% cut to the base rate before the end of the year, with more cuts likely to be priced in should inflation and wages surprise with slower growth over the summer months.”

Food and fuel drive inflation decline

Wednesday 17 April 2024 07:07 , Daniel O'Boyle

ONS Chief Economist Grant Fitzner said: “Inflation eased slightly in March to its lowest annual rate for two and a half years.

“Once again, food prices were the main reason for the fall, with prices rising by less than we saw a year ago.

“Similarly to last month, we saw a partial offset from rising fuel prices.”

Read more on the figures here

UK inflation dips to 3.2%, slightly above expectations

Wednesday 17 April 2024 07:03 , Daniel O'Boyle

UK inflation dipped to 3.2% in March, the lowest figure since September 2021.

That’s a little higher than economists’ expectation of 3.1%.

Core inflation was also slightly higher than expected at 4.2%.

Good morning - FTSE 100 Live

Wednesday 17 April 2024 06:56 , Daniel O'Boyle

There is something of a parable of our times about the TClarke takeover deal unveiled this morning.

The business, which has always been headquartered in London and listed here since 1949, was a genuine pioneer.

When impresario Richard D’Oyly Carte decided that his audiences at Savoy Theatre should be the first in the world to enjoy electric lighting it was to Tommy Clarke that he turned to install the wiring.

The company he founded, TClarke, went on to become the wiring installers of choice for royalty and nobility during the pre-war years. There is still a refreshingly old fashioned feel about a business that has kept it founders’ name for 135 years and has retained its independence through good times and bad.

Until today.

TClarke shares have been listed in London since 1949 making it one of the exchange’s oldest continually traded stocks. Its directors complain today about the under valuation and illiquidity of the shares in justifying their decision to sell out to purchaser Regent Gas.