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FTSE 100 Live: BP pledges £18bn UK investment as profits hit $6.2bn

·14-min read
 (Evening Standard)
(Evening Standard)

BP’s profits hit $6.2 billion (£5 billion) in the first three months of this year after benefiting from the soaring price of oil and gas.

The figure, which compares with $2.6 billion a year earlier, excludes a one-hit of $24 billion (£19.2 billion) after BP ditched its 19.75% shareholding in Rosneft as part of the company’s exit from Russia.

Amid calls for a windfall tax on the energy industry, BP said it planned to invest £18 billion in the UK’s energy system by the end of 2030.

FTSE 100 Live Tuesday

  • Russia loss overshadows BP results

  • BP boss unveils £18bn investment plan

  • HSBC shares flat despite break-up call

Germany signals support for European ban on Russian oil

11:55 , Oscar Williams-Grut

A European ban on Russian oil imports has moved a step closer after Germany signalled it was willing to entertain the idea.

German finance minister Christian Lindner said his government was “open” to discussing a possible embargo. Germany is one of the biggest consumers of Russian oil and has so far resisted a push for an immediate ban.

The EU wants to phase out Russian oil imports by the end of the year as part of a new package of sanctions.

Card Factory returns to profit

11:40 , Oscar Williams-Grut

Card Factory has returned to profit as the end of lockdowns brought shoppers back to its stores.

The gift card retailer turned a profit of £11.1 million in the 12 months to January 31, up from a loss of £16.4 million the year prior. Revenue jumped 28% to £364 million.

CEO Darcy Willson-Rymer said: “Looking forward, we remain confident our revenue levels for next year will continue trending towards pre-pandemic levels.

“We have taken pre-emptive action to help mitigate the inflationary pressures we are seeing across the business.”

Passenger numbers soar for Wizz Air in April

10:43 , Rhiannon Curry

Wizz Air carried more than 3.6 million passengers last month, a 542% increase on April last year, signalling that the return to air travel continues.

The airline operated on an average capacity of 83.4%, meaning most of its available seats were sold.

It has recently acquired two additional daily slots at London Luton airport, which it plans to use to increase flights to Romania and Poland, and launched a new base at Cardiff Airport with nine new routes.

HSBC shares flat, FTSE 100 lower

10:36 , Graeme Evans

Calls for a break-up of HSBC failed to ignite its shares today as a sceptical City focused on the huge cost of separating the lender’s powerhouse Asia operations.

The heavyweight stock lagged the rest of the financial sector, despite its biggest shareholder lobbying for a split in order to boost returns and mitigate geopolitical risk.

Chinese insurance giant Ping An’s plan, which it reportedly wants to put to a shareholder vote, would see the Asia business listed and based in Hong Kong with the rest in London.

But analysts UBS cautioned that the impact from material restructuring costs significantly reduced the “upside of break-up maths“. They said these factors were particularly unwelcome at a time when higher interest rates are due to boost profits.

UBS today raised its price target on HSBC shares by 30p to 640p, although the stock remained closer to 500p after edging up 1.6p to 502.9p.

In contrast to HSBC’s lacklustre performance, NatWest and Lloyds Banking Group both rose 1% as investors look for another margin-enhancing rise in interest rates when Bank of England policymakers meet this week.

Fund manager M&G, whose creation out of Asia-focused parent company Prudential is the template for PingAn’s break-up plan, led the risers board. Its shares lifted 3% or 6.1p to 220.3p after analysts at HSBC upped their target price to 260p.

Yesterday’s weak session in Europe weighed on London’s overall performance, with the FTSE 100 index 25.29 points lower at 7519.26.

Big fallers included warehouse and logistics firm Segro, which dropped 101p to 1241.5p, after analysts at Kepler Cheuvreux cut their target. Cyber security specialist Avast also fell 16.4p to 547.6p on the back of a drop in first quarter sales due to its exit from Russia.

The FTSE 250 index was under pressure, falling 72.94 points to 20,635.77 after heavy selling for property focused stocks including Tritax Big Box and LondonMetric.

A “buy“ recommendation on Boohoo helped its shares rise 0.3p to 81.5p but Deutsche Bank analyst Adam Cochrane is now more cautious ahead of the fast fashion retailer’s results tomorrow. He downgraded his price target from 230p to 140p.

BP shares 2% higher, FTSE 100 falls

08:40 , Graeme Evans

BP shares are 2% higher after the oil giant revealed a bigger-than-expected $2.5 billion (£2 billion) share buyback in the current quarter.

The move follows surplus cash flows of $4.1 billion (£3.3 billion) in the first quarter, generated on the back of surging oil and gas prices.

BP shares were 7.55p higher at 399.1p following today;s results, but the wider FTSE 100 index fell 36.96 points 7507.59. European markets, which caught up on Friday’s heavy Wall Street losses in trading yesterday, were about 0.8% higher.

Other stocks 2% or more stronger in London included M&G, Whitbread and B&Q owner Kingfisher, while Royal Mail fell 2%.

The FTSE 250 index was 3.77 points higher at 20,712.48.

BP pledges to triple EV charging points

08:14 , Graeme Evans

BP’s plans for £18 billion of investment in the UK include £1 billion on tripling its number of electric vehicle charging points by 2030.

It also intends to continue investing in North Sea oil and gas, alongside a range of lower carbon energy investments in the UK.

These include developing the infrastructure, ports, harbours and shipyards to support offshore wind projects. It also plans to make Aberdeen the company’s centre of excellence for offshore wind in a move creating up to 120 new jobs.

Other initiatives cover hydrogen production facilities and carbon capture and storage.

Chief executive Bernard Looney said: “We’re fully committed to the UK’s energy transition – providing reliable home-grown energy and, at the same time, focusing on the drive to net zero.

“And we have ambitious plans to do more and to go faster. Our plans go beyond just infrastructure - they see us supporting the economy, skills development and job opportunities in the communities where we operate. We are all in.”

FTSE 100 lower in catch up trading

07:50 , Graeme Evans

The FTSE 100 index is set to open 60 points lower at 7484 as traders in London catch up on developments after the long weekend.

Markets in Paris and Frankfurt are poised to start 30 points and 80 points higher respectively, having already reacted to Friday’s heavy losses on Wall Street. In thin trading yesterday, European markets fell sharply at one point after a trader error triggered a “flash crash”.

A late comeback meant leading US share indices finished higher last night, with the Nasdaq up 1.6% after coming under heavy selling pressure the previous week. Futures markets are also pointing higher ahead of today’s session.

Wall Street’s steadier performance reflects acceptance that the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates by half a percentage point when policymakers meet this week.

Earlier today, the Reserve Bank of Australia raised its headline rate from 0.1% to 0.35%, the first time the country’s central bank has lifted rates in over a decade.

The latest meeting of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee concludes on Thursday, with policymakers expected to announce another rise in interest rates.

Ahead of their meeting, this morning’s publication of UK manufacturing PMI figures for April will provide further insight into the impact of rising prices on activity.

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