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FTSE 100 Live: Google’s Alphabet hits $2 trillion, THG’s take private talk, Tesla sinks on Musk poll

·15-min read

Tesla shares will be in focus later today after Elon Musk's Twitter followers urged him to sell 10% of his stake in the electric car company.

Musk put the potential sale to a vote on the social media platform over the weekend after highlighting the huge tax bill he will face from exercising stock options due in the next year. The result of the poll, which Musk had previously said he would abide by, came out 58% in favour of selling stock.

Ahead of Wall Street's opening, investors in London were focused on the latest from JD Sports Fashion relating to Footasylum and a trading update from BAE Systems.

Top stories

Flat day for the FTSE

Monday 8 November 2021 16:52 , Oscar Williams-Grut

The FTSE 100 has ended the day more or less where it started. The bluechip index has closed up a measly 1.4 points at 7305.

Top of the index is beleaguered Darktrace, which enjoyed a bounce back of 12.5% helped by chairman Gordon Hurst spending £150,000 on shares.

Abrdn also enjoyed strong gains, rising 3.6% after confirming weekend reports it was looking at a bid for Interactive Investor.

ITV was at the other end of the index, down 2.8%.

Danni Hewson at AJ Bell says: “In London it’s been a rather muted start to the week despite a rebound from cyber security darling Darktrace. The FTSE 250 has struggled to find any cheer and it’s telling that many consumer facing businesses are among the day’s fallers following some rather down beat consumer confidence data. Households are wary, people are worried about how their finances are going to stack up as prices rise further, finances that already beginning to feel the squeeze.”

Google’s Alphabet reaches $2 trillion mark

Monday 8 November 2021 15:58 , Oscar Williams-Grut

Google’s parent company Alphabet has reached a major milestone: a $2 trillion market cap.

Alphabet briefly crossed the threshold today as shares rose at the open. The stock reached $3015 earlier in the session, putting its market value above $2 trillion, but has fallen back to $2989 as I type.

Shares have rallied 70% this year, fuelled by a rebound in digital advertising as the world has reopened and continued demand for Google’s cloud services.

Tesla crashes on Elon Musk’s $21bn sell-off poll

Monday 8 November 2021 14:44 , Simon Freeman


Shares in Tesla fell to their lowest level in eight months after a majority of 3.5million Twitter users backed founder Elon Musk’s proposal to sell a 10% stake.

The stake would be valued at about $21 billion at current prices, based on Musk’s holding of 170 million shares.

“I was prepared to accept either outcome,” Musk said in a tweet after the poll closed.

Tesla shares dropped 4.7% to $57.55 shortly after trading opened in New York.

The stock has climbed 73% this year, giving the EV maker a valuation of $1.2 trillion and making Musk the world’s richest person with a paper fortune of $330 billion.

Read the full story here

Should Elon Musk sell Tesla shares for world hunger?

Monday 8 November 2021 14:41 , Simon English

Last week, Elon Musk pledged to sell $6 billion of Tesla stock and donate the proceeds to the United Nations’ food agency if it could demonstrate how the money would solve world hunger.

Here, Ryan McNelley, managing director in Kroll’s Portfolio Valuation service line explores what would actually go into quantifying this value.

read more here

Bitcoin nears record high on inflation fears

Monday 8 November 2021 13:13 , Oscar Williams-Grut

Bitcoin neared a record high and ethereum reached a fresh all-time peak on Monday amid continued fears about inflation.

Ethereum, the world’s second biggest crypto token, was up 2.8% to $4,739 by 12.50pm in London. It had been as high as $4,761 earlier in the day.

Bitcoin was 6.3% higher at $65,949. The all-time high for the cryptocurrency is $66,930.

Tokens were advancing on Monday amid continued fears about inflation around the world. The Bank of England warned last week that inflation was set to peak at 5% early next year and the market expects official data due in the US on Wednesday to show inflation running at 5.3% in October.

Read more about why inflation fears about boosting bitcoin.

Monday 8 November 2021 13:13 , Simon Freeman


BLACKSTONE has placed a major bet on UK life sciences with an investment of up to $250 million (£185 million) into a biotech spun out of University College London.

The US giant will inject $150 million into Autolus immediately, followed by milestone payments totalling $100 million to accelerate development of its next-generation leukaemia treatments.

It is the largest ever private financing of a UK biotech from a single source and saw the firm’s US-listed shares gain 35% to $7.51 in premarket trading.

Read the full story here

Circulor: The London startup fighting 'greenwashing' as the 'sustainability tech arms race' gets underway

Monday 8 November 2021 13:03 , Naomi Ackerman

Hearing big #COP26 promises from everyone from governments to banks and car manufacturers on reaching net zero, and wondering how organisations will prove they have actually cut emissions?

Enter Circulor, the London-based start-up using blockchain tech to help track emissions all the way through complex supply chains...

Circulor’s software lets clients do things like track CO2 emissions through manufacturing and shipping, monitor if recycling is being carried out responsibly, or make sure the cobalt inside a battery is not the product of child labour. Circulor already does the latter for the batteries in Volvo’s electric vehicles.

Read the full story and meet the founders here

Playtech confirms Gopher exploring counterbid to Aristocrat takeover

Monday 8 November 2021 12:15 , Naomi Ackerman

London-listed gambling software group Playtech has confirmed Gopher Investments is exploring a bid for the company to rival a £2.7 billion takeover offer from Australian firm Aristocrat Leisure.

Last month Playtech agreed to a takeover by the slot machine developer which valued the FTSE 250 firm at 680p a share.

Sky New reported yesterday that Gopher is being advised by Rothschild in relation to a potential £3 billion offer for Playtech, which has a market cap of around £2.2 billion.

Today Playtech confirmed Gopher had requested and been provided access to due diligence information in order to "explore terms on which a possible offer ... might be made".

Read the full story here

Bus slowdown hits Go-Ahead amid Government talks

Monday 8 November 2021 12:01 , Naomi Ackerman

Rail operator Go-Ahead saw shares suffer this morning after warning investors its bus division has seen its post-lockdown recovery falter.

The FTSE 250 firm warned it has seen a "slight slowing" in recovery in recent weeks, and uncertainty remains over its extent this year. Go-Ahead said "could impact" the division's full-year results.

Shares fell as much as 3.6%, or 29.8p, to 786p, on the update in early trading.

Read the full story here

Leisure stocks fall, Bitcoin rallies

Monday 8 November 2021 10:58 , Graeme Evans

A repeat dose of stock market confidence from Pfizer's anti-viral Covid pill failed to materialise today as London's leisure and consumer-focused stocks all fell sharply.

Markets worldwide were cheered on Friday by the drug giant's ground-breaking disclosure, leading to big gains in New York for the likes of Airbnb, Boeing and Expedia.

But the momentum proved to be short-lived as shares in London-listed caterer Compass, exhibitions firm Informa and Premier Inn owner Whitbread fell by more than 2%.

British Airways owner IAG and Rolls-Royce also declined by 1% on the day US borders finally re-opened to fully-vaccinated travellers from Europe.

Mixed trade data from China and the prospect of US inflation figures later in the week were blamed for the investor caution, with the FTSE 100 down 4.42 points at 7300.

Oil giants ensured the top flight at least stayed near to breakeven, with the price of Brent crude back above $83.50 a barrel after OPEC+ last week resisted calls to go beyond its 400,000 barrels a day increase planned for next month.

BP shares were 3.9p higher at 349.3p and Royal Dutch Shell improved 30.4p to 1713.4p.

The biggest rise in the top flight came from cyber security firm Darktrace, with shares rebounding by 8% after finishing last week at their lowest level since August.

Sentiment has been shaken by negative broker comment and a large sale of stock but investors saw some value to send the FTSE 100 newcomer 47.5p higher to 625p.

The FTSE 250 index fell 33.92 points to 23,563.10, with easyJet and Upper Crust owner SSP among those 2% lower.

Bitcoin, meanwhile, was trading near to a record high after jumping $4,970 to $65,955 as continued ultra-low interest rates encourage investors to use the cryptocurrency as a hedge against inflationary pressures.

Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter said: “It’s a highly risky strategy given just how volatile the cryptocurrency is, amid other pressures on its valuation like clampdowns by authorities and even comments on social media.”

Monday 8 November 2021 10:35 , Oscar Williams-Grut

Abrdn, the Scottish fund management group, has confirmed it is in talks to buy Interactive Investor, the investment platform that like rivals has boomed during Covid.

The fund group said in a short statement only that it “notes recent media speculation and confirms that it is currently in discussions with JC Flowers & Co” over a deal put at £1.5 billion. Sky News first reported on the approach on Saturday.

JC Flowers has held a majority stake since 2016. Interactive is a smaller rival to AJ Bell and Hargreaves Lansdown — it has 400,000 customers and oversees assets of £55 billion.

Shares in abrdn are 7.3p higher, or 2.8%, at 263p.

THG rises on take private talk

Monday 8 November 2021 10:27 , Oscar Williams-Grut

Shares in THG, The Hut Group, rose 10p, or 5%, to 214p today following a curious interview by CEO Matt Moulding over the weekend.

Moulding told GQ said he regrets taking the company public in a London float and indicated he might take the business private if the shares don’t recover. That would be an extraordinary U-turn but seems possible given how difficult THG has so far found life on the stock market.

THG floated at 500p a share last year but has seen its stock plummet since September after announcing a complex deal with SoftBank to spin out its beauty business and focus on its small but fast growing ecommerce platform Ingenuity.

Moulding has blamed short sellers for the company’s woes but City analysts say investors are skeptical.

JD Sports address car park meeting, and shares lower

Monday 8 November 2021 09:32 , Joanna Bourke

JD Sports has ​slammed what it claims is “potentially illegal covert surveillance” of its executive chairman, after a video emerged of him meeting the boss of the chain’s Footasylum business in a car park.

​JD said today there was no “wrongdoing” by its boss Peter Cowgill and opposite number at Footasylum Barry Bown.

The former firm inked a £90 million deal to buy its smaller rival Footasylum in 2019, a transaction that has been under the spotlight by the Competition and Markets Authority.

Cowgill and Bown were recorded meeting in a car park in Bury, near Greater Manchester, on July 5 2021, in a video leaked to the Sunday Times over the weekend.

The article said the CMA has launched an investigation into a possible breach of its rules relating to the takeover.

Shares in JD Sports declined 12p, or 1.07%, to 1109p.

Read more HERE.

Tesla opens down 7% in the pre-market in New York

Monday 8 November 2021 09:22 , Oscar Williams-Grut

As expected, Tesla shares are coming under early pressure in New York after Elon Musk’s weekend twitter poll.

The electric car maker’s stock is down 7% in pre-market trade after Musk suggested he would sell a 10% chunk of the company.

Tesla opens down 7% in the pre-market in New York

Monday 8 November 2021 09:22 , Oscar Williams-Grut

As expected, Tesla shares are coming under early pressure in New York after Elon Musk’s weekend twitter poll.

The electric car maker’s stock is down 7% in pre-market trade after Musk suggested he would sell a 10% chunk of the company.

Tesla shares fall on Musk share sale plans

Monday 8 November 2021 09:06 , Oscar Williams-Grut

Tesla’s share price dropped on Monday after boss Elon Musk said he would sell a 10% chunk of his holdings in the electric vehicle maker.

Billionaire Musk ran a Twitter poll over the weekend asking: “Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock. Do you support this?”

Over 3.5 million people voted in the poll, which began on Saturday. 57.9% voted in favour of Musk selling a 10% chunk of his holdings, which would be worth around $21 billion. Musk holds around Tesla 170.5 million shares, according to Bloomberg.

Musk said on Twitter he would “abide by the results of this poll, whichever way it goes” and said after it closed he was “prepared to accept either outcome”.

Shares in the electric car maker fell in Germany on Monday morning and are likely to come under pressure when trading opens in New York later today. Telsa was down 7.8% in Frankfurt.

Read more.

Darktrace on recovery trail

Monday 8 November 2021 08:54 , Graeme Evans

Shares in cyber security firm Darktrace, which finished last week at their lowest level since August, were today showing signs of recovery at the top of the FTSE 100 index risers board.

The 4% improvement, up 24p to 601.5p, came during an otherwise lacklustre session for London's top flight index, which edged 6.85 points higher to 7310.81.

The latest increase in the price of Brent crude ensured BP and Royal Dutch Shell were also on the risers board after gains of more than 1%.

Consumer-focused stocks including Next were under pressure, while there was no bounce for British Airways owner IAG and engines giant Rolls-Royce on the day US borders re-opened for fully-vaccinated travellers.

The FTSE 250 index was 49.30 points lower at 23,547.49, with fallers including the cruise ship business Carnival and retailer WH Smith.

Angling Direct hit by cyber attack

Monday 8 November 2021 08:32 , Oscar Williams-Grut

Phishing could be causing trouble for Angling Direct.

Hackers have taken over the company’s social media accounts and bought its website down. Angling Direct say the attack has been going on since Friday, with the company’s website down all weekend. Cyber security experts have been called in and regulators have been notified, though Angling Direct says it doesn’t think financial data has been compromised.

On Twitter, hackers using the company’s account claim to be transferring customer data to PornHub for some reason.

Angling Direct says this morning: “The Board does not anticipate that this incident will have a detrimental impact on underlying trading and the Company will continue to assess any cost exposure that this incident may create.”

Shares have sunk 5.8% at the open.

Sterling remains under pressure

Monday 8 November 2021 08:15 , Graeme Evans

The pound continues to trade at below $1.35 versus the US dollar, having been sent sharply lower last week by the Bank of England's surprise decision not to raise interest rates. It had been above $1.38 at the end of October.

Brent crude, meanwhile, was back above $83.50 a barrel in the futures market after OPEC+ resisted calls to go beyond the 400,000 barrels a day increase in production already planned for next month.

The price of iron ore is heading in the other direction, falling 3% to its lowest level since May 2020 after China put pressure on its steel producers to curb output.

Mixed start to week for markets

Monday 8 November 2021 07:56 , Graeme Evans

Friday's payrolls report showing the addition of 531,000 new jobs in the US last month set the scene for Wall Street markets to reach more record levels before the weekend.

The disclosure of Pfizer's antiviral pill, which is said to reduce hospitalisations and deaths in high-risk patients by 89%, also gave a further boost to the travel industry ahead of today's re-opening of US borders.

New York-listed travel-focused stocks including Airbnb, Boeing and Expedia were sharply higher, while engines giant Rolls-Royce was among those making progress in London.

Today's session is looking more mixed, however, after a lacklustre performance for Asia markets as traders turn their attention to this week's inflation figures in China and the US.

The latest China trade data for October also gave a mixed insight into the world’s second biggest economy as it deals with disruption at ports and various lockdown restriction.

These problems have been offset by retailers bringing forward their spending in order to ensure delivery in time for the Thanksgiving, Black Friday and the Christmas periods.

CMC Markets sees little change in European markets at the open, with the FTSE 100 index expected to be three points higher at 7307.

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