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What to watch: Homeserve jumps on update, BA retires 747s, and EU rescue package

Oscar Williams-Grut, Edmund Heaphy and Tom Belger
·3-min read
HomeServe USA in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Photo: Kristoffer Tripplaar/Sipa USA
HomeServe USA in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Photo: Kristoffer Tripplaar/Sipa USA

Here are the top business, market, and economic stories you should be watching today in the UK, Europe, and abroad:

Homeserve jumps on update

Home repairs business Homeserve (HSV.L) topped the FTSE 100 on Friday after a bullish update to investors.

Homeserve said there had been “no impact from the COVID-19 pandemic” on its membership renewals and said restarted advertising campaigns “producing better results than expected.”

The company said demand for home improvements has also “recovered strongly across all businesses,” with record traffic to its tradesman services.

Homeserve stock jumped 3.8%.

BA retires 747s

British Airways-owner International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG.L) slumped to the bottom of the FTSE 100 after announcing the retirement of BA’s entire 747 fleet.

“It is unlikely our magnificent ‘queen of the skies’ will ever operate commercial services for British Airways again due to the downturn in travel caused by the Covid-19 global pandemic,” the company said in a statement.

The airline is currently the largest operator of the 747s jumbo jets and was expecting to retire them in 2024.

IAG’s stock dropped 4%.

EU leaders debate rescue package

EU leaders are meeting in Brussels on Friday for the first of two days of talks negotiating an economic recovery fund for the bloc and budget plans for 2021 to 2027.

Analysts voiced doubt about whether agreement would be reached on the EU’s budget, expected at just over €1tn (£91bn, $1.1tn), and a recovery fund, estimated at €750m.

“Although an agreement is still possible this weekend, it would now be a positive surprise, and there’s no indication so far of the differences of opinion between the member states having been bridged yet,” Deutsche Bank analysts wrote.

Some of the stumbling blocks reflect longstanding dividing lines between northern and southern European countries.

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte is reluctant to sign off on the plans, calling for smaller measures and more strict conditionality on economic reform when countries receive funds, Reuters reports. Italy and Spain have pushed for grants rather than loans, while Hungary has threatened to use its veto over proposals to link funds to conditions around democratic policies.

Official EU forecasts last week predicted the eurozone will shrink by 8.7% this year, with southern European economies facing the biggest slump.

Stocks drift

European stocks were mixed as markets opened on Friday, ahead of the EU leaders’ summit on economic recovery planning from the coronavirus crisis.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index (^STOXX) and Britain’s FTSE 100 (^FTSE) were trading 0.2% higher at around 8.30am in London. Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) was up by 0.3%, but France’s CAC 40 (^FCHI) was down 0.1%.

“All attention will shift to the special European Council summit,” wrote Deutsche Bank analysts said in a note.

US futures were pointing to a higher open. S&P 500 futures (ES=F) rose by around 0.2%, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures (YM=F) edged 0.1% higher, and Nasdaq futures (NQ=F) were up 0.8%.