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What to Watch: HMV rescue, stocks surge, BP and Ocado results

Alanna Petroff
Senior Economics Correspondent at Yahoo Finance UK
BP reported full-year results on Tuesday morning. Photo: Igor Golovniov/Getty Images

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

HMV rescued by Canadian music entrepreneur

British music retailer HMV has been rescued from administration by Canadian entrepreneur Doug Putman, who owns a similar chain of stores in Canada called Sunrise Records.

In a written statement issued on Tuesday, Putman said “the physical media business is here to stay,” noting he was “delighted to acquire the most iconic music and entertainment business in the UK.”

Putman’s purchase will save 100 HMV stores and 1,487 jobs. However, 27 stores were not acquired and will be closed immediately, resulting in 455 job losses.


BP and Ocado report annual results

Oil giant BP (BP.L) said its profit doubled to $12.7bn (£9.8bn) in 2018, driven by strong growth in oil and gas output following the acquisition of a large portfolio of US shale assets.

BP shares rose around 4% in morning trading in London.

“This is the eighth quarter in a row that BP have beaten … expectations. Surely that’s enough to convince ‘Mr Market’ that something has changed inside BP,” Bernstein analyst Oswald Clint said.

British online supermarket and technology group Ocado (OCDO.L) also reported its annual financial results on Tuesday. The company said its pursuit of more partnership deals would hit short term profits as it reported a 21% fall in full-year earnings, held back by investment and new accounting standards.

The firm’s shares held steady on Tuesday. They have nearly doubled in value over the last year thanks to four major overseas partnership deals.

Meanwhile, Ocado CEO Tim Steiner declined to comment on media reports that it is in talks with Marks & Spencer (MKS.L) regarding a possible partnership.

“We’re in the business of talking to retailers, we’re constantly talking to different retailers all around the world about opportunities we may have with them,” he said. “We won’t comment on who we’re talking to and who we’re not talking to.”

European market overview

European stock markets were buoyant on Tuesday morning, with Britain’s FTSE 100 (^FTSE), Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) and France’s CAC 40 (^FCHI) all rising by about 1%. 

This comes after most Asian markets closed the day with gains.

In the US, the S&P 500 (ES=F), Dow Jones industrial average (YM=F) and Nasdaq (NQ=F) were all pointing up in premarket trading.

Meanwhile, the UK pound (GBPUSD=X) was slipping to trade around $1.30 after a new economic report from IHS Markit showed the country’s dominant services sector reported job cuts in January for the first time in six years.

“Survey respondents overwhelmingly linked the slowdown in business activity growth to heightened political uncertainty at the start of 2019,” the report said. “A number of service providers reported that Brexit-related concerns had dampened client demand and resulted in delayed decision making on new projects.”

With files from Reuters