|Bid||602.40 x 0|
|Ask||602.70 x 0|
|Day's range||597.60 - 604.10|
|52-week range||6.30 - 695.90|
|Beta (3Y monthly)||0.78|
|PE ratio (TTM)||8.72|
|Earnings date||28 Oct 2019|
|Forward dividend & yield||0.33 (5.48%)|
|1y target est||9.20|
London's main index ended firmly in the red on Tuesday after new U.S.-China trade jitters and political instability in Italy took down heavyweight firms across sectors, while exporter stocks dipped as the pound gained after German Chancellor Angela Merkel's comments on the Brexit process. The FTSE 100 gave up earlier gains and shed 0.9%, though investors still hoped for fresh stimulus from central banks and governments to beat back the risk of recession. The FTSE 250 lost 0.5%.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday she hoped a peaceful weekend anti-government protest was the start of efforts to restore calm and that talks with non-violent protesters would provide "a way out" for the Chinese-ruled city. Hundreds of thousands of protesters rallied peacefully in torrential rain on Sunday in the eleventh week of what have been often violent demonstrations. Anger erupted in June over a now-suspended bill that would allow criminal suspects in the former British colony to be extradited to mainland China for trial.
Saudi Aramco has formally asked major banks to submit proposals for potential roles in its planned initial public offering, two sources said, in what could be the world's biggest IPO. Aramco's planned IPO, which could potentially raise $100 billion, is the centrepiece of Saudi Arabia's economic transformation drive to attract foreign investment and diversify away from oil.
London's FTSE 100 bagged gains on Monday led by oil majors and Asia-exposed banks that rose on moves by China to keep business interest rates low, while pub operator Greene King helped midcaps outshine after agreeing to be bought out. The FTSE 100 added 1%, its biggest one-day rise in more than 10 days, but a 50% surge in Greene King shares helped the FTSE 250 index outperform with a 1.5% rise.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- It’s hard not to see HSBC Holdings Plc’s exclusion from China’s interest-rate reform as a snub.Hong Kong’s biggest bank wasn’t included in a list of 18 lenders that will participate in pricing for a new loan prime rate that the People’s Bank of China will start releasing Tuesday. The roster includes foreign lenders Standard Chartered Plc and Citigroup Inc., which have smaller China businesses than HSBC.It’s the latest sign that all may not be well in HSBC’s relations with Beijing, after a turbulent period that has seen the departures this month of Chief Executive Officer John Flint and the bank’s Greater China head, Helen Wong. HSBC shares fell 13% in Hong Kong this year through last Friday, compared with a decline of less than 1% in the benchmark Hang Seng Index.London-based HSBC, which is also Europe’s biggest bank, has made China a key plank of its growth strategy. The lender is the third-largest corporate bank in the country by market penetration, according to data provider Greenwich Associates LLC. That places it ahead even of China Construction Bank Corp. and Agricultural Bank of China Ltd., two of the nation’s big four state-owned lenders. Standard Chartered and Citigroup don’t rank among the top five, according Gaurav Arora, head of Asia Pacific at Greenwich.It could be argued that HSBC’s focus on big corporate clients means it’s less attuned to the loan market for small and medium-size enterprises that are the focus of China’s changes to its interest-rate regime. That would be a stretch, though. Corporate banking is a scale game. And even though StanChart may have a greater preponderance of smaller clients, HSBC surely has many similar customers. Citigroup’s inclusion makes more sense: It’s the only U.S. bank in China with a consumer-lending business that spans credit cards to SME loans. The list also includes less influential domestic lenders such as Bank of Xian Co. Those searching for reasons why HSBC may have fallen into China’s bad books may point to Huawei Technologies Co. Liu Xiaoming, China’s ambassador to the U.K., summoned Flint to the embassy earlier this year to interrogate him over the bank’s role in the arrest and prosecution of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei, the Financial Times reported Monday. The then-CEO told him HSBC had no option but to turn over information that helped U.S. prosecutors build a case against Meng, the FT said. On Aug. 9, an HSBC spokeswoman denied that Wong’s departure as Greater China head was linked to any issue involving Huawei, pointing out that she announced her resignation before Flint’s departure. Still, the bank has faced criticism in China’s state-owned media over its role in the case. The way HSBC helped the U.S. Department of Justice acquire documents concerning Huawei was unethical, the Global Times reported previously, citing a source close to the matter. The bank was likely to be included in China’s first “unreliable entity” list of companies that have jeopardized the interests of Chinese firms, it said.The timing of China’s interest-rate snub won’t do anything to quell jitters, coming a day after Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. CEO Rupert Hogg resigned amid criticism from Chinese regulators over its stance on employee participation in Hong Kong’s protests. Beijing is becoming more muscular in its attitude to the city’s unrest and foreign-owned businesses aren’t being spared. In an increasingly politicized environment, even a business that’s been around for 154 years will have to tread carefully. To contact the author of this story: Nisha Gopalan at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Matthew Brooker at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Nisha Gopalan is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering deals and banking. She previously worked for the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones as an editor and a reporter.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Hong Kong is gearing up for further protests this week after hundreds of thousands of anti-government demonstrators braved heavy rain to rally peacefully on Sunday, marking a change to what have often been violent clashes. Sunday's massive turnout, which organisers put at 1.7 million, showed that the movement still has widespread support despite chaotic scenes last week when protesters occupied the Chinese-ruled city's airport. Some activists had apologised for the airport turmoil and on Sunday night protesters could be seen urging others to go home peacefully.
HONG KONG/SINGAPORE Aug 16 (Reuters) - Cathay Pacific Airways CEO Rupert Hogg resigned in a shock move on Friday, amid mounting Chinese regulatory scrutiny of the Hong Kong carrier over the involvement of its employees in the city's anti-government protests. The sudden departure signals growing pressure on the corporate sector in the Chinese-controlled former British colony, home to multinationals such as HSBC Holdings and Jardine Matheson Holdings, to support Beijing.
A technical glitch delayed the start of trading on Friday on the UK blue chip FTSE 100 and midcap stock indexes for almost two hours in what was the longest outage at one of the world's top bourses in eight years. The London Stock Exchange suffered a "technical software issue", which postponed the opening of trading until 0840 GMT, a spokeswoman said in an email. Traders were frustrated by the latest outage coming during a hectic week on global financial markets, hit by worries about a U.S. recession and the U.S.-China trade spat.
London's FTSE 100 tumbled to a six-month low as China's warning to counter the latest U.S. tariffs fanned trade tensions, while the more domestically focused midcap index fared better in comparison, amid investors' hopes of averting a no-deal Brexit. The FTSE 100 index shed 1.1%, lagging its European peers, with losses led by oil majors and financial stocks.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Is your company immune to Brexit? With the looming threat of the U.K. leaving the EU without a withdrawal deal and a slim but rising risk of the pound plunging to parity with the dollar, more chief executives are telling investors they can handle any eventuality – however messy.Unfortunately, having a fully fleshed out Brexit contingency plan is a luxury not all firms can afford. Nor does it solve the question of how any company will cope if a no-deal departure crashes the economy.A hunt through Bloomberg’s trove of filings of company financial results throws up six publicly-traded companies that have labeled themselves “Brexit-proof,” or close to it. These are: healthcare facilities provider Primary Health Properties Plc; wealth manager Rathbone Brothers Plc; food producer Cranswick Plc; industrial real estate firm Stenprop Ltd.; Lloyd’s of London and the payments technology provider Net 1 UEPS Technologies Inc.Their confidence stems either from the niche products that they sell, their domestic U.K. supply chains (meaning less exposure to a sudden rise in tariff barriers to trade), or the fact that they’ll keep EU-based hubs that remove the uncertainty of regulatory hurdles.They’re not alone in their messages of comfort. Much of the finance world has had to prepare for the worst, including the likes of Barclays Plc, HSBC Holdings Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. Other industries are joining the fray. “Leaving the EU without a deal is not corporate death for us, but it’s annoying,” the boss of the Volskwagen AG-owned luxury carmaker Bentley said this week. A no-deal scenario means only “mild disruption” for the retailer Next Plc, according to its CEO Simon Wolfson. Is this complacency or just sound planning?There are three big Brexit risks cited frequently by companies: Tariff barriers, non-tariff or regulatory hurdles, and logistical issues such as holdups at ports.On tariffs, the Confederation of British Industry lobby group has offered up some dire warnings, including textile imports from Turkey facing an average charge of 12% post-Brexit and vehicle exports to the EU getting whacked with a 10% levy. But some firms think they can take the pain. Next estimates 20 million pounds ($24 million) in additional input costs from import duties, equivalent to a 0.5% price increase on its clothing products. Chemicals producer Croda International Plc estimates a “mid-to-high single-digit million” impact from tariffs, a cost it would partly absorb and partly pass on to customers. Makers of higher end stuff, such as $200,000 Bentleys, will be confident of getting shoppers to fork out more if their costs go up.On the threat of more regulation and other non-tariff changes, some CEOs are equally sanguine. Croda’s management says it’s ready to re-register its products in the EU in the event of a no-deal departure. Next says there’s no reason why independent testing of its products would stop them being acceptable to Brussels regulators.On the fear about logistical snarl-ups in the immediate aftermath of a sudden U.K.-EU rupture, the more optimistic British bosses point to their stockpiling of goods and securing of alternative supply routes. Several say they’ve amassed six months’ worth of supply usually delivered from Europe. Bentley and Next say they can avoid the crowded Dover-Calais shipping route if it’s disrupted. “I’m much less frightened of no-deal,” says Wolfson.It’s important to remember, however, that all of this preparation costs money (and that Wolfson is a Conservative Party peer and leave voter). A look at Next’s 11-page Brexit contingency plan published last year shows an elaborate new structure to limit the pain. It has set up a German company through which it intends to shift more European sales and an Irish entity to handle orders there.Yet allocating millions to emergency plans means delaying investment or passing on the cost to suppliers or clients. Some companies can swallow this more easily than others. For Westley Group, a small foundry and engineering group, a loss of 2 million pounds in EU orders related to Brexit last year equated to 7% of its revenue. That’s significant.And managing to survive the worst ravages of a hard break with Europe won’t mean much if the U.K. economy is worse off. Investors are certainly betting that way by favoring the big, internationally diversified companies of the FTSE 100 over those that make most of their sales in Britain.The chart above shows a 13% performance gap over the past year between the shares of British exporters (which get most of their revenue overseas) and those of domestically-focused U.K. companies. It’s interesting that the latter group include companies that claim to be fully prepared such as Barclays.One thing CEOs can't control is investors’ own emergency plans.\--With assistance from Mark Gilbert .To contact the author of this story: Lionel Laurent at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Lionel Laurent is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Brussels. He previously worked at Reuters and Forbes.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Britain's FTSE 100 tumbled to its lowest in more than two months on Wednesday after the yields on 10-year U.S. and UK government bonds fell below two-year equivalents for the first time since the financial crisis, signalling mounting fears of recession. The FTSE 100 index, already under pressure from weak Chinese economic data, ended down 1.4%, with losses across all but one sector.
UK shares bagged gains for the day, reversing earlier losses, after the United States said it would delay tariffs on some Chinese products, offering respite to investors who had been gripped with fears over the trade dispute. The FTSE 100, which had started off the session in the red amid Hong Kong protests and the U.S.-China trade worries, ended 0.3% higher. The midcap index rose 0.5%.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- A 12,000-foot-high Alpine mountain range and 250 miles separate AMS AG’s base in the Austrian town of Premstaetten and Osram Licht AG’s Munich headquarters. The Austrian firm must overcome much bigger obstacles in its attempted takeover of the German lighting-maker. After months of toing and froing, AMS finally tabled a 3.7 billion-euro ($4.1 billion) approach for Osram late on Sunday. The deal would trump a 3.4 billion-euro bid from Bain Capital and Carlyle Group LP that Osram has already accepted. From that perspective, it looks very attractive to the German company’s investors. The approach offers a glimmer of hope: the Bain-Carlyle bid appears dead in the water after being rejected by Allianz Global Investors, Osram’s biggest shareholder, last week.The difficulty is on the AMS side. Chief Executive Officer Alexander Everke hasn’t yet done enough to warrant lifting the company’s debt ratios to levels well above most peers in exchange for returns in the near term that are likely to be below capital costs, based on planned synergies and analyst earnings forecasts. The company is confident returns will exceed costs in the second year after the deal completes. That will be contingent on hitting some ambitious savings targets. In Everke’s three years at the helm, AMS has generated significantly lower returns for shareholders than the Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index, despite major outlays on acquisitions and manufacturing capacity. Sure, AMS has improved its sensor offering and, after a bumpy few years, might finally be starting to demonstrate returns on that spending.But integrating Osram, with its 24,300 employees globally, is a significantly greater challenge than AMS’s biggest acquisition to date: The 2016 deal to buy Heptagon, with just 830 employees, for $570 million.To fund the takeover, AMS plans a 1.5 billion-euro equity increase, underwritten by UBS Group AG and HSBC Holdings Plc, which 50% of shareholders will need to approve at an extraordinary general meeting in the fourth quarter. In return, it will get a company whose core automotive market is shrinking.The offer is a gamble on carmakers adopting more and smarter sensor technology for the vehicles they are still able to sell. Osram’s strongest business has traditionally been car headlamps, but in recent years it has expanded into different parts of the optical spectrum, such as infra-red. AMS is optimistic that it can package those products with its sensors to work in autonomous cars (which might need laser-based environmental sensors) and for in-cabin sensing (to tell, for example, if the driver has fallen asleep).It seems a hell of a lot of upfront risk given that it’s unclear what kind of sensors autonomous cars will need when they hit the roads on a significant scale in perhaps a decade’s time. AMS was unwise to invest so heavily in smartphone sensors when it did. But the automotive sensor market is not the best way to diversify.\--With assistance from Chris Hughes.To contact the author of this story: Alex Webb at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Baker at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The new digital lending platform, powered by the leading end-to-end technology platform Amount, provides U.S. consumers with a simple way to apply for personal loans online
London's FTSE 100 surrendered early gains on Monday, with Asia-focused shares particularly badly hit by worries over protests in Hong Kong, while tour company Thomas Cook plunged after updating on its recapitalisation plans. The FTSE 100 index ended 0.4% lower, while the midcap index dropped 0.9% as concerns about the health of the British economy, the world's fifth-largest, lingered after data on Friday showed a surprise downturn in the last quarter.
Austrian sensor specialist AMS triggered a bidding war for Osram on Sunday, saying it was ready to pay $3.8 billion for the German lighting group's shares, 10% more than finance investors Bain Capital and Carlyle have already offered. Osram, which is grappling with weakness in the automotive industry and a broader economic slowdown, had sparked bidding interest because of its potential as a supplier for connected and autonomous cars. Bain and Carlyle's bid of 35 euros per Osram share, expected to conclude on Sept. 5, has the backing of the Munich group's managing and supervisory boards.
Royston Wild discusses two FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE: UKX) stocks he reckons could make you rich in retirement. Read on!
HSBC Holdings' Greater China Chief Executive Helen Wong is leaving, a bank spokeswoman said on Friday, the second senior departure this week after the ousting of group CEO John Flint. Wong has decided to leave to pursue an external opportunity, the spokeswoman said, adding that her role will be dropped and the Greater China region, which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan, would be run by the respective country heads. Greater China is HSBC's biggest profit driver, but the banking sector outlook in the region has been clouded by the tit-for-tat tariff war between China and the United States, as well as unrest in Hong Kong.
HSBC Holdings' Greater China Chief Executive Helen Wong is leaving, a bank spokeswoman said on Friday, the second senior departure this week after the ousting of group CEO John Flint. Wong has decided to leave to pursue an external opportunity, the spokeswoman said, adding that her role will be dropped and the Greater China region, which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan, would be run by the respective country heads.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- What’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions “remittance”? Expatriates sending money home. Second? Lousy exchange rates.While exorbitant currency spreads and hefty bank charges are the norm for payments that cross national borders, the impression that they mostly affect individuals is wrong. Annual people-to-people transactions amount to $400 billion a year. People-to-business payments – like sending fees to schools overseas – come to another $1.5 trillion. Those are substantial figures, but they pale before the $124 trillion of business-to-business transfers, according to McKinsey & Co.A large multinational may be able to squeeze a saving from its corporate bank, but SMEs and individuals get routinely shortchanged. The challenge is acute in Asia, where money transfer costs are three-fifths higher than in Europe or the U.S. Capital controls and fragmented domestic banking industries breed inefficiency, which helps banks garner $85 billion in annual revenue – $38 billion more than what they make from cross-border transfers in North America. That hurts the competitiveness of smaller Asian firms.On their own, banks would have done nothing to alter the status quo. But a rising challenge from fintech means better rates are coming to Asia, and not a day too soon. The export-led region is deeply enmeshed in global supply chains. (The disruption caused by the China-U.S. trade war has demonstrated that amply.) Many of the small and midsize firms that move anywhere between $11 trillion and $15 trillion internationally are in Asia. To that add digital consumption, which is growing everywhere but exploding in the region. Finally, every small saving on Western Union transfers by Indian, Bangladeshi and Filipino overseas workers gives them more ability to consume other things.All this makes it crucial that clients in Asia – both individuals and small firms – get fair prices. But what’s fair? Zero, or a number very close to it, Harsh Sinha, the London-based chief technology officer at TransferWise Ltd., tells me. Currently, the global average for the payment industry ranges between $25 and $35. When the lender receiving customers’ funds needs a correspondent bank in another part of the world to complete the transaction, costs pile up. Something as innocuous as buying a cup of coffee with a Hong Kong credit card in Bangkok is punished for making unforeseen demands on local banking liquidity.TransferWise, an eight-year-old startup that’s now valued at $3.5 billion, came into being when its two Estonian-born co-founders, Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Kaarmann, stumbled upon a solution: If one of them had pounds and needed kroons, the Estonian currency, and the other had the opposite need, they could be of mutual help. Since two flows can’t be perfectly matched, TransferWise uses algorithms to predict which country will need liquidity, when, and top up the bucket accordingly with its own funds. Customers get mid-market exchange rates – and not the vastly different “we buy at/we sell at” prices displayed by money-changers. TransferWise says it’s up to eight times cheaper than banks.Challenger banks reckon that fintech can help them shake the dominance of entrenched rivals. Sinha says TransferWise is open to bundling its money transfer service with another bank’s app, something it has done with Monzo in the U.K., and Bunq in the Netherlands. Now’s the time for such partnerships in Asia. As many as eight virtual banks will be arriving soon in Hong Kong. Singapore may license up to five. Taiwan has approved three. More are coming. Traditional banks must raise their game to keep customers from fleeing to the likes of TransferWise and Revolut Ltd., which are held up by researcher Oliver Wyman as examples of fintech specialists “capturing share from banks and driving down margins.” HSBC Holdings Plc, which together with a subsidiary has a lock on 30% of Hong Kong’s deposits, started offering a “first ever” 12-currency debit card to its top-end customers last month. That still doesn’t match the 40-currency card that TransferWise is bringing to Singapore, its Asia-Pacific headquarters, later this year, though it does take care of the paying-for-coffee problem in Bangkok.TransferWise is already profitable and confident that as volumes grow from 4 billion pounds ($4.9 billion) a month, its costs per transaction will go down. Still, it did raise some fees last year for U.S. customers after conceding its previous charges were unsustainable. But banks can’t be smug. The revolution that apps like WeChat Pay and Alipay ushered in for domestic payments in China has caught on. As local-currency payments in Asia become instantaneous, cashless and cheap, customers will demand similar features when they remit funds overseas.After all, it’s not like an intermediary needs to move a sackful of dollars anywhere. As Sinha says, it’s just data hopping from one computer to another. Why should it cost $25? To contact the author of this story: Andy Mukherjee at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Matthew Brooker at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andy Mukherjee is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies and financial services. He previously was a columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He has also worked for the Straits Times, ET NOW and Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.