Legal & General acquiring ETF platform Canvas, TalkTalk customer numbers rise at expense of profits
The FTSE 100 is expected to open 25 points lower on Wednesday, having closed down 0.01% at 7,414.42 on Tuesday.
Stocks to watch
Legal & General Group announced on Wednesday that Legal & General Investment Management Holdings has entered into an agreement to acquire Canvas, the established exchange traded fund platform of ETF Securities, for an undisclosed consideration. The FTSE 100 firm said the acquisition includes the platform and embedded infrastructure for ETFs, as well as $2.7bn of existing assets across 17 products and partnerships in equity, fixed income and commodities.
AstraZeneca and its global biologics research and development arm, MedImmune, announced on Wednesday that the US Food and Drug Administration has approved Fasenra (benralizumab) for the add-on maintenance treatment of patients with severe asthma aged 12 years and older, and with an eosinophilic phenotype. The FTSE 100 firm said the FDA approval was based on results from the WINDWARD programme, including the pivotal Phase III exacerbation trials, SIROCCO and CALIMA, and the Phase III oral corticosteroid-sparing trial, ZONDA.
TalkTalk Telecom drummed up an impressive number of new customers in the first half of the year but at the expense of profits, which fell into the red and will be towards the lower end of its guided range for the full year. In the six months to 30 September, it delivered 46,000 net adds, well ahead of the consensus forecast of 30,000, but reported a statutory loss before tax of £75m compared to a £30m profit last time.
Philip Hammond is facing renewed calls to unfreeze public sector pay, as fresh analysis suggests the cost to the Treasury would be cushioned by £2.5bn in additional tax revenues and benefits savings. A significant portion of funding required to lift the cap would be returned almost immediately to the Treasury, according to research from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) thinktank. – Guardian
Britain’s trade unions have been warned they face increasing irrelevance without radical reform to attract new members in fast-growing sectors with large numbers of casual employees, such as the hospitality industry. The warning comes in a report from the left wing thinktank the Fabian Society and the Community union, with analysis showing that the country’s fastest-growing industries have the lowest levels of membership. - Guardian
UK business leaders would prefer to stick with EU rules on goods and services in order to preserve their current trading relationships. In a survey of more than 900 members of the Institute of Directors, 51pc of businesses wanted to keep the current levels of access to the single market, in order to maintain continuity with their current business plans. However, nearly a quarter would prefer to change regulations after leaving the EU even if it made trade between the UK and the single market more difficult. – Telegraph
The Treasury’s carbon tax has propelled Britain into the top 10 of a global low-carbon electricity league table faster than any other country, igniting calls from the clean energy industry for the upcoming budget to keep the support in place. The fresh research shows that Britain has climbed from a 2012 ranking of 20th out of 33 industrialised countries to 7th on the low-carbon electricity league table. - Telegraph
Gocompare.com has received approaches for a £460 million takeover from the company behind Uswitch, its rival price comparison site. A report on Sky News flushed out statements from both Gocompare and ZPG, its suitor, which also owns Zoopla, the property search portal, as well as the money.co.uk website. – The Times
The UK will lose 63,000 dollar millionaires over the next five years as a result of Brexit, while the rest of the world creates eight million more, according to a survey of global wealth. Britain will be the only one of 23 big economies to suffer a fall in the number of millionaires, from 2.19 million to 2.13 million by 2022, Credit Suisse predicted in its annual Global Wealth Report. – The Times
Stocks again saw losses on Tuesday as some of Wall Street's most veteran investors sounded a cautious note on the outlook for the current bull market equities.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 0.13%, the S&P 500 lost 0.23% to 2,578.87 and the Nasdaq 100 settled 0.36% lower at 6,293.64.
"Icarus is flying ever closer to the sun," Bank of America-Merrill Lynch's chief investment strategist said, pointing to signs of “irrational exuberance” among investors in the investment bank's latest global survey of fund managers.
“Investors' risk-taking has hit an all-time high,” noted Merrill’s Michael Hartnett.
“A record high percentage of investors say equities are overvalued yet cash levels are simultaneously falling, an indicator of irrational exuberance.”
According to the latest FMS average cash balances fell from 4.7% in October to 4.4% in November - their lowest level since October 2013 - as asset managers chased markets higher.
Tuesday also marked the last day of US President Donald's Trump's trip to Asia with investors watching out for any developments over the future of a tax reform deal too.