1700:Close The top tier index started the week on a weak note amid a near perfect storm of pound strength, soft base metals' prices, a twitter-storm on Capitol Hill at the weekend and ongoing trade and geopolitical frictions. Somewhat ironically, the chief trigger behind the downdraft in London-listed stocks was a relative 'positive' for the economy, in the form an understanding between Brussels and Westminster on the broad contours of the post-Brexit transition deal.
The Gambling Commission is to recommend that the government reduce the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), known as the “crack cocaine of gambling”, to £30 or less. However, in a move likely to come as a relief to bookmakers, the watchdog will not explicitly back a maximum £2 stake, instead suggesting measures to combat the risk of harm. - The Times.
1701: Tullow Oil has increased its bond offer to $880m from $650m. It's raising cash from debt by issuing senior debt notes offering 7%, due 2025 at par.
1748: NEX Group, Icap as was, has confirmed (in an announcement at 1737 GMT) that it has received a preliminary approach by CME Group regarding a potential acquisition of NEX. "Discussions are at an early stage and there can be no certainty that an offer for NEX will be made, nor as to the terms of any offer, if made. " .
Britain will be free to sign trade deals during the Brexit transition period without permission from the European Union after a climbdown by Brussels, The Times has learnt. EU negotiators have accepted the UK’s demand that it should be able to pursue an independent trade policy while remaining inside the customs union and single market.
1656: Having opened higher, the FTSE 100 ended the day very slightly in the red again, falling six points or 0. 085% to 7,132. 69.
MPs have accused the government of a “deeply regrettable” failure to put in place strong guarantees that the UK’s green investment bank will continue to support renewable energy after its privatisation. The public accounts committee said it was unclear whether the bank would continue to support the government’s energy policy or climate change goals, because the bank’s new owner is not legally bound to stick to its green aims. – Guardian.
1430: With Computacenter shares right atop their 200-day moving average, Credit Suisse has revised its target price for the shares higher from 1,300p to 1,380p, albeit noting how the company had already pre-announced its full-year figures. CS also point out that progress at the company will be held back by upcoming contract renewals - which tend to result in lower short-term profitability - and some isolated contract losses. "However, all industry news-flow suggests robust trading should continue.
Hiring confidence among British companies has reached its highest level in more than a year and recruitment is set to pick up as businesses shrug off downbeat economic projections, according to a closely watched study. Low unemployment and strong demand for more workers means companies are increasingly forced to pay joining bonuses of 15pc or 20pc of salaries to entice new recruits. The poll of 2,102 employers across nine different industry sectors by the recruitment firm ManpowerGroup is used by the Bank of England as an early indicator for changes in the jobs market.
1457: Shares of SSE are lower after the Competition and Markets Authority said it would examine the implications of the asset swap between E. ON and RWE for the already proposed tie-up between npower and SSE. 1449: Commenting on Friday's news of a possible Saudi order for 48 Typhoon jets, in a research note sent to clients analysts at JP Morgan highlight the lack of detail around when the formal contract will be signed. Assuming a handful of deliveries in 2019 and eight per year between 2020 and 2024, then the broker's estimates for BAE's earnings per share might get a lift of between 2% and 4% in 2019 and 2020, possibly more if weapons were also provided, they said.
House prices in parts of London that were once at the epicentre of the UK property boom have fallen as much as 15% over the past year in fresh evidence of the impact of the EU referendum. Figures from Your Move, one of the UK’s biggest estate agency chains, reveal that the average home in Wandsworth – which includes much of Clapham, Balham and Putney – fell by more than £100,000 in value over the last 12 months. – Guardian.
1655: Reports emerging from the US that Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein will retire by the year end. Elsewhere, US markets have sprinted higher in the wake of an NFP report that may be justifiably described as a ‘Goldilocks’ update, one that harks back to the easy days of 2017, says analyst Chris Beauchamp at IG. "Fears of the Fed moving into higher gear with tightening have receded this afternoon, capping gains in the dollar and causing stocks to rocket.
Donald Trump pushed forward with plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports on Thursday, arguing the levies were necessary for national security and to stop the “assault on our country”. Flanked by steel and aluminium workers and key staff, Trump said he had to act to stop the “decimation of entire communities” and insisted there would be a very fair process as the administration used the next 15 days to negotiate exemptions with allies. Canada and Mexico will be exempted.
1652: In remarks to WebFG UK, one financial industry veteran describes Wilbur Ross as 'balanced', explains he won't do anything foolish. On that note, economists at Oxford Economics are out with a note saying: "Our models indicate the odds of a recession this year range from 1% to 15%, changing little since last month and remaining well below critical thresholds. "Importantly though, the imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs and Gary Cohn's resignation as Trump's top economic adviser signal an increased risk of US trade protectionism, which could elicit international retaliation and increase the risk of an economic downturn.
Uber has confirmed that it is looking to secure a $1. 25bn (£900m) leveraged loan, less than a month after revealing that its losses ballooned to $4. 5bn last year. The ride-hailing company is thought to be contacting loan investors directly over the financing, which was first reported by Bloomberg, with Uber expected to meet with investors on Friday. – Telegraph.
1357: Several Goldman Sachs staff in London have been "put on notice" about moving to Frankfurt within weeks, Reuters is reporting. The US investment bank has apparently begun to take the steps to minimize disruption to clients, with the first to move being derivatives and debt capital markets teams working on German accounts.
Philip Hammond will insist on Wednesday that Britain can overcome EU opposition and include financial services in a post-Brexit free trade deal. The chancellor is expected to use a speech in the City to challenge the idea – voiced strongly by France’s finance minister on Tuesday – that financial services have never been included in trade deals because of their complexity and the risks to stability. – Guardian.
1736: London stocks closed higher on Tuesday, extending their positive run to a second day thanks in part to excitement in the paper and packaging sector after Smurfit Kappa rejected a takeover bid, but with concerns about a US trade war keeping a lid on things. The FTSE 100 closed off its morning highs but almost 31 points or 0. 4% higher for the day at 7,146. 75. The pound was 0. 4% weaker against the euro at 1. 1186, approaching levels last seen in December, but up 0.
Philip Hammond has stressed the urgency of securing an implementation deal between Britain and the EU by the end of this month, warning that without it airlines will not know if they can safely schedule flights for spring 2019. The chancellor told a parliamentary committee that it was in the interests of both sides to agree to the terms of the transition period at the March EU council meeting. - Guardian.
1700:Close Stocks finished the session on a strong note, with better-than-expected readings on UK and US services sectors helping to lift the mood. Industrial stocks fared best in London, on the back of supportive comments from Goldman Sachs that gave shares of DS Smith and Smurfit Kappa a boost. That was despite worries about trade frictions following the White House's push on steel and aluminium tariffs. And on a related note, perhaps, Ultra Electronics led the downside after announcing the US DoJ had put the kybosh on its ERAPSCO JV with Sparton, after raising competition concerns that led Ultra and Sparton to call off their proposed tie-up.