1620: The internationally focused FTSE 100 is in the red but the more domestically exposed FTSE 250 is firmly higher. The blue chip index's losses come as traders continue to fear the tightening implications of a hawkish shift in monetary policy thanks to rising inflation, says analyst Joshua Mahony at IG.
Two more shareholders in BHP Billiton have put pressure on the board of the FTSE 100 mining giant by urging it to consider dropping its dual listing, which Elliott Advisors, an activist investor, says is “obsolete and value destroying”. Baring Asset Management and Plato Investment Management, which control shares worth about $280 million, have asked BHP to set out why it believes the time is not right to consider simplifying its structure. - The Times.
The average price of a UK property coming on to the market has risen by more than £2,400 in a month to just over £300,000 amid evidence of “record” levels of house-hunting activity, according to Rightmove. The website, which tracks 90% of the UK property market, said the national average asking price for a home had increased by 0. 8% during the past month, following the 0. 7% rise it reported in mid-January. – Guardian.
1635: The FTSE 100 closed 59. 89 points or 0. 83% higher at 7,294. 70 on Friday, adding 202. 5 or 2. 9% over the week. The pound is off it's lows from earlier in the afternoon, but still down 0. 3% against the dollar at 1. 4055 but up 0. 2% on the euro at 1. 1294.
One of the City’s most influential shareholder advisory groups has told investors in Booker Group to vote against a proposed £3. 7 billion sale of the cash-and-carry business to Tesco. With just two weeks before a shareholder vote on the takeover, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) said that the recent uplift in Booker’s share price meant that Tesco “appears to be getting the better deal under the current terms”. - The Times.
1500: Despite the recent more than havling in its price, Bitcoin is still out there (somewhere . probably), with prices edging back towards the $10,000 mark. "Volatility and bitcoin go together hand-in-hand, so expect plenty more highs and lows over the coming weeks and months," writes Dennis de Jong at UFX. Despite Berkshire Hathaway's Charles Munger dubing it "noxious poison", de Jong believes that won't stop investors from plunging their money in. As an aside, CBoE's VIX down 4.
Britain is set for a pay rise as the world economy lifts growth and falling migration makes it harder for companies to find cheap foreign labour. A report by the regional agents of the Bank of England suggests firms expect to give the average worker a 3. 1 per cent pay rise in 2018, compared to 2. 6 per cent last year, amid the strongest growth for a decade. - Daily Mail.
1847: Northern Ireland talks collapse. DUP's Arlene Foster points to disagreements over a "stand alone" Irish Language Act as the main stumbling block, BBC reports.
MPs are planning to make an unprecedented use of their parliamentary powers to publish a report into the mistreatment of thousands of small and medium-sized companies by Royal Bank of Scotland. Nicky Morgan has asked the Treasury select committee, which she chairs, to support the release of the confidential document, having used parliamentary privilege to obtain it from the Financial Conduct Authority. - The Times.
1920: English Premier League football TV broadcasting rights for the three seasons beginning 2019/20 have been decided - well most of them. BT Sport and Sky Sports have defended well, keeping most of the games for a cost of £4. 46bn, with two of the seven live broadcasting packages still to be confirmed by the EPL, which said there was "interest from multiple bidders". BT Group has secured a package of 32 games per season for a total across the three seasons of £885m.
MPs have accused the “big four” accountancy firms of “feasting on what was soon to become a carcass” as it emerged they banked £72m for work linked to collapsed government contractor Carillion in the years leading up to its financial failure. Less than a fortnight before Carillion’s auditor KPMG is due to face questions from MPs on two select committees, the accountant and rivals Deloitte, EY and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) submitted evidence to the inquiry.
1630: Fed not stressing, Michael Gapen and Pooja Sriram at Barclays believe, telling clients: "US equity markets falling into correction territory in recent days begs the question of how far equities would have to fall, or volatility to rise, for the Fed to consider a delay to its policy plans. We think it is too early for the Fed to consider altering course and we believe the committee will likely take some comfort in the tightening in financial conditions as it will reduce the risk of a hard landing over time.
Discount grocer Aldi has taken over from upmarket rival Waitrose as Britain’s favourite supermarket according to an influential shopper survey. The fast-growing German discounter has impressed shoppers with the quality of its fresh and own-label food as well as its special offers, according to the annual best and worst supermarket satisfaction survey by Which?. – Guardian.
1650: By the close on Friday, the FTSE 100 had fallen 78. 26 points or 1. 09% to end at 7,092. 43, which is a fall of almost 5% for the week and almost 8% from the high of mid-January. Swissquote analysts added their tuppenceworth: "Markets remain on edge as growing unease over higher inflation and policy rates have sent equites into a tailspin. Global stocks sold off-across the board, bond yields rallied while volatility, hibernating until now, surged. Yet, signs of real 'normalization' remain distant.
Facebook, Google and Netflix are not submitting bids for the next round of Premier League TV rights, with most analysts believing Sky and BT will remain the major players. It had been thought the Silicon Valley tech giants could intervene and cause a price hike from the £5. 1bn Sky and BT combined paid in 2015 but the Guardian understands they are not yet ready to get involved in live sport rights in the UK. - Guardian.
1700: Close The Footsie gave back the lion's share of the previous session's gains as a more hawkish-than-expected MPC saw 10-year Gilts slump, pushing their yield up by as much as 11 basis points to 1. 66% at one point. However, some analysts cautioned that markets might be getting a little ahead of themselves. Thus, and on the more dovish side of things, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch told clients: "So we now expect a 25bp Bank Rate hike in May and another in February 2019.
The boss of Britain’s biggest pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline, has urged the government to sign a two-year transition deal by April to ensure the industry can cope with the impact of Brexit. Emma Walmsley, GSK’s chief executive, said the tight deadline was key to giving businesses the clarity needed to invest. “The most important thing is that we get a transition period of at least two years, starting from March 2019, but … secured by April 2018, and we need to make sure that the negotiations that are ongoing are very clearly focused on patient safety and the continued supply of medicines to patients.
European equities are higher on Wednesday morning, following a rebound overnight in the US that continued in Asia.
Tesco is facing a demand for up to £4bn in back pay from thousands of mainly female shopworkers in what could become the UK’s largest ever equal pay claim. A law firm has launched legal action on behalf of nearly 100 shop assistants who say they earn as much as £3 an hour less than male warehouse workers in similar roles. Up to 200,000 shopfloor staff could be affected by the claim, which could cost Tesco up to £20,000 per worker in back pay over at least six years.
After two days of blood-letting that sparked a global stock market selloff and worries that more was to come, Wall Street held its nerve on Tuesday after an initial lurch lower and ended the session in the green.