Monday, 10 November 2014

Market Report: Marks & Spencer hits six-month high

The High Street stalwart has been a whipping boy for analysts over the last few years, as the City watched the retailer rapidly fall from its peak, reached under Sir Stewart Rose, who left in 2009.

But after better-than-expected figures from M&S, banks were lining up to give the retailer the thumbs up. Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and UBS all upgraded the company to a Buy, and Citi raised its price target.

Deutsche said it believes the retailer’s interim numbers herald the start of “a multi-year margin journey”, whereas UBS went as far as to dub the company “the next Next”. The endorsements helped Marks & Spencer enjoy its second day of strong gains and climb to a six-month high, up 21.7p at 465.8p.

Full article: London Evening Standard

Canary Wharf bid from Qatar fails over £3bn price tag

The City put a £3 billion price tag on Canary Wharf today after a low-ball Qatari bid to wrest control of the Docklands estate was “unanimously” rejected.

The Qatar Investment Authority — which already owns Harrods and Chelsea Barracks — is bidding in tandem with Canadian developer Brookfield to win full control of Songbird Estates, itself a 69% shareholder in Docklands landlord and developer Canary Wharf Group.

Qatar already owns a 28.6% stake in Songbird but the joint venture’s opening 295p a share pitch was immediately dismissed by the Songbird board and the City.

Full article: London Evening Standard

City banks embark on digital hiring spree

 Banks looking to beef up their digital operations have created a boom in City hiring, new figures reveal today.

Some 3,400 jobs were filled or created in London’s financial district in October, according to recruiter Astbury Marsden, a 46% increase on the same month last year.

The recruiter put the rise down to investment in digitising business to help cut down costs, improve performance and meet regulatory requirements.

Source: London Evening Standard            

Banks close in on £1.5 billion forex settlement

The Financial Conduct Authority is closing in on a deal that will see six banks paying around £1.5bn in fines over the role played by some of their traders in trying to fix London’s £3trn-a-day foreign exchange market.

City sources say the six remain locked in talks with the City watchdog over a deal that could settle the UK end of what has become a multinational investigation. However  an agreement could be reached this week, although next week is more likely.

By settling at this stage banks will qualify for a 30% discount on fines handed to firms that settle disciplinary cases early.

Source: London Evening Standard

Apple claims 70 percent of enterprise smartphone market

Apple claimed almost 70 percent of the enterprise smartphone market in the third quarter of 2014, thanks to the release of the iPhone 6.

That's according to Good Technology's latest Mobility Index Report, which reveals that the iPhone accounted for 69 percent of global enterprise smartphone activations in the third quarter, up from 67 percent in Q2.

This is largely thanks to the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus handsets, which seem to have made a large dent in the business smartphone landscape since they were released in September.

Source: The Inquirer

Gatwick's October traffic boosted by long-haul passenger rise

Growth in long-haul passenger numbers helped boost October traffic at Gatwick with numbers up by 7.8% to more than 3.3 million.

The increase of 241,000 passengers resulted in the airport’s busiest October and its 20th successive month of growth.

Gatwick used the figures to underline its case for a second runway as the Airports Commission over rival Heathrow.

Source: Travel Weekly

Hong Kong and China shares up on market link

Shares in Hong Kong and China rallied on Monday on news of the approval of the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect, which will connect the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed up 0.83%, or 194.46 points, at 23,744.70.

In China, the benchmark Shanghai Composite index finished 2.3% higher at 2,473.67.

Source: BBC News

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Toyota eyes 10 million car mark as sales rise

The car in front of you is probably a Toyota: the world’s largest car maker today plotted a course to becoming the first manufacturer to sell 10 million vehicles in a year.

The Japanese giant said it sold 7.6 million cars in the first nine months of 2014 and has a target of 10.2 million in its sights, after selling just under 10 million last year.

Swedish central bank cuts main interest rate to zero

The cut of 0.25% was bigger than analysts had expected, and led to a fall in the kronor against the dollar and the euro.

Prices are currently falling in Sweden and the central bank wants to get back to its 2% inflation target.

"The Swedish economy is relatively strong... But inflation is too low," the bank said.

Source: BBC News

Bankruptcy to fall to lowest level in 14 years

The number of individuals going bust is expected to fall to its lowest level for 14 years while companies are also in better health, official figures are expected to show today.

Data from Baker Tilly suggests that the Insolvency Service data will today show that just over 5,000 bankruptcy orders took place across England and Wales in the third quarter of 2014, which would be the lowest number seen since the fourth quarter of 2000.

Source:  London Evening Standard

Facebook shares fall as investment plans are revealed

Facebook shares have fallen around 10% after it warned it is to dramatically increase its spending in 2015 and it projected a slowdown in revenue growth this quarter.

The hefty spending plans exposed the first signs of stress in the rock-solid support that investors have accorded the social networking company over the past year.

 Source:  London Evening Standard

Lloyds to axe branches as 'last in town' pledge expires

The banking industry suffered a bruising as Lloyds added £900m to payment protection insurance mis-selling provisions and unveiled plans to axe 9,000 jobs.

Source: The Independent 

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

UK new car sales highest since 2007

UK car sales in 2013 recorded their best year since 2007, industry figures have shown, helped by cheap credit deals and stronger consumer confidence.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said that 2.26 million vehicles were registered in 2013.

Source:BBC News

Eurozone unemployment steady but retail sales rebound

Some 19.2 million people were out of work in the 17 countries using the euro, according to the EU statistics office, Eurostat.

But retail trade in the currency area went up by 1.4% month-on-month, the biggest rise since November 2001, led by booming sales of non-food products.

That came after a 0.4% fall in October.

Source:BBC News

Stock-Index Trades Rising at Fastest Pace in Six Years: Options

Options trading in benchmark gauges such as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is growing at the fastest pace since 2007, spurred by investors seeking protection from widespread declines after the broadest rally on record.

A record 385 million contracts on stock-indexes changed hands in 2013, 20 percent more than the previous year for the biggest increase in six years, according to data compiled by the Options Clearing Corp. Indexes accounted for 9.4 percent of total options trading, the largest proportion since 2007, data from the Chicago-based organization show.

Source: Bloomberg

Pound Rises to Five-Week High Versus Euro on U.K. Growth Outlook

The pound rose to the strongest level in five weeks against the euro on speculation Britain’s economic growth will outpace that of its European peers this year.

Sterling advanced versus all except one of its 16 major counterparts after the central bank said mortgage availability increased in the fourth quarter and will keep climbing. House prices will extend gains this year, according to a separate report from lender Halifax. The Bank of England and European Central Bank will both announce interest-rate decisions tomorrow. U.K. government bonds dropped for the first time in four days.

Source: Bloomberg