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Weekly review

By Josh White

Date: Friday 18 Sep 2020

(Sharecast News) - The FTSE 100 ended the week down 25.04 points at 6,007.05.

Equity view

Man Group has announced a one-year share buyback programme of up to $100m (£77m) to reduce its share capital and pay shares to employees.

Investec forecast a slump in interim earnings of up to 71% as it faced volatile market conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

EasyJet has hired Kenton Jarvis from TUI as its next finance director as the budget airline seeks to cut costs and recover from the worst of the Covid-19 crisis.

Essentra has raised £100m in a placing and subscription to help fund the acquisition of US packaging business 3C!.

Drugs maker Oxford Biomedica, which has partnered with pharma giant AstraZeneca to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, said it expected higher second half revenues to push it to a low-to-single digit full year profit.

Next upgraded its profit guidance after sales in the first half and beyond held up better than the company expected.

Rolls-Royce is still reviewing a range of funding options to strengthen its balance sheet including debt and equity, but no final decisions have been made, the engine maker said.

International food packing business Hilton Food lifted its dividend after a sharp rise in interim profits driven by higher volumes.

French waste management company Suez said on Wednesday that it is in exclusive negotiations with Schwarz Group's environmental division PreZero about the sale of its waste-recycling and recovery businesses in the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and Poland for an enterprise value of €1.1bn.

Plus500 said it was very confident about its outlook after momentum from the first half continued into the second half.

Exploration and production group IGas has acquired British deep geothermal heat projects developer GT Energy.

TUI has promised to refund all UK customers for holidays cancelled because of Coronavirus by the end of the month after the regulator stepped in.

Polypipe reported a decline in first-half profit and revenue on Tuesday as it took a hit from the coronavirus pandemic, but struck a more upbeat note on recent trading.

Next has acquired a majority stake in the UK and Irish arm of L Brands's Victoria's Secret unit for an undisclosed sum as part of a joint-venture agreement.

William Hill shares surged on Tuesday after the bookmaker said a multi-year deal between its US partner Caesars Entertainment and broadcaster ESPN will feature its sports betting apps and sports book odds.

HSBC will offer to repurchase approximately $8.15bn of debt with maturities falling between March 2021 and March 2022.

CLS Holdings has agreed to buy three office properties in Greater London and South East England for £59.7m from Aviva Investors.

Vodafone said it was in talks to complete the sale of its stake in Vodafone Egypt soon despite the deal agreement elapsing.

Gilead Sciences has agreed to buy biotech company Immunomedics in a $21bn deal.

HgCapital Trust reported a 6.6% improvement in its net asset value per share in its first half on Monday, to 268.5p, as its total net asset value rose £57m to £1.1bn.

Economic news

UK retail sales grew for the fourth month in a row in August as the post-lockdown recovery continues, according to data released by the Office for National Statistics on Friday.

The UK government on Friday has refused to rule out a second national coronavirus lockdown as the number of infections continued to rise.

Deloitte was fined a record £15m fine over failings regarding audits of its software company Autonomy between 2009 and 2011.

The Bank of England left monetary policy unchanged but said it would step up discussions about how to implement negative interest rates at a time of unusual economic uncertainty.

Inflation plunged in August as the government's Eat Out to Help Out scheme cut the cost of restaurant bills, official figures showed.

The regulator is calling on lenders to support customers facing financial difficulties, as measures introduced to help borrowers through the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic come to an end.

The number of redundancies in the UK rose in July by the most since 2009 as the Covid-19 pandemic took its toll.

Britain's financial services industry has been blighted by too many scams and scandals and should be overhauled, the regulator said on Tuesday.

UK retail footfall declined sharply last week, data published on Monday showed, as children returned to school and people continued to work from home.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has confirmed further support for mortgage holders if they face payment difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic, but their credit files will be marked as a result.

International events

EU car sales slowed in August as demand built up during the Covid-19 lockdowns slowed, industry figures showed.

US unemployment claims only dipped a little over the preceding week, but those not being filed for the first time fell sharply.

Manufacturing sector conditions in the US mid-Atlantic region continued to firm in September, the results of a closely-followed survey revealed.

The global economy could return to growth next year as better outlooks from the US and China combined with a "massive response" to the Covid-19 pandemic from other nations lessened GDP contraction, the OECD said on Wednesday.

The single currency bloc's surplus on trade with the rest of the world widened in July, nearly completing a V-shaped recovery to pre-Covid levels.

US President Donald Trump criticised the World Trade Organization for being "completely inadequate" after it ruled against US tariffs on China and said they breached international regulations.

German investor sentiment improved in September despite rising coronavirus cases and concerns about Brexit, according to the latest survey from the ZEW Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim.

The International Energy Agency took an axe to its forecasts for global oil demand growth in the back half of 2020, even as it warned that the world's thirst for oil had, at 91.7m barrels a day, only recovered to its levels from 2013 due to the pandemic.

Eurozone industrial production rose in line with expectations in July as Covid-19 but economists warned the rebound was fizzling out.

Japan's SoftBank said it had agreed to sell Arm Holdings to Nvidia for $40bn, just four years after buying the chipmaker.


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