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Weekly review

By Duncan Ferris

Date: Friday 22 Mar 2019

(Sharecast News) - London's FTSE 100 index ended the week down 20.69 points at 7,207.59
Equity view

Ride hailing firm Lyft expects to raise up to $2.1bn in its upcoming initial public offering on the Nasdaq exchange, it announced on Monday.

JD Sports Fashion has agreed to buy smaller rival Footasylum for 82.5p per share in cash, around half the price at which it floated less than a year and a half ago.

Payments processor Worldpay has agreed to be bought by US financial services technology company FIS in a $43bn deal.

EasyJet said on Monday that it has decided to withdraw from a consortium set up to consider bidding for bankrupt airline Alitalia.

The City watchdog has fined UBS more than £27m for failing to keep proper records on nearly 136m transactions over a decade.

Institutional investors are suing Danske Bank for $475m of damages in connection with the money laundering scandal that hit the Danish bank last year.

Sainsbury's and Asda have promised to invest £1bn in cutting shop prices, improve conditions for small suppliers and sell stores as they urged competition authorities to change its mind over their proposed merger.

Ocado's sales were only slightly dented by the huge fire at one of its robot-operated depots during the quarter, but the full impact is still not yet known.

Standard Life Aberdeen said on Tuesday that a tribunal has ruled in its favour in respect of its investment mandate dispute with Lloyds Banking Group.

Google revealed that it will wade into the gaming market as it unveiled its Stadia digital platform on Tuesday, a device which the tech giant said will allow gamers to play without the need for discs or downloads.

Shares in BMW slid on Wednesday as the German car maker warned that 2019 pre-tax profit would be "well below" the previous year's level amid rising manufacturing costs and announced a new cost-savings plan.

Superdry founder Julian Dunkerton said he was disappointed but not surprised after an influential shareholder advisory group recommended blocking his attempts to return to the clothing company's board.

Australian copper producer Aeris Resources has offered to buy Glencore's CSA copper mine in New South Wales for $575m.

Biogen shares plummeted on Thursday after the company confirmed that it will cease clinical trials for aducanumab, the experimental Alzheimer's disease treatment it developed alongside its Nikkei 225-listed Japanese partner Eisai.

Sports Direct's Mike Ashley has for the second time requisitioned a general meeting of Debenhams as his first effort was declared null and void.

Fashion brand Ted Baker reported a 26. 1% drop in annual profit on Thursday following a "difficult" year in which it was hit by a "forced hugging" scandal that culminated in the resignation of founder and boss Ray Kelvin.

Shares in Renishaw slumped as the engineering group cautioned that full-year results would come in below previous guidance.

Sainsbury and Asda have to offered to sell between 125 and 150 supermarkets, plus a number of convenience stores and petrol stations, to another grocery rival or a new entrant in a bid to persuade authorities to allow their merger.

Debenhams shares collapsed 64% to 1p on Friday as the department store group announced plans for a new fundraising, bringing a swift response from its largest shareholder, Sports Direct.

Ladbrokes owner GVC Holdings was said on Friday to be preparing for the departure of chairman Lee Feldman, just days after he sold off a £6m stake in the company.

Economic news

The British Chambers of Commerce trimmed its growth expectations for the UK economy due to the continued Brexit uncertainty.

UK employment reached a new record in the three months to January as employers hired more workers despite concerns about Brexit and the wider economy.

Theresa May will write to European Council president Donald Tusk to request a delay to the Brexit deadline, Downing Street confirmed on Tuesday afternoon.

Theresa May on Wednesday told the House of Commons that she is "not prepared to delay Brexit any further than the 30 June" but reports leaking from the European Union suggested otherwise.

Inflation held steady in February, official data showed on Wednesday, further fuelling expectations that the Bank of England will leave interest rates unchanged when it meets later this week.

Theresa May's request for a short Article 50 delay got a cold shoulder from European Union counterparts on Wednesday, while Parliament held an emergency Brexit debate.

Britain's employers and unions have called on Theresa May to abandon her uncompromising stance and seek consensus to avoid a "reckless" no-deal Brexit, while European Union leaders convened to decide on her request for an extension.

The competition watchdog has announced an investigation into the supply of construction services in the UK.

Theresa May finally lost control of her Brexit departure plan as EU leaders agreed a delay after an underwhelming appeal for a three month delay from the prime minister in Brussels on Thursday.

International events

The European Union's trade surplus with the United States continued to rise in January, further underlining tensions between Brussels and Washington.

US crude oil inventories shrank sharply last week as exports and refinery activity picked up, according to the Department of Energy.

The Federal Reserve bank of Philadelphia's factory sector index, perhaps the most widely-followed regional manufacturing gauge in the US rebounded sharply in March, but according to economists continued to point to an ongoing slowdown.

Germany's manufacturing output has shrunk to the lowest level for more than six and a half year, industry data showed on Friday.

Activity in the US manufacturing sector hit a 21-month low in March, according to preliminary data released on Friday.

Rate-setters in Moscow lowered their forecast for consumer price inflation and opened the door to a cut in official interest as soon as 2019.

Second hand sales of homes in the States rebounded sharply last month, bolstered by lower mortgage rates, growing incomes and improved consumer confidence.


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