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Weekly review

By Duncan Ferris

Date: Friday 23 Aug 2019

(Sharecast News) - London's FTSE 100 index ended the week 22.17 points lower at 7,094.98.
Equity view

Shares of Greene King surged on Monday as the pub group agreed to be bought by a subsidiary of CK Asset Holdings, the flagship of the CK Hutchison Group, for 850p a share in cash.

Outsourcer Mitie has agreed to sell its catering and hospitality business - Gather & Gather - to Royal Warrant holder CH&CO for up to £85m in cash.

Wood Group said on Tuesday that it swung to a first-half profit as it announced the sale of its nuclear business for £250m in cash, which it will use to reduce debt.

BHP posted its best full year figures for five years and handed out a record dividend as it cashed in on higher commodity prices.

German pharmaceutical and life sciences group Bayer has agreed to sell its animal health business to US-based Elanco in a $7.6bn cash and stock deal.

Shares in Renault and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles rallied on Wednesday as it emerged that they are still in talks over a possible merger.

Ryanair was granted an injunction by the Irish High Court to stop a 48-hour strike by its pilots in the country after the airline's lawyers argued that the union representing around 180 of the pilots had announced the industrial action before discussions had been concluded.

Volkswagen on Thursday denied a media report that the German carmaker was looking to purchase a stake in electric car manufacturer Tesla.

NMC Health shares soared following a report that two groups, including one backed by Chinese conglomerate Fosun, have made competing offers to buy a 40% stake in the UAE-based healthcare provider worth up to $1.9bn.

John Laing was under the cosh as it posted a slump in half-year profit and highlighted challenges in the renewable energy market.

The UK competition watchdog on Friday ordered Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander to appoint auditors to assess their procedures for handling payment protection insurance (PPI) miss-selling claims.

Peppa Pig's owner Entertainment One has agreed to be bought by Hasbro in an all-cash deal valuing the UK-listed company at £3.3bn.

Marks & Spencer is likely to drop out of the index of leading shares for the first time since the FTSE 100 was formed 35 years ago as the retailer suffers the effects of high street decline and its own problems.

Transport and logistics group Eddie Stobart said it has requested its shares be suspended from trading on AIM while it takes another look at its accounts, as it announced the departure of chief executive Alex Laffey with immediate effect.

Economic news

The UK government will kick-off an information campaign in September aimed at preparing the British public for a no-deal Brexit.

House sales in August were boosted by a pre-Brexit buying spree, according to the latest data from property website Rightmove.

Britain's energy regulator launched an investigation into the power cuts that hit the UK's South East on 8 August in order to establish what steps were needed to improve the resilience of the country's energy network.

The future of the HS2 high-speed rail project was thrown into some doubt on Wednesday, as the government announced a review with the promise of a "go or no-go" decision by the end of the year.

UK tech businesses have secured a total of £5. 5bn ($6. 7bn) in foreign investment since January 2019, with £3. 1bn of it originating in the US and Asia, government data revealed.

The UK budget surplus came in lower than expected for July, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday.

The pound snapped higher on Thursday afternoon after France's President, Emmanuel Macron, added his weight to proposals from the day before to try and find a solution to the Irish Backstop question over the next month and avoid the UK falling out of the European Union without a withdrawal agreement.

Members of Parliament have said on Thursday that Britons will have to cut down on the use of their cars if the country is to meet its carbon emissions targets for 2030.



International events

The coalition agreement holding the Italian government together looked set to collapse on Monday after League party leader and Italian Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini's partners reacted to his push for power.

The US Department of Commerce will extend its temporary general licence for Chinese telecommunications equipment giant, Huawei, for another 90 days.

Trump has offered his support to America's largest technology companies in their fight against France's proposed new tax on them.

The Iranian oil tanker detained in Gibraltar left territorial waters on Sunday apparently heading for Greece and having changed its name, according to ship tracking data.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned on Tuesday in the latest phase of the country's political crisis following Matteo Salvini's grab for power.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday warned Beijing that a violent crackdown on protests in Hong Kong would make a trade deal between the US and China "more difficult".

US President Donald Trump postponed a meeting with Denmark's PM Mette Frederiksen scheduled for 2 September following her rejection of Trump's bid to purchase Greenland.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella is set to begin two days of talks with the leaders of the country's various political parties on Wednesday to try and reach an agreement regarding a new ruling coalition and thus avoid having to call fresh elections.

France and Ireland said they would oppose an EU trade deal with South American nations if Brazil failed to tackle fires that are currently raging through the Amazon.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella has given rivals the Democratic Party and the Five Star Movement until Wednesday to form a new coalition government or face elections in October, unless Five Star leader Di Maio accepted the last minute offer from the League party to take the premiership in exchange for a reconciliation.

China unveiled a plan on Friday to impose additional 5.0-10.0% retaliatory tariffs on US exports worth $75.0bn on 1 September and 15 December.

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