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Weekly review

By Duncan Ferris

Date: Friday 15 Nov 2019

(Sharecast News) - London's FTSE 100 ended the week down 56.44 points, closing its Friday session at 7,302.94.
Equity view

Fertiliser development firm Sirius Minerals unveiled plans for the two-stage development of its North Yorkshire polyhalite mine on Monday, with the group looking to secure $600m funding for the project's first stage.

Greggs said it now anticipates full-year underlying profit before tax will beat previous expectations as it reported a jump in total sales for the six weeks to 9 November.

BHP outlined a confident outlook for its petroleum business to deliver earnings margins of more than 60% and annual increased production by up to 3% through the 2020s.

Research tools maker Oxford Instruments on Tuesday reported a surge in interim profits boosted by growth across each of its sectors as it raised the dividend by 8%.

Ferguson, formerly Wolseley, has bought New York-based heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment and supplies distributor S.W. Anderson for an undisclosed sum.

Shares of B&M European Value Retail slumped after it said it has undertaken a strategic review to determine the future of its German business, Jawoll.

Trainline shares fell after a group of investors led by private equity firm KKR sold off their shares in the online rail booking company.

Vodafone reported a drop in interim losses and raised full-year earnings guidance following its July takeover of Liberty Global assets.

Royal Mail has won a legal dispute to prevent a union battle for a postal strike ahead of Christmas after the High Court backed an application for an injunction.

Tech Data has agreed to be bought by private equity firm Apollo Global Management in a $5.4bn deal.

Coca-Cola HBC reported a "solid" performance in its third quarter on Wednesday, explaining that poor weather had impacted industry volumes in its geographies.

Workspace reported a drop in interim profit but raised its dividend after an increase in the size of its portfolio led to double-digit rental income growth.

National Grid reported a drop in interim profits on Thursday, after a decline in US revenue, although the company remained confident of continued outperformance from its UK business.

Private healthcare group Mediclinic reported a rise in first-half earnings on Thursday amid revenue growth in all three divisions.

Premier Oil said it expected full year production to be at the upper end of expectations as summer maintenance programmes were completed successfully and production returned to previous levels.

Shares in FirstGroup tumbled after the transport operator said losses widened significantly in the first half and that the formal sale process for its Greyhound business was "well advanced".

Shares of BT Group dropped on Friday after the Labour Party pledged to partially nationalise the company as part of plans to provide all homes and businesses with free full-fibre broadband by 2030.

Future reported that its full-year profits almost tripled on the back of a leap in revenue, as the company hiked its final dividend.

Rio Tinto said it will support Energy Resources of Australia's (ERA) plans for a renounceable entitlement offer to raise $324m for the rehabilitation of the Ranger Project Area in Australia's Northern Territory.

Economic news

The jobs of 4,000 British Steel workers looked to have been saved on Monday as China's Jingye bought the company out of liquidation.

The UK economy avoided falling into a recession in the third quarter, although year-on-year growth was the weakest in nearly a decade, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics.

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to withhold a report on Russian meddling in UK politics is "shameful".

The UK's headline inflation rate fell to its lowest level in nearly three years in October, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday.

UK retail sales unexpectedly fell in October, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics on Thursday.

International events

Center-left PSOE managed to secure another win in Sunday's general elections in Spain but failed to clinch an absolute majority with talks between the main parties to form a coalition expected in the near future.

The European Central Bank's newly arrived leader Christine Lagarde is facing pressure from the governing council to overhaul how monetary policy is decided and improve the monetary authority's internal decision-making process.

German investor sentiment improved more than expected in November amid growing optimism about Sino-US trade relations, according to the latest survey from the ZEW Center for European Economic Research in Manheim.

The head of the Federal Reserve sounded a confident note on the United States' economic outlook on Wednesday and appeared to signal that the central bank's monetary policy was likely set to remain at its current level for an extended period.

A top US diplomat told a Congress impeachment hearing that a member of his staff had overheard President Trump on the phone with Ukraine pressing for a probe into the Biden family.

Saudi Arabia is slowly running out of money and needs the funds from the upcoming stock market listing of a small portion of state oil giant Saudi Aramco in December to finance its reform push, a former head of America's Central Intelligence Agency said.

China reiterated its call for the US to roll back its trade tariffs as part of a phase-one trade deal between the two powers and pushed back on requests to provide detailed targets for increasing its purchases of US farm goods.

Germany has narrowly avoided a technical recession, according to figure released by Destatis on Thursday, but growth remains weak.

Amazon will appeal the Trump administration's decision to grant a $10.0bn defence contract for the Pentagon to rival Microsoft and has accused the government of showing "unmistakable bias".

Trade talks between Washington and Beijing are nearing a successful conclusion and are now ongoing on a daily basis, the White House's top economic official said.

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