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BHP maintains guidance for iron ore and coal, BP CFO Gilvary to step down

By Josh White

Date: Tuesday 21 Jan 2020

(Sharecast News) - London open

The FTSE 100 is expected to open 34 points lower on Tuesday, having closed down 0.3% at 7,651.44 on Monday.
Stocks to watch

BHP maintained full year guidance for iron ore and thermal coal, despite the impact of the Australian bushfires on its coal operations. Thermal coal output fell 11% in the first half to 7m tonnes, BHP said on Tuesday as it released its December quarter production report and maintained its full year forecast of between 15m - 17m tonnes. "We are monitoring the situation and if air quality continues to deteriorate then operations could be constrained further in the second half of the year," the company said. Australian iron ore output fell almost 2% quarter on quarter to 68m tonnes in the three months to December 30, but up 3% year on year. The full year forecast was held at 273m - 286m tonnes.

BP announced on Tuesday that its chief financial officer Brian Gilvary has decided to retire from the company and step down from its board on 30 June. The FTSE 100 oil major said Gilvary had a career spanning 34 years with BP, including over eight years as CFO. He would be succeeded by Murray Auchincloss, currently CFO of BP's upstream segment, who would take up the role of CFO and join the board on 1 July. Gilvary and Auchincloss would work together between now and the end of June to ensure an orderly transition, the board said.

Newspaper round-up

The government is promising to turn Britain into a nation of savers by 2030 and cut the number of households relying on credit cards for day-to-day spending by launching an ambitious financial wellbeing programme. In an alarming summary of the state of Britain's household finances, the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), a government agency, said 11.5 million people have less than £100 in savings to fall back on, while nine million said they often use credit cards and payday loans to meet essential weekly food and energy bills. - Guardian

Department for Transport officials did not tell the then transport secretary about a plan that could have prevented a costly legal dispute between rail operators and the government, the high court has heard. Stagecoach and other rail firms are seeking tens of millions of pounds in compensation in a claim that could have far-reaching implications for a privatised rail system that lawyers acting for the firms said was "in crisis". - Guardian

Pret A Manger co-founder Julian Metcalfe is plotting a stock market float of his sushi chain Itsu to raise cash for a major US expansion. Mr Metcalfe, who co-founded coffee and sandwich chain Pret in 1986, said he wants to open 1,000 new Itsu stores in the US over the next few years. He said: "We will float Itsu, as we have to, for it to grow to 1,000 stores over the next few years. - Telegraph

The banking industry could be on collision course with the government over plans to level up economic performance after significant regional disparities in small business lending came to light. Credit balances from big banks to small and medium-sized companies across Britain shrank between 2014 and 2019, but did so most rapidly outside London, industry data has revealed. - The Times

Arriva has settled legal action brought against the government for banning it from bidding for a rail franchise, the High Court has heard. The train operator was one of several companies suing the Department for Transport for disqualifying them from bidding for three separate rail franchises because of a row over pensions. - The Times

US close

Markets in the US were closed on Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

They had closed higher on Friday following the release of some economic data out of China overnight and a strong start to earnings season.

At the end of last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.17% at 29,348.10, while the S&P 500 was 0.39% firmer at 3,329.62 and the Nasdaq Composite saw out the session 0.34% stronger at 9,388.94.

Underlining sentiment on Friday was news that China's economy grew 6.1% in 2019, matching economists' expectations but still the slowest growth rate for the nation's economy since 1990 and a drop from 2018's 6.6% expansion.

Trade was still in focus, with the US-Canada-Mexico trade agreement being passed by the Senate on Thursday, helping markets breathe a sigh of relief yet again.

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