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Hammerson sells nine retail parks, Halma acquires US-based Maxtec

By Josh White

Date: Friday 21 Feb 2020

(Sharecast News) - London open

The FTSE 100 is expected to open 33 points lower on Friday, having closed down 0.27% at 7,436.64 on Thursday.


Stocks to watch

Hammerson said it had sold a portfolio of seven retail parks and two others individually for a total of ?455m. The portfolio deal is the largest sale in the past decade, Hammerson said on Friday and follows the company's decision in 2018, to exit the sector.

Health, safety and environmental technology company Halma has acquired Utah-based Maxtec, it announced on Friday, which designs, manufactures and distributes oxygen analysis and delivery products for medical and non-medical applications. The FTSE 100 company said the cash consideration for Maxtec was $20m (?15.3m), on a cash and debt free basis, which would be funded from its existing facilities. It said Maxtec's revenue and adjusted EBIT for the 12 months to the end of March were $20.4m and $1.8m, respectively.

Friday newspaper round-up

The sale of bags of coal and wet wood for domestic fires will be banned in England from February next year under plans to remove a huge source of air pollution. Ministers will announce today that the most polluting fuels will be phased out completely by 2023 in a victory for The Times's Clean Air for All campaign. - The Times

Next month's Budget is a golden opportunity to reform Britain's broken stamp duty system and get the country moving again, MPs, economists and campaigners have said. Industry experts say the tax on property sales is stopping families from moving and preventing millions of young people getting on the housing ladder - as well as costing buyers ?8.4bn a year. - Telegraph

Tens of thousands of families who bought new homes in flood-risk areas are facing "crippling" financial costs, as they are ineligible for cover under a government-backed insurance scheme, a study has found. Research by the liberal conservative think tank Bright Blue found that 70,000 homes had been built on land at the highest risk of flooding in England since 2009, including 20,000 that were not protected by flood defences. - Guardian

Morgan Stanley is to buy a popular online stockbroker for $13 billion in the largest acquisition by a multinational bank since the financial crisis. The Wall Street investment bank has agreed to buy E-Trade, which offers share-dealing and other trading services to more than five million private investors in the United States. - The Times

US close

US stocks closed lower on Thursday as indices dropped from the record highs seen at the end of the previous session.

At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.44% at 29,219.98, while the S&P 500 was 0.38% weaker at 3,373.23 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.67% softer at 9,750.96.

The Dow closed 128.05 points lower on Thursday after both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite hit new record highs during the previous session despite market participants remaining cautious of potential economic fallouts related to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.

China's National Health Commission confirmed overnight that 74,576 cases of the new coronavirus had now been confirmed, leading to 2,118 deaths on the mainland.

Wednesday's rally was driven by minutes published late on Wednesday from the most recent US Federal Reserve meeting that showed policymakers were cautiously optimistic regarding the prospect of holding interest rates steady for the duration of 2020.

With the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak still weighing on sentiment during the session, some stronger-than-expected data did help boost risk appetite somewhat on the Street early in the session.

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