Portfolio

Weekly review

By Josh White

Date: Friday 11 Sep 2020

(Sharecast News) - The FTSE 100 ended the week up 233.01 points at 6,032.09.
Equity view

Ashmore proposed an unchanged final dividend as the emerging markets fund manager reported a 1% increase in annual profit.

Provident Financial's chief executive Malcolm Le May is taking time off to have a heart operation, leaving chairman Patrick Snowball in charge of the subprime lender until he returns.

Swiss iron ore company Ferrexpo announced a further special dividend on Friday following strong cash generation and solid demand.

LondonMetric Property announced the disposal of a portfolio of six distribution warehouses for £57.3m to Canmoor and Canadian institutional investor AIMCo on Friday, reflecting a blended net initial yield of 5.3%.

British Land has appointed chief financial officer Simon Carter as its chief executive to replace Chris Grigg, who will step down after 11 years in the job.

Norwegian energy company Equinor said it had agreed to sell a 50% stake in two US offshore wind power development projects to BP for $1.1bn.

Half-year profits at supermarket chain Morrisons fell by a quarter as Covid-19 costs offset a rise in like-for-like sales.

Intellectual property investor Hipgnosis Songs Fund acquired US-based Big Deal Music Group on Thursday for an undisclosed amount.

AstraZeneca paused the phase three clinical trial of the Covid-19 vaccine candidate that it was developing in conjunction with the University of Oxford, in response to a "potentially unexplained illness" in one of the participants.

Avon Rubber said it was buying US-based military helmet maker Team Wendy for $130m (£100m) as it maintained full year guidance.

Computacenter predicted annual adjusted pretax profit of at least £180m as it reported a 39.4% increase in first-half profit supported by booming business in the UK during the Covid-19 crisis.

RM is looking for a new boss after long-serving chief executive David Brooks decided to leave the education resources company.

Equipment rental firm Ashtead reported a 35% decline in first-quarter profit on Tuesday as it took a hit from the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.

Credit-checking firm Experian lifted its second-quarter revenue expectations on Tuesday following stronger trading in July and August.

Vistry Group reported a 40% improvement in its first-half revenue on Tuesday, to £660.9m, but said its adjusted operating profit was 72% lower year-on-year at £21.2m, as Covid-19 restrictions had an impact on both sales and construction.

Packaging business DS Smith said on Tuesday that it had "progressed well" over the last four months, with the group now set to pay an interim dividend after performing in line with expectations despite challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Veterinary drugs firm Dechra Pharmaceuticals reported higher full year profits and raised its dividend as it made an "encouraging" start to the new fiscal year.

Self-storage company Big Yellow said on Monday that it has secured planning consent to build two new stores in London.

Hochschild Mining cut its production target for 2020 and said costs would be higher than expected, mainly caused by Covid-19 disruption.

Cairn Energy on Monday confirmed that it had agreed to sell its entire stake in offshore oil blocks in Senegal to Woodside.

Economic news

The UK economy continued to recover in July but remains below pre-pandemic levels, according to figures released on Friday by the Office for National Statistics.

Britain and Japan agreed a free trade deal on Friday, the first since the UK left the European Union in January.

The majority of UK workers have not returned to their offices despite the government's campaign urging businesses to return to normal.

Scotland and Wales warned on Wednesday that the new internal market bill that was proposed by the British government will undermine the UK's unity as it will steal power from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Credit ratings agency Fitch has changed its outlook and now believes the UK will leave the European Union without a trade deal in place, it emerged on Wednesday.

House prices rose at the fastest pace for four years in August as buyers sought out properties with gardens or near green space, according to RICS.

The Bank of England's Any Haldane cautioned against delaying the inevitable through an extension of furlough schemes, offering alternatives, even as he sounded a relatively upbeat note on the economy.

The president of the European Commission has warned the UK to respect international law as increasingly fraught trade negotiations between London and Brussels resumed on Tuesday.

Annual house price growth hit a new high in August thanks in part to pent-up demand following the Covid-19 lockdown, according to figures released on Monday by mortgage lender Halifax.

The UK's physical retailers had their best week since the start of lockdown as London led an increase in visits to high streets, a survey showed.

International events

Chinese search giant Baidu is negotiating with its investors to raise up to $2bn over three years to launch a new biotech company, reported Reuters on Thursday.

The European Central Bank kept all its main policy settings unchanged, as expected.

Initial US jobless claims were unchanged over the most recent week although secondary claims did edged higher, with some economists saying that the labour market had "stalled".

The United States revoked visas for over 1,000 Chinese nationals, denying entry to students and researchers deemed security risks, the State Department said on Wednesday.

Google decided to cancel plans to lease a new office in Dublin, Ireland which would have had enough space for 2,000 staff.

One of the Covid-19 vaccine candidates being developed by German outfit BioNTech and Pfizer succeeded in pre-clinical challenge trials.

Deficit spending by the German government may have continued for longer than some observers might have been expecting after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Spanish foreign minister Arantxa González Laya called for the harmonisation of European travel measures on Tuesday to limit problems for tourists and tourism operators during the pandemic.

German industrial production rose much less than expected in July, partly due to weakness in the construction sector, with output remaining well below pre-Covid levels.

China's exports beat expectations in August as the world's biggest manufacturing nation's overseas markets reopened from Covid-19.

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