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FTSE 100 Live 28 May: Index closes down 60 points, ICG profits double

FTSE 100 Live (Evening Standard)
FTSE 100 Live (Evening Standard)

FTSE 100 Live Tuesday

  • M&S to invest £30m in London stores

  • Victorian Plumbing hails “robust” trading

  • Revolution Bars rejects Nightcap takeover

LSE opens up to more crypto investment

Tuesday 28 May 2024 17:18 , Simon Hunt

The London Stock Exchange’s embrace of crypto securities went up a gear today after the world’s largest issuer of crypto exchange-traded products added four new listings in the UK.

21Shares, which launched the world’s first physically backed crypto exchange-traded notes in 2018, has listed the four Bitcoin and Ethereum ETNs in London, marking the firm’s entrance into the UK market in the latest step on its global expansion.

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Read more here

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

FTSE 100 closes down 0.8%

Tuesday 28 May 2024 16:52 , Daniel O'Boyle

The FTSE 100 closed down 0.8% today at 8,254.18, after sliding through the afternoon.

The top risers were Ocado and JD Sports, while gambling groups Flutter and Entain were the biggest fallers.

London’s top flight started the day slightly up and was steady through much of the morning, but fell in the afternoon.

After a strong rise to record highs, London’s top flight has now lost 200 points in less than two weeks.

Star fund manager Train loses on share picks in Cazoo and Manchester United

Tuesday 28 May 2024 16:16 , Daniel O'Boyle

STAR city fund manager Nick Train today admitted he has struggled for form lately, with investments in Cazoo and Manchester United among those costing his customers.

Train runs the £1.5 billion Finsbury Growth & Income Trust where performance has been poor for some time.

Although he has a strong long-term record, some in the City are asking if he has lost his touch.

Read more here

US consumer confidence easily beats expectations

Tuesday 28 May 2024 15:26 , Daniel O'Boyle

US consumer confidence for Mar crushed expectations, and was in positive territory for the first time in four months.

The Conference Board’s sentiment index came in at 102, well above April’s 97.5 or the expected figure of 96. Consumer confidence had declined this spring after a major recovery at during the winter, amid new fears of a resurge ininflation.

Billionaire Jack Ma-owned London fintech WorldFirst faces tribunal over harassment claim

Tuesday 28 May 2024 14:46 , Daniel O'Boyle

AN employee of billionaire Jack Ma-owned WorldFirst is taking it to an industrial tribunal over claims of harassment and discrimination after the London fintech was contacted by the information regulator over issues with data practices, the Standard can reveal.

The manager in the HR department, who suffers from a physical disability, claims that the company was negligent in its duty of care towards her after details about her condition were inappropriately shared with other employees and third parties.

Read more here

Market snapshot: FTSE 100 down 0.4%

Tuesday 28 May 2024 14:44 , Daniel O'Boyle

The FTSE 100 has slide further, and is back below the 8300 mark.

Take a look at our market snapshot:

Windfarm pays out over £33 million after accidentally pushing up prices for consumers

Tuesday 28 May 2024 13:35 , Daniel O'Boyle

The operator of one of Scotland’s largest windfarms in paying over £33 million to regulators after overcharging that pushed up costs for consumers.

Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Limited will pay the money into a fund run by Ofgem which provides support to consumers.

It comes after BOWL admitted it broke energy market rules by charging excessive prices when it cut its output to keep the electricity grid in balance.

Read more here

City Comment: London still has plenty of world-class tech stocks, if you look for them

Tuesday 28 May 2024 11:49 , Jonathan Prynn

It was a fascinating — and long — mea culpa I read today from top London stock picker Nick Train, director of Lindsell Train, which manages the portfolio for the listed Finsbury Growth & Income Trust.

The trust invests largely in UK equities, three cheers for that, but has underperformed its benchmark, the FTSE All-Share Index, over the six months to the end of March. No wonder Mr Train admitted that his half-year review was “difficult” to write.

Read more here

London Tunnels could drop London for Amsterdam float

Tuesday 28 May 2024 11:09 , Simon Hunt

The London Stock Exchange has been dealt another blow as a major new tourist attraction in the capital appears to have dropped plans for a London float in favour of the Euronext Amsterdam.

London Tunnels plc, a project to re-open a secret network of Second World War tunnels under Holborn to the public had planned an initial public offering in London, the Standard revealed in December.

CEO Angus Murray previously said the “unique set of tunnels, owned by a British company, built by the British Government, for the defence of Britain, that can further enhance London’s reputation as a leading tourist destination, should be listed in London.”

But it has since emerged that the company has appointed Dutch investment bank ABN Amro to advise on its flotation on the Euronext exchange.

London Tunnels declined to comment.

The Kingsway Exchange tunnels were shrouded in mystery for most of the 20th century with details covered by the government’s Official Secrets Act, because of their wartime role as a base for MI6 officials.

 (The London Tunnels / DBOX)
(The London Tunnels / DBOX)

Persimmon and water companies struggle in FTSE 100, Rolls up again

Tuesday 28 May 2024 10:27 , Graeme Evans

Persimmon shares are down 2.5% or 38.5p to 1442.5p after Sky News reported the housebuilder’s interest in a potential £1 billion bid for move Legal & General-owned Cala Group.

Other heavyweight fallers in London’s top flight included gambling group Flutter Entertainment following a retreat of 3% or 480p to 15,505p.

The recent downturn for valuations in the water industry also continued as the “sell” stance of Goldman Sachs analysts contributed to Severn Trent shares losing another 55p to 2394p. United Utilities weakened 33.7p to 973.8p.

The wider FTSE 100 index drifted 9.20 points to 8308.39, reflecting a subdued start to the holiday-shortened week for markets on both sides of the Atlantic.

On the risers board, Rolls-Royce has continued its strong progress after last week’s AGM trading update highlighted “further confidence” in 2024 estimates.

The shares added another 5.1p to 450p, extending their rise since Thursday morning to 5% and to more than 50% for the year to date.

Demand also remained strong for Ocado shares, which have now risen 15% in the past three sessions after today’s uplift of 7% or 26.3p to 400.1p.

The FTSE 250 index improved 0.4% or 75.22 points to 20,846.15, with National Express owner Mobico on the risers board after a rebound of 2p to 59.25p.

South West-focused Pennon fell 14.5p to 593.5p, a 2% decline in line with the rest of the water sector, while an in-line trading update failed to prevent construction supplier Genuit retreating 7p to 467.5p.

The company, which is focused on water, climate and ventilation products, posted a 8.6% fall in revenues but is optimistic about prospects once market conditions improve.

Plans to build full fibre broadband in more than 500 new places unveiled

Tuesday 28 May 2024 09:36 , Daniel O'Boyle

Openreach has announced plans to build full fibre broadband in over 500 more locations across the UK, covering a further 2.7 million homes and businesses.

The new locations include 400,000 premises in the hardest to reach, most rural parts of the country, including Tobermory in Argyll and Bute, Haworth in West Yorkshire, Saundersfoot in South Wales, Pinxton in Derbyshire, Harlow in Essex and Roborough in Devon.

Read more here

M&S to invest £30m in London stores

Tuesday 28 May 2024 09:14 , Simon English

MARKS & Spencer is to invest another £30 million in its London stores over the next year, including the opening of two new foodhalls and the creation of 100 new jobs.

The retailer in basking is a renewed sense of confidence on the back of its best financial results in almost three decades last week.

Profits for the year to March rose 58% to £716 million, a turnaround many years in the making, after some City analysts had written it off as too old fashioned for the modern shopper.

Instead it has attracted hundreds of thousands of new customers with a revamped clothing and food offer.

Today it said it will give a multi-million pound facelift to 12 M&S stores in the capital and open two fresh-market style foodhalls in Sidcup and Friern Barnet.

The stores to be modernised include those in Islington, Chancery Lane, Teddington and Blackheath.

The Sidcup store should open later this month with the one in Friern Barnet coming in August.

Sacha Berendji, Operations Director at M&S, said: “We cannot wait to bring the magic of M&S to even more customers across the capital. Expanding our presence in London is a key part of our growth strategy – our market share in food is higher here than any region in England and there is plenty of untapped potential.”

Customers at the 12 renewal stores across London will benefit from bigger in-store bakeries, dedicated Flower and Wine shops. Each will also have Click & Collect facilities – 63% of M&S customers currently collect their online orders in-store.

M&S has over 80 stores across Greater London and in recent years, has invested over £20 million in its London store estate.

M&S chief executive Stuart Machin says the retailer’s financial health is “the best it has been in decades”.

Last year it sold 60 million pairs of knickers 114 pairs a minute.

Victorian Plumbing revenue slips, but move to own-brand products lifts profit and margins

Tuesday 28 May 2024 08:44 , Michael Hunter

Cost-conscious customers turning to Victorian Plumbing’s own-brand products helped boost profit and margin at the firm, even as overall revenue dipped.

Revenue in the six months to the end of March slipped 1% to £144.6 million. Gross profit rose 8% to just over £72 million, with margin up 4 percentage points to 50%, also helped by lower shipping costs.

The Merseyside-based firm said demand for “big-ticket” items used in bathroom refurbishments was “unchanged”.

The number of total orders rose 2% to 494,000 in the period. It also bought a similarly named rival, Victoria Plum, in May for almost £23 million, which it expects to mean gains in market share.

Mark Radcliffe, CEO of the £317-million firm, called its performance “robust” and added:

“Continued investment in our brand, epitomised by our three-year partnership with Bolton Wanderers Football Club, alongside our unrelenting approach to online marketing and an ever-improving customer experience, provides strong foundations for the future.”

Persimmon down 2% in weaker FTSE 100, Victorian Plumbing falls 3%

Tuesday 28 May 2024 08:38 , Graeme Evans

Rolls-Royce is the best performing stock in an otherwise lacklustre FTSE 100, with the engine giant’s shares up another 3% or 11.3p to 456.1p.

Other blue-chips up by 1% or more include Ocado, easyJet and Barclays.

Persimmon is the weakest performer, down 2% or 29p to 1452p after Sky News reported that the housebuilder is considering a £1 billion takeover bid for Cala Group,

The FTSE 100 index has fallen 9.60 points to 8307.99, while the FTSE 250 index is 32.09 points higher at 20,803.02.

The AIM-listed shares of Victorian Plumbing have given up some of their recent strength, down 3p to 94.6p following the release of half-year results.

Revolution Bars says rescue bid from Nightcap 'incapable of being delivered'

Tuesday 28 May 2024 08:14 , Daniel O'Boyle

Struggling nightlife operator Revolution Bars has rejected a rescue deal from rival Nightcap, arguing the “highly speculative” offer “is incapable of being delivered”.

Revolution has been in talks with at least 32 potential suitors for a deal to save the student haunt chain. That includes Nightcap, which revealed last month it was interested in buying some or all of the Revolution business.

Read more here

Revolution Bars rejects takeover offer from Nightcap

Tuesday 28 May 2024 07:39 , Simon Hunt

Revolution Bars has rejected a takeover offer from rival Nightcap after warning that the proposal was “incapable of being delivered.”

The firm has instead opted to begin a fundraising with shareholders and a restructuring to cut costs as it warned it would be under liquidity pressure as soon as July.

Revolution Bars said: “Following legal advice, the Board has concluded that the Nightcap proposal is incapable of being delivered.

“There were a number of challenges to the delivery of the Nightcap proposal, which was a highly conditional proposal and which was subject to multiple equity fundraisings by Nightcap, assumptions regarding the support of the Company’s and Nightcap’s respective lenders, material due diligence,  as well as significant time, material cost and potential untested legal and procedural issues.”

Revolution Bars said the late-night hospitality industry is facing ‘very challenging’ times (Revolution Bars/PA)
Revolution Bars said the late-night hospitality industry is facing ‘very challenging’ times (Revolution Bars/PA)

FTSE 100 Live 28 May

Tuesday 28 May 2024 07:37 , Simon Hunt

There was a long-held feeling in the City, and among customers, was that M&S — part of British life since 1884 — was complacent. Chief executives came and went and either decided the problems were too big to fix or simply didn’t notice them in the first place. They took their share options and moved on.

Only when Archie Norman, the former MP and chief executive of Asda, arrived as chairman in 2017 was there any sense of urgency.

Like alcoholics in denial, M&S’s first big step was to admit to the size of the problem. Systems were clunky, the stores unappealing. The food was okay, but the clothes had been dowdy for years. The typical 60-year-old M&S woman no longer saw herself as old and didn’t care for the frumpy dresses on offer. Complaints about M&S bras were common. They just didn’t fit.

Last week, after a recovery period of nearly 30 years in the making, M&S reported a 58 per cent leap in annual profits to £716 million on sales of more than £13 billion.

The City is talking of future profits of £1 billion, an amount M&S has reached only twice before in its history, under Sir Richard Greenbury in 1997, and Sir Stuart, now Lord Rose, a decade later.

What has changed? For a start staff were made to feel part of the business again. Chief executive Steve Rowe and chairman Norman decided the management were detached from the stores and therefore the customer.

It again looks like one of the kings of retail, which must be good for the whole of the high street. If shopping in M&S is a pleasure once more, maybe people will try the stores either side of it too.

M&S as saviour of the high street seemed a very unlikely idea until just now. Paxman’s gusset anxiety is over.

Ten years ago, it didn’t look like M&S had much of a future. It would sell lunchtime sandwiches and boring shirts to office workers. Instead, the product overhaul has been huge.

~

Here’s a summary of our top headlines from Friday:

Private equity group ICG warns 'investing environment remains uncertain'

Tuesday 28 May 2024 07:36 , Daniel O'Boyle

Private equity group ICG warned today that the "investing environment remains uncertain and potentially volatile, even as profits more than doubled in the year to 31 March.

The business has $26.3bn of "dry powder" for acquisitions, but says it's not under pressure to deploy it yet. Private equity businesses accumulated huge resources for acquisitions in recent years, leading to a buying spree that has taken many big companies like Dechra Pharmaceuticals and Darktrace off of London’s stock market.

Profits soared to £597.8  million while assets under management grew by 23% to almost $100 billion. Companies in ICG’s portfolio include tourism business European Camping Group and cybersecurity business Digicert.

FTSE 100 seen slightly lower, Brent Crude at $83 a barrel

Tuesday 28 May 2024 07:15 , Graeme Evans

The FTSE 100 index is set for a subdued start to the week, despite yesterday’s stronger session for European markets.

Benchmarks in France and Germany rose by about 0.5%, fuelled by hopes that the European Central Bank will cut interest rates at its meeting next month.

With Wall Street closed for a holiday on Monday, Asia markets have traded slightly lower following yesterday’s much stronger session.

The FTSE 100 index finished 21.64 points lower at 8317 on Friday and is forecast by IG Index to open today’s session down by about 0.1%.

Brent Crude has started the week slightly higher at $83.17 a barrel while the pound is trading at just below $1.28.