Canada markets closed
  • S&P/TSX

    20,928.10
    +108.16 (+0.52%)
     
  • S&P 500

    4,471.37
    +33.11 (+0.75%)
     
  • DOW

    35,294.76
    +382.20 (+1.09%)
     
  • CAD/USD

    0.8086
    +0.0001 (+0.01%)
     
  • CRUDE OIL

    82.66
    +1.35 (+1.66%)
     
  • BTC-CAD

    76,074.65
    +2,104.98 (+2.85%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    1,464.06
    +57.32 (+4.07%)
     
  • GOLD FUTURES

    1,768.10
    -29.80 (-1.66%)
     
  • RUSSELL 2000

    2,265.65
    -8.52 (-0.37%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    1.5760
    +0.0570 (+3.75%)
     
  • NASDAQ

    14,897.34
    +73.91 (+0.50%)
     
  • VOLATILITY

    16.30
    -0.56 (-3.32%)
     
  • FTSE

    7,234.03
    +26.32 (+0.37%)
     
  • NIKKEI 225

    29,068.63
    +517.70 (+1.81%)
     
  • CAD/EUR

    0.6966
    -0.0001 (-0.01%)
     
LATEST UPDATE:

NO WEEKLY BRIEF NEWSLETTER FOR THE WEEKEND OF OCT. 16-17

FTSE 100 live: Federal Reserve in focus, Ladbrokes mulls DraftKings bid, Netflix’s Roald Dahl deal

·17 min read
 (ESI)
(ESI)

The high-stakes pursuit of Ladbrokes owner Entain was the main focus for London investors today after the FTSE 100 index company confirmed an approach from DraftKings pitched at £28 a share, equivalent to more than $22 billion.

It told investors it is considering the proposal amid huge interest in the rapidly-expanding US sports betting market.

The FTSE 100 index, meanwhile, rallied by a bigger-than-expected 1% to return above the 7,000 threshold as a bond deal by China’s Evergrande eased immediate worries over its future to help the top flight build on turnaround Tuesday’s 1% improvement.

FTSE Live Wednesday

  • Ladbrokes owner confirms £28 a share approach

  • FTSE 100 index rises 1% as Evergrande debt deal brings relief

  • Netflix buys Roald Dahl back catalogue

  • Astra jab maker Oxford Biomedica gets £50 million boost from India’s Serum Institute

  • US Federal Reserve meeting concludes later

FTSE 100 gains over 100 points

16:58 , Oscar Williams-Grut

The FTSE 100 has closed up 102 points, or 1.5%, at 7083. The index has climbed back above the 7000 mark after Chinese real estate giant Evergrande announced it had reached a deal on debt repayments due today. Fears that China’s second largest property developer could default on its mammoth debt pile sent stock markets around the world sinking on Monday.

Here are the big stories of the day:

Ladbrokes is “carefully considering” a $22 billion stock-and-cash offer from US company DraftKings. The unsolicited approach has sent shares across the gambling sector surging amid speculation that M&A could continue across the sector.

• Paddy Power has reached a $300 million settlement with the US state of Kentucky over historic charges linked to illegal online poker in the state. Lawmakers had wanted the gambling firm to pay as much as $1.2 billion in the case.

Netflix has struck a deal to buy the rights of author Roald Dahl’s works. Shares in the streaming service are up 1% in the pre-market in New York. The deal, terms of which weren’t disclosed, gives Netflix the rights to works including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda.

• PZ Cussons, the consumer goods firm behind Carex hand soap and St Tropez tanning lotion, has sunk 3.7% after reporting a drop in sales and warning on rising costs. “We are trying to work lots of levers to offset [these cost rises] and protect margins,” chief executive Jonathan Myers told the Standard. “Where necessary there will be price increases, but we are really trying to avoid this.”

• LVMH, the French luxury group behind Louis Vuitton and Moet champagne, has announced plans to hire 25,000 young people. The company said the plan was in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hurt job prospects for young people. The stock is up 1.2% in Paris, likely buoyed by relief about the Chinese economy linked to Evergrande.

• India’s Serum Institute — the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer — has invested £50 million in Oxford Biomedica. Shares are up over 9% in London. Oxford Biomedica makes the AstraZeneca vaccine and plans to expand its facilities with the new investment.

• Investors await the latest update from the US Federal Reserve later today. The Fed will publish a statement at 6pm UK time. Analysts expect the central bank to warn about growing challenges to the global economy recovery caused by supply chain issues, inflation, and other macroeconomic issues.

That’s all from us today, have a good evening and see you again tomorrow.

Ladbrokes owner mulls DraftKings approach

07:28 , Oscar Williams-Grut

Ladbrokes and Coral owner Entain today added more detail on the takeover approach from DraftKings, revealing that the proposal from the US online gaming firm is worth £28 a share, equivalent to more than $22 billion.

This represents a sizeable 46% premium to Monday night’s closing price, but DraftKings faces a significant hurdle in Entain’s US partner MGM Resorts International, which made its own takeover approach earlier in the year.

The latest proposal from DraftKings, which follows an earlier approach pitched at £25 a share, offers the FTSE 100 company’s shareholders 630 pence in cash with the rest coming from new DraftKings Class A common shares.

Entain said: “The board of Entain will carefully consider the proposal and a further announcement will be made as and when appropriate. Shareholders are urged to take no action at this time.”

Read more here.

Pret A Manger cheers improved trading in London and eyes expansion

07:41 , Joanna Bourke

News from a non-listed company in the hospitality sector: Pret A Manger is looking to open more UK sites.

Boss Pano Christou has called the last fortnight in London “a bit of a turning point” in terms of trade bouncing back from the pandemic, and his firm is planning 200 more UK branch openings.

The sandwich chain’s City shops are now trading at over 70% of their pre-pandemic levels, and a lot of that growth has come in the last few weeks.

Improved sales will come as a relief after customer numbers plunged during the pandemic, with Pret A Manager permanently closing around 30 sites last year.

Accounts filed this week at Companies House will show revenue for 2020 was £299 million, down from £708 million a year earlier.

Read the full story HERE.

Investors on the sidelines

07:47 , Graeme Evans

It's been a volatile week so far in the London market, with Monday's contagion fears triggered by China's debt-laden property firm Evergrande followed by Turnaround Tuesday and a rise of more than 1%.

The FTSE 100 index is set to open 10 points higher at 6,991, although this is more likely to reflect the reluctance of investors to commit new money ahead of big statements from the US Federal Reserve later today and the Bank of England tomorrow.

Investors will be looking for clues over when the Federal Reserve will begin to taper economic support, possibly as soon as December.

Asian markets posted modest losses overnight, suggesting sentiment may be stabilising after the turbulence earlier in the week.

Watching the dots

08:06 , Graeme Evans

Today's statement from the Federal Reserve won't just be closely watched for signals on when the central bank might begin tapering of economic support.

The dot plot, which charts the timelines for rate hikes or cuts, could trigger a further rally for the US dollar if it shows more Fed members moving interest rate hiking expectations into 2022 from 2023.

Oanda's Jeffrey Halley said: “We may not get a taper tantrum lite from tapering comments, but we could from a more hawkish dot plot. I’ve long given up hope that US bond yields will react materially, but we could see a further extension to the US dollar rally and equities and commodities probably won’t have a good day at the office.”

In the June meeting there were seven dots indicating a rates lift off in 2022, so an increase could also be interpreted as signalling a faster taper.

Michael Hewson, of CMC Markets, added: “The one fly in the ointment given the risks emanating from events in China is whether the Fed adopts a less hawkish stance in order to buy itself some time until the situation becomes clearer.”

Miners lead FTSE 100 charge

08:29 , Graeme Evans

The FTSE 100 index has made a stronger-than-epxected start, rising almost 1% or 67.82 points to 7,048.80 thanks to a big rebound for mining stocks.

Shares in the likes of BHP, Anglo American and Antofagasta have fallen sharply in recent weeks due to lower prices for iron ore and copper. However, the trio surged 4% today on hopes that China’s embattled real estate group Evergrande, which triggered a sharp market sell-off on Monday, will strike a deal over a bond interest payment due imminently.

There was no surprise to discover Entain at the top of the FTSE 100 risers board, with the Ladbrokes owner's shares up 9% or 197p to 2,458p after confirming the details of a takeover approach.

The share price remains well short of the 2,800p being offered by DraftKings, partly because most of the US firm’s proposal is in shares and also due to the potential for a veto from Entain's US partner MGM Resorts.

Paddy Power pops on Kentucky deal

09:02 , Oscar Williams-Grut

Flutter Entertainment, the owner of Paddy Power, has reached a deal to settle a long-running legal dispute with the state of Kentucky.

Kentucky has been pursuing PokerStars for over a decade after accusing the site of letting Kentucky residents gamble on its site between 2007 and 2011. Flutter acquired PokerStars through its merger with the Stars Group last year.

Flutter today agreed to pay $200 million (£146 million) to settle the case, alongside $100 million already forfeited as bond. Kentucky has agreed to stop pursuing Flutter in response.

The settlement is much lower than the $1.3 billion Flutter was ordered to pay last December by the Kentucky Supreme Court, following a length legal battle. Flutter had challenged that ruling in the US Supreme Court but pursued a remediated settlement alongside that process.

Shares rose over 5%.

Read more here.

Shares in bowling alley business Ten Entertainment on the up

09:37 , Simon Freeman

Bowling alley group Ten Entertainment today said the staycation boom resulted in “exceptional” trading over summer.

The AIM-listed listed firm, which has 46 centres, including in Acton and Croydon, reported a £10.8 million pre-tax loss for the six months to June 27. It had to close sites for part of that period owing to lockdowns.

But it added that comparable sales over the past three months have leapt.

It cautioned that current strong demand is "likely to moderate to high single digit [growth] in 2021 as the staycation bubble subsides". But the full year outlook is still ahead of previous management expectations.

The shares rose 8.24p to 263.24p.

AZ jab maker Biomedica £50million cash boost

09:42 , Simon Freeman

Oxford Biomedica today announced a £50million cash injection from the world’s biggest vaccine maker.

The Oxford University spin-off, which has been pumping out tens of millions of doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 jab, said the cash from India’s Serum Institute - in return for a 3.9% stake - would enable it to expand its research and manufacturing capacity.

The investment caps a bumper six months for the biotech, led since 2008 by CEO John Dawson, which generated underlying profits of £27.1million on revenues of £81.3million, up 139% on the first half.

It will be used to almost double the available lab and manufacturing space within its 84000sq ft Oxbox plant - a converted Royal Mail sorting office - and to recruit another 120 staff, taking the headcount to around 850.

Revenues for the half were “largely driven” by its tie-up with Astra, expected to reach £100million this year.

But the company is using its strong balance sheet and enhanced profile to expand its own pipeline of genetic therapies and to further develop the viral vectors used to deliver cancer, cystic fibrosis and other drugs produced by partners including Novartis, Orchard Therapeutics and Bristol Myers Squibb.

Dawson today did his best to dampen speculation he may be considering a move after more than a decade at the helm: “We’ve nothing to update the market on at this point in time. I’m here, I’m keen and I’m working hard,” he said.

Shares are up 52% so far this year, and rose 6% this morning to 1566.0p, making it the top gainer on the FTSE250 and valuing the firm at around £1.3billion.

Carex owner PZ Cussons monitoring ‘early warning signals’ for supply disruption

11:50 , Joanna Bourke

The boss of Carex and St Tropez owner PZ Cussonsis monitoring “early warning signals” for threats that could delay delivery times, as the firm battles supply chain disruption and soaring costs.

Jonathan Myers, who is pursuing a long-term turnaround strategy at the listed company, told the Standard it is facing “unprecedented” raw materials price hikes, as well as seeing the overall cost of shipping and trucking goods to the UK from Asia and Africa rise by around 10%.

PZ Cussons is behind the Carex brand (PZ Cussons)
PZ Cussons is behind the Carex brand (PZ Cussons)

Myers said: “We are trying to work lots of levers to offset [these cost rises] and protect margins. Where necessary there will be price increases, but we are really trying to avoid this.”

Read the full story HERE.

11:52 , Oscar Williams-Grut

NETFLIX is stepping into the gloriumptious world of Roald Dahl with the acquisition of the company which licences the author’s works.

 (Allstar/WALT DISNEY PICTURES)
(Allstar/WALT DISNEY PICTURES)

The streaming giant intends to build a “unique universe” around the likes of Matilda, the BFG and Willie Wonka with initial plans for 19 animated and live action films, new TV series, video games and stage shows.

No price has been attached.

Luke Kelly, grandson of the late writer and RDSC’s MD, said: “Being part of a larger company supports our mission to share the stories’ messages of hope and the power and the possibility of young people.”

Dahl, who died in 1990 aged 74, remains popular with young readers around the world and several of his books such as "The BFG", "Fantastic Mr Fox" and most recently "The Witches" have been turned into movies and stage shows.

"As we bring these timeless tales to more audiences in new formats, we're committed to maintaining their unique spirit and their universal themes of surprise and kindness, while also sprinkling some fresh magic into the mix," Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said.

Read more HERE.

LVMH looks to boost workforce size

13:11 , Joanna Bourke

Luxury goods giant LVMH has outlined plans to go on a major hiring spree.

The Paris-listed company behind brands such as Louis Vuitton and Celine wants to recruit 25,000 people under the age of 30 by the end of 2022.

The global search for talent will help add to its existing workforce, currently around 165,000 employees.

Read the full story HERE.

London remains best city for tech innovation outside Silicon Valley and New York, new rankings table finds

13:50 , Joanna Bourke

London remains the world’s leading city for tech innovation outside Silicon Valley and New York despite the setbacks of Brexit and the pandemic, according to a new rankings table.

The capital tied with New York for second place for the second year in a row in a report published today by advisers Startup Genome. It was the only European city to make the global top 10.

Read the full story HERE.

Lunchtime latest

13:51 , Oscar Williams-Grut

Here are the main stories this lunchtime:

• The FTSE 100 is up 88 points, or 1.2%, to reach 7069. The index has climbed back above the 7000 mark after Chinese real estate giant Evergrande announced it had reached a deal on debt repayments due today. Fears that China’s second largest property developer could default on its mammoth debt pile sent stock markets around the world sinking on Monday.

Ladbrokes is “carefully considering” a $22 billion stock-and-cash offer from US company DraftKings. The unsolicited approach has sent shares across the gambling sector surging amid speculation that M&A could continue across the sector.

• Paddy Power has reached a $300 million settlement with the US state of Kentucky over historic charges linked to illegal online poker in the state. Lawmakers had wanted the gambling firm to pay as much as $1.2 billion in the case.

Netflix has struck a deal to buy the rights of author Roald Dahl’s works. Shares in the streaming service are up 1% in the pre-market in New York. The deal, terms of which weren’t disclosed, gives Netflix the rights to works including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda.

• PZ Cussons, the consumer goods firm behind Carex hand soap and St Tropez tanning lotion, has sunk 3.7% after reporting a drop in sales and warning on rising costs. “We are trying to work lots of levers to offset [these cost rises] and protect margins,” chief executive Jonathan Myers told the Standard. “Where necessary there will be price increases, but we are really trying to avoid this.”

• LVMH, the French luxury group behind Louis Vuitton and Moet champagne, has announced plans to hire 25,000 young people. The company said the plan was in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hurt job prospects for young people. The stock is up 1.2% in Paris, likely buoyed by relief about the Chinese economy linked to Evergrande.

• India’s Serum Institute — the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer — has invested £50 million in Oxford Biomedica. Shares are up over 9% in London. Oxford Biomedica makes the AstraZeneca vaccine and plans to expand its facilities with the new investment.

• Investors await the latest update from the US Federal Reserve later today. The Fed will publish a statement at 6pm UK time. Analysts expect the central bank to warn about growing challenges to the global economy recovery caused by supply chain issues, inflation, and other macroeconomic issues.

FTSE 100 makes gains

14:03 , Joanna Bourke

At 2pm London’s blue chip index was 100.55 points higher at 7081.53. The gains in part came after China’s embattled property group Evergrande eased market worries over its immediate future.

The Evening Standard’s market report earlier said that the debt-laden firm’s onshore property unit said an interest payment due tomorrow on one of its yuan-denominated bonds “has been resolved via negotiations off the clearing house.”

The statement raised more questions than answers but for now investors are prepared to move on from Monday’s sharp sell-off, when contagion fears stemming from Evergrande’s potential failure sent miners and Asia-focused companies sharply lower.

US markets open higher ahead of Fed meeting

14:35 , Oscar Williams-Grut

Stock markets in New York have opened higher ahead of the latest statement from the US Federal Reserve later today. Markets are benefiting from a global relief rally after Chinese real estate giant Evergrande said it had struck a deal on debt repayments, which soothed default fears.

Here are the opening prices in New York just after the open:

• The S&P 500 is half a percent higher

• The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.7%

• The Nasdaq is up 0.2%

Markets eye US Fed and Bank of England moves as inflation fears grow

14:36 , Oscar Williams-Grut

Markets were today nervously eyeing imminent news from the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England amid growing fears that the central banks have lost control of inflation and could be forced to change tack on interest rates.

The Fed will reveal its latest thinking later today, the Bank at noon tomorrow, with analysts warning that the chances of a misstep that leads to a big shift in bond prices is high.

Recent economic woes such as a global supply chain crisis and soaring energy costs may also make it harder for the central banks to begin withdrawing support for the economy by pulling back on quantitative easing – mass purchases of government bond

Read the full story here

‘Dip buyers have thrown caution to the wind'

16:31 , Oscar Williams-Grut

Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, says: “Dip buyers have thrown caution to the wind it seems this afternoon, discarding any pre-Fed nerves and plunging back into stocks as the Evergrande situation seems to diminish in importance just as quickly as it appeared. The urge to buy the dip is alive and well it seems, and equities are back on an upward footing as risk appetite flows back into financial markets.

“This rebound is not confined to stocks; oil prices, silver and non-USD currencies are on the up, as the Vix takes an early bath, falling sharply throughout the session. In London it is certainly a broad-based move to the upside, providing plenty of foundation for further gains beyond 7100 as the FTSE 100 enjoys a triple-digit up day.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting