FTSE 100 Falls On Trader Caution After Strong UK GDP Data

0842 GMT - The FTSE 100 falls 1.0% to 7541 points as traders exercise caution after stronger-than-expected U.K. GDP data raised concerns about the need for more Bank of England interest-rate rises. "The reading is economically positive but it complicates the decision which the BOE now faces in terms of its next interest rate decision, particularly if it chooses to tighten further and potentially incite a recession," Interactive Investor Head of Markets Richard Hunter says in a note. Betting company Entain and investment company Abrdn are down 2.4% each after earlier this week reporting 1H pretax loss and larger-than-expected outflows in 1H respectively. (miriam.mukuru@wsj.com)


VP CFO Anna Bielby to Become CEO as Neil Stothard Retires

VP PLC's Chief Executive Neil Stothard is retiring from the group at the end of September and will be replaced by Anna Bielby, currently its chief financial officer.


UnitedHealth, EMIS Merger Cleared Provisionally by UK Regulator

The U.K.'s Competition and Markets authority said it hasn't found any competition concerns in the UnitedHealth Group and EMIS Group merger so far following an in-depth investigation, clearing the 1.2 billion pounds ($1.52 billion) deal provisionally.


Chaarat Gold Holdings' Kapan Production Falls, Mulls Sale of Mine

Chaarat Gold Holdings has reported a fall in production from its Kapan Mine in Armenia for the first half, and is considering a potential sale of the asset.


Smoove Extends PEXA's Takeover Offer Deadline

Smoove said that the deadline for PEXA Group to make a firm takeover offer has been extended to Sept. 8.


Celsius Resources Says Shareholders Unlikely to Approve Silvercorp Takeover Bid

Celsius Resources said Silvercorp Metals' current takeover offer is unlikely to have substantial support from shareholders and that it is considering other approaches.


FBD Holdings Pretax Profit Rose on Insurance Revenue, Investment Returns

FBD Holdings' pretax profit grew over the first half of 2023 driven by insurance revenue growth, investment returns and lower expenses.


GCP Infrastructure to Merge With GCP Asset Backed in GBP907 Mln Deal

GCP Infrastructure Investments has agreed to merge with GCP Asset Backed Income Fund under a deal that will result in GCP Asset being wound up and its assets transferred to the company in exchange for shares, creating a company worth about 907 million pounds ($1.15 billion).


FIH Group Appoints Nicholas Henry as Nonexecutive Chair

FIH Group has named Nicholas Paul Henry as nonexecutive chairman and director, succeeding Robin Williams.


Atlantis Japan Growth Fund to Merge With Nippon Active Value Fund

Atlantis Japan Growth Fund has agreed to merge with U.K. investment trust Nippon Active Value Fund whereby Nippon will buy Atlantis's assets in exchange for shares.


SW (Finance) I Raises GBP550 Mln More for Southern Water Group

SW (Finance) I raised a further 550 million pounds ($697.1 million) in equity to support the turnaround plan of its holding company Southern Water Group.


Hostelworld's Social-Strategy Success Could Bring Upside

0833 GMT - Hostelworld's 1H headline figures reflect its strong momentum, with bookings and revenue up 64% year on year, Liberum analysts Anna Barnfather and Nishant Dahad say in a note. The success of the company's social features--which have seen around 55% of monthly bookings made by social network members--underpins management's longer-term strategy of attracting higher-value customers at lower marketing spend, the analysts say. "While 2023 Ebitda guidance of EUR16.5 million to EUR17 million was reiterated, and we prudently leave our numbers unchanged, we see upside risk driven by its ongoing strong trading, the success of the social strategy (lower marketing costs, higher customer value), and wider cost efficiencies," they say. Liberum rates the stock buy and has a 210 pence target price. (anthony.orunagoriainoff@dowjones.com)


Kingspan's 1H Update Could Be Reassuring

0745 GMT - Kingspan's performance update is expected to confirm once again that the group remains extremely well placed, Davy Research analysts Flor O'Donoghue and Andrea Collins say in a note. The building-and-insulation materials company's performance is forecast to be resilient amid a challenging operating backdrop, and trading profit is anticipated to increase 4% over 2022, supported by attractive and favourable sector mix, they say. The company's latest trading update prompted a significant upgrade to 2023 forecasts and, since then, shares are up around 30%, the analysts say. The group is set to report its 1H earnings on Aug. 18. (michael.susin@wsj.com)


Gilt Yields Rise After Above-Forecast UK GDP Data

0741 GMT - Gilt yields rise after the latest U.K. GDP data came in stronger than expected, raising the prospect of more Bank of England interest-rate rises. The data show U.K. GDP expanded by 0.2% on quarter in 2Q, higher than the Bank of England forecast of 0.1% growth from the August monetary policy report. "The better-than-expected growth figures will likely give the BOE some comfort that raising interest rates to fight inflation hasn't yet pushed the economy into recession," Richard Flax, chief investment officer at digital wealth manager Moneyfarm, says in a note. U.K. 10-year gilt yield rises around 8 basis points to 4.436% while U.K. 2-year gilt yield rises around 6bps to 4.948%, Tradeweb data show. (miriam.mukuru@wsj.com)


FBD Holdings' Surplus Capital Return Kicks off

0726 GMT - FBD Holdings has begun its surplus capital return, Goodbody says in a note after the Irish insurer approved its special dividend of 100 European cents as it posted first-half results. The company said it intends to move closer to its target capital "which, combined with a positive operating performance, paves the way for further material shareholder distributions in FY24 and beyond," analyst Ronan Dunphy writes. The special dividend is expected to be well received by the market, he adds. Goodbody rates the stock buy. Shares in Dublin edge up 0.4% at EUR12.8. (elena.vardon@wsj.com)


UK Manufacturing Helps Drive GDP Growth

0709 GMT - A surge in manufacturing boosted U.K. production in June, and the rest of the economy looks pretty robust too, economist James Smith at ING writes in a note. Industrial production rose 1.8% from the previous month, driven by a 2.4% increase in manufacturing output, helping lift overall gross domestic product by 0.5% in June, ahead of economists' expectations. Good performance in pharmaceuticals and automotive production helps explain this, but good weather in June also supported the hospitality and retail sectors and thus the wider economy, Smith notes. Third-quarter economic growth expectations now look reasonable, though more important will be inflation and wage-growth figures due next week, Smith says. (joshua.kirby@wsj.com; @joshualeokirby)


UK Still Headed for Recession Despite 2Q Growth, CapEcon Says

0648 GMT - The U.K. is avoiding a recession for now but a contraction may lie ahead, warns Ruth Gregory, deputy chief economist at Capital Economics. The country's gross domestic product rose 0.2% in the second quarter, including a 0.5% exit rate in June, slightly ahead of the stagnation expected by economists for the period. But June's growth was boosted by a relatively high number of working days, and with interest-rate hikes yet to take most of their toll, the U.K. is still probably heading for a mild recession later this year, starting with declining GDP in the current quarter, Gregory says in a note. (joshua.kirby@wsj.com; @joshualeokirby)

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

08-11-23 0459ET