FTSE 100 Falls Amid Global Growth Fears
0752 GMT - The FTSE 100 falls 0.3% to 7038 points amid concerns about the global economic impact of the fast-spreading Delta coronavirus variant. "Sentiment remains fragile for the moment, and with lighter trading volumes during August, more market volatility is extremely possible," Interactive Investor analyst Richard Hunter says. Antofagasta shares fall 1.9% after the miner lowered its 2021 copper production guidance on Thursday. AstraZeneca drops 1.0% after the pharmaceutical company said its rare disease business Alexion will discontinue a phase 3 trial of Ultomiris in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Retail shares rise after data showed U.K. retail sales fell 2.5% on month in July but rose 5.2% on quarter in the three months to July and was 5.8% higher than its pre-pandemic February 2020 level. (email@example.com)
Interactive Investor Weighs IPO -Sky News
Investment platform Interactive Investor is considering an initial public offering that could value the business at up to two billion pounds ($2.73 billion), Sky News reports.
Morrisons Agrees to $9.55 Bln CD&R Takeover Offer
Wm. Morrison Supermarkets PLC has agreed to a takeover offer from Clayton Dubilier & Rice LLC that values it at seven billion pounds ($9.55 billion), withdrawing its recommendation of a previous bid from a consortium led by SoftBank Group Corp.'s Fortress Investment Group LLC.
Marks & Spencer Raises FY 2022 Profit Outlook After Strong Start
Marks & Spencer Group PLC on Friday raised its adjusted profit guidance for fiscal 2022 as a result of a strong start to the year, with sales growth across all segments.
Vertu Motors Raises FY 2022 Profit View; Plans Buyback
Vertu Motors PLC said Friday that it is raising its pretax profit estimate for fiscal 2022 and that it plans to start a share buyback program for an initial amount of up to 3 million pounds ($4.1 million).
Argo Blockchain Files for U.S. IPO of American Depositary Shares
Argo Blockchain PLC said Friday it has filed a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering of its American depositary shares.
Colefax Group Plans Tender Offer for Up to 14% of Shares
Colefax Group PLC said Friday that it is offering shareholders the opportunity to sell back their shares via a tender offer at a minimum price of 615 pence a share.
Logistics Development Group Swung to 1H 2021 Pretax Profit
Logistics Development Group PLC said Friday that it swung to a pretax profit for the first half of fiscal 2021 after booking lower costs, and that it isn't declaring an interim dividend.
Kingspan Group 1H Boosted by High Demand, Construction-Sector Recovery
Kingspan Group PLC on Friday reported a 67% rise in pretax profit for the first half of the year on revenue that also rose, boosted by high demand and a global recovery in the construction sector.
CD&R Seen as Natural Fit for Morrisons
0819 GMT - Clayton Dubilier & Rice always seemed like the more natural fit for Wm. Morrison Supermarkets, AJ Bell analyst Danni Hewson says, after the U.S. private-equity group agreed to buy Morrisons for GBP7 billion. CD&R already owns U.K. petrol and convenience retailer Motor Fuel Group. "Its forecourt operation might require a few tweaks to please the U.K.'s competition watchdog but adding Morrisons' to the portfolio will put them in a strong position to be at the forefront of the switch to electric," Hewson says. CD&R's offer meant the U.K. grocer withdrew its recommendation for an earlier bid from a consortium led by SoftBank Group's Fortress Investment. Shares in Morrisons rise 4.2%. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Economic Recovery Boosts UK Public Coffers
0757 GMT - Lower-than-expected U.K. public-sector net borrowing in July underpins the economic recovery and eases pressure on government finances, Capital Economics says. Public sector net borrowing excluding banking groups in July was GBP10.4 billion, once again comfortably lower than the Office for Budget Responsibility's forecast of GBP15.6 billion and a WSJ survey forecast of GBP13.2 billion. "Total tax receipts of GBP70.0 billion in July were above June's GBP62.1 billion and last July's total of GBP60.6 billion, another encouraging sign that the economic recovery is feeding through to the public coffers," says senior U.K. economist Ruth Gregory. Government spending dropped to GBP73.1 billion in July from GBP77.2 billion in June. (email@example.com)
Marks & Spencer's Guidance Still Looks Conservative, Jefferies Says
0737 GMT - Marks & Spencer Group's guidance upgrade shows that U.K. reopening trade is firmly on, but the company's improved outlook still looks conservative, Jefferies says. The U.K. retailer now expects adjusted pretax profit for fiscal 2022 at the upper end of its GBP300 million-GBP350 million range, and there is scope for further upgrades ahead of a full recovery in workplace mobility, Jefferies says. The update from M&S confirms a strong summer performance to date and comes after fashion retailer Next raised its guidance last month, Jefferies says. This highlights the disconnect between recovering U.K. consumer spending and weakness in reopening stocks, the bank says. M&S shares jump 12%. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Fresh CD&R Bid for Morrisons Puts Ball in Fortress's Court
0726 GMT - Shares in Wm. Morrison Supermarkets rise after U.S. private-equity group Clayton Dubilier & Rice came out with a GBP7 billion offer for the U.K. grocer that trumped an earlier GBP6.7 billion bid from a consortium led by SoftBank Group's Fortress Investment. Fortress says it is considering its options and all eyes are on its next move. "Will Fortress pick itself [up off] the mat and find another level? It is a real possibility," AJ Bell analyst Danni Hewson says. Morrisons is an attractive asset at a time supply is becoming a huge issue and SoftBank has deep pockets, Hewson says. Shares in Morrisons are up 4.7% at 292.20 pence, trading above the price of CD&R's offer of 285 pence a share. (email@example.com)
Fall in UK Borrowing Signals Improving Government Finances
0720 GMT - U.K. public sector net borrowing in July almost halved, to GBP10.4 billion, official data showed, indicating that government finances are starting to recover from the pandemic fallout, says Steve Clayton, fund manager at Hargreaves Lansdown. "These numbers could have been so much worse, but with the UK economy turning up, government finances are fast improving," he says. It bodes well for Treasury chief Rishi Sunak, as it gives him some flexibility going into the next Spending Review in autumn and makes it easier to keep the promise of no return to austerity, he adds. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
U.K. Retail Sales Fall, but Too Early to Blame Coronavirus
0711 GMT - It is tempting to take July's unexpected 2.5% fall in U.K. retail sales as a sign that the coronavirus was starting to have a noticeable impact, but ING says this isn't the case. The decline in retail sales through July probably marks something of a correction after a bit of initial buzz when shops reopened, ING's developed-markets economist James Smith says. Another reason for the drop is that spending on goods was always going to come under pressure once services reopened, he says. "Delta hasn't triggered a major shift in consumer appetite to socialize so far, though we suspect this may become more noticeable over the winter," Smith says. (email@example.com)
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