UK Net Mortgage Approvals Fall As Interest Rates Remain High

1112 GMT - U.K. net mortgage approvals fell to 49,444 in July from 54,605 in June, signalling a likely decline in future mortgage borrowing due to significant increases in interest rates, Bank of England data show. Concerns about people's ability to meet their mortgage repayments have led to a drop in U.K. mortgage approvals, co-founders at mortgage analytics company Eligible say in a note. "Despite some of the nation's biggest lenders cutting rates in an attempt to attract customers, inflation still remains at 6.8% - causing concern over the number of people at risk of missing their monthly repayments," they say. (


Smiths Group Buys US Heating and Cooling Manufacturer for $82 Mln

Smiths said that it has acquired the U.S.-based manufacturer Heating & Cooling Products for $82 million.


Direct Line Names Aviva's Adam Winslow as CEO

Direct Line Insurance Group has appointed Adam Winslow as its new chief executive officer, succeeding acting CEO Jon Greenwood from the first quarter of 2024.


Vertu Motors Used-Vehicle Volumes Fell 6.3%

Vertu Motors said used-vehicle like-for-like volumes fell 6.3% in the five months ended July 31 as higher interest rates impeded the company from running 0% finance offers on used vehicles as it did the year prior, and that it expects fiscal 2024 results to be in line with market expectations.

--- FY 2023 Profit Hit by Costs, Cuts Dividend; CFO to Step Down trimmed its dividend payout after its fiscal 2023 pretax profit fell on the back of increased sales costs amid a challenging backdrop, and said its chief financial officer will step down.


Instem Agrees to GBP203 Mln Takeover by Ichor Management

Instem has agreed to a 203 million pound ($256.7 million) takeover by Ichor Management, a new company controlled by funds managed by Archimed.


Esken Says Sale of Core Operating Businesses, Residual Non-Core Assets Progressing

Esken said the sale of its core operating businesses and residual non-core assets was now progressing through a managed disposal process with the aim of returning any remaining value to its shareholders.


Nanosynth Group CFO Andrew Stedman Steps Down

Nanosynth Group said Wednesday that Chief Financial Officer Andrew Stedman has stepped down with immediate effect, without disclosing further details.


Superdry Shares Suspended on Earnings Report Delay

Superdry said that trading in its shares on the London Stock Exchange was suspended due to a delay on its fiscal 2023 results report.


Gatwick Airport Pretax Profit Rose as Travel Demand Remained Strong Despite Challenges

Gatwick Airport's pretax profit rose for the first half as strong travel demand continued despite a challenging operational environment.


K3 Business Technology Sees Stronger Second Half After Stable Start to Year

K3 Business Technology Group said its pretax loss widened slightly over the first half of fiscal 2023 and that it expects stronger earnings in the second half.


Premier African Minerals to Raise GBP5 Mln to Fund Zimbabwe Project

Premier African Minerals will raise 5 million pounds ($6.3 million) via a conditional subscription from its major shareholder with proceeds going toward the optimization of the Zulu project in Zimbabwe.


Quarto Group Shares Fall on Lower 1H Pretax Profit, Revenue, Challenging 2H

Shares in Quarto Group fell after the company reported a decline in first-half pretax profit and said the board expects the second-half trading environment to remain challenging.


SDX Energy Shares Rise After Sale Agreement for Egyptian Assets

Shares in SDX Energy jumped on Wednesday after the group signed an agreement to dispose of all of its Egyptian assets as it pivots into Morocco's energy transition sector.


Calculus VCT to Raise Up to GBP20 Mln

Calculus VCT plans to raise up to 20 million pounds ($25.3 million) via a share subscription and over-allotment facility.


Osirium Technologies Shares Leap After Agreeing to GBP3.1 Mln Takeover

Shares of Osirium Technologies leapt after the company said that it has agreed to a 3.1 million pound ($3.9 million) takeover by SailPoint Technologies UK, which is indirectly owned by SailPoint Parent.


Future PLC Considers Disposal of Its B2B Assets, Sky News Reports

--Future PLC has hired investment bankers to explore a disposal of assets, including digital newsletter provider SmartBrief, Sky News reports, citing people familiar with the matter.


Drax's Strategy Should Benefit From UK Government Plan for Biomass

1151 GMT - Drax's strategy clearly compliments the U.K. government's biomass strategy paper, and the power generation company's projects will play a critical role in the U.K.'s net-zero ambitions, Liberum analyst Sam Wahab writes in a research note. The government's paper provides further support for the company's bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, or BECCS, projects, adding greater clarity and validation for the role of biomass in the U.K.'s energy transition, Wahab says. "On this basis, we believe there remains a lot to play for with regards to Drax's U.K. BECCS proposition," he says. Liberum maintains a buy rating on the stock, while lowering the price target to 900 pence from 940 pence. (


European Stocks Slip Ahead of US Economic Data

1132 GMT - European stocks mostly fall ahead of an expected slightly lower U.S. open, though Asia markets broadly rose overnight. The Stoxx Europe 600 drops 0.2% and the CAC 40 and DAX backtrack about 0.3%, though the FTSE 100 gains 0.3%, with renewable energy-related stocks among the biggest losers. Stocks in Australia, mainland China and Japan rose, though Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed flat. IG futures data show the Dow opening at 34827, versus Tuesday's close of 34852. Stocks in Asia rose for a third day as China stimulus hopes continued to underpin bullish sentiment, IG says. "Aside from today's ADP figures, the second reading on U.S. 2Q GDP plus weekly oil inventory data will be the main events to watch," IG analysts write. (philip.waller@wsjYellow Cake Seen as a Low-Cost Uranium Exposure Opportunity

1055 GMT - Yellow Cake is a simple, low-cost, low-risk opportunity for investors looking for exposure to uranium, Liberum analysts write in a research note. The London-listed uranium investment company has since 2018 built up a holding of 20.2 million pounds of uranium compound at a cost of $707 million, while having an option to buy $100 million uranium from Kazatomprom each year at spot prices, the analysts say. Yellow Cake trades at a 6% discount to fair value, while Liberum forecasts uranium prices lifting 15% over 12 months to $67 a pound, taking the share price to 540 pence, they say. Liberum initiates Yellow Cake at buy. Shares are down 0.4% at 453.80 pence. (


Bank of England Interest Rates to Further Drag on Lending

1040 GMT - The drag on U.K. bank lending from higher interest rates will intensify as the Bank of England presses ahead with further hikes, according to Ashley Webb, U.K. economist at Capital Economics. While the net monthly change in mortgage lending ticked up in July for the third consecutive month, to GBP0.2 billion from GBP0.1 billion in June, it remained very weak, he says in a note. Mortgage approvals fell by more than 5,000 on month in July, though the full impact from recently surging mortgage rates has yet to be felt, and housing activity and prices have further to fall in the coming months, Webb says. He expects the BOE to raise its key rate to a peak of 5.5% in September and keep it high until 2H 2024. (


Tullow Oil Says Operations in Gabon Are Unaffected by Declared Coup

1029 GMT - Tullow Oil shares have dipped 2.1% after soldiers declared a coup in Gabon, although the oil-and-gas company has said its operations in the Central-West African country are continuing as normal. "Our operations in Gabon are currently unaffected by the ongoing political activity and production continues as normal," a spokesperson for Tullow Oil said. The FTSE 250-listed group said it will monitor the situation closely and work with field operators as necessary. On- and offshore fields in Gabon are Tullow's biggest non-operated portfolio contributor. Shares are down to 35.84 pence. (


FTSE 100 Continues to Rise Following US Stock Market Rally

1023 GMT - The FTSE 100 rises 0.2% to 7479.24 points following the rally in the U.S. stock market and ahead of the release of U.S. ADP employment data at 1215 GMT. "Investors will be paying close attention to the ADP employment report today in the U.S. for clues into what to expect from Friday's non-farm payrolls report and whether the U.S. is heading for a soft landing," writes Interactive Investor's head of investment Victoria Scholar. Insurance company Prudential is up 3.2% after a rise in 1H profit while house builder Persimmon gains 1.8%. The biggest losers are retailers JD Sports Fashion and Kingfisher, as well as utility company SSE. (

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

08-30-23 0840ET