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Weekly review

By Duncan Ferris

Date: Friday 18 Jan 2019

(Sharecast News) - The FTSE 100 ended the week up 50.15 points at 6968.33.
Equity view

Newmont Mining has agreed to buy Goldcorp in a $10bn that would create the world's leading gold business.

Just Eat has come under fire after a number of restaurants using its online delivery marketplace was found to be breaching regulations that require them to warn of possible allergens contained in their dishes.

Debenhams' attempts to keep itself afloat could lead to the shutdown of 90 stores across the UK and the loss of 10,000 jobs, according to a report published on Monday.

Acacia Mining reported gold production of 130,581 ounces for the fourth quarter, bringing the full year total to 521,980 ounces, "substantially ahead" of initial production guidance for the year of 435,000 - 475,000 ounces.

Marks & Spencer on Tuesday confirmed plans to close 17 more of its stores, putting over 1,000 jobs at risk as the retailer continues downsizing as part of a turnaround plan.

Troubled UK airline Flybe on Tuesday said it had reached an agreement to sell its main trading company and digital operation to a Virgin-led consortium for an increased £2.8m.

JPMorgan Chase posted a rise in fourth-quarter profit and revenue on Tuesday, but the numbers fell short of analysts' expectations as its bond trading revenue declined amid spikes in market volatility.

UK gambling stocks that have expanded across the Atlantic took a hit on Tuesday after the US Department of Justice moved to tighten regulations on online gambling.

Pearson on Wednesday reported that it expects full-year profits to come in just above the middle of its target range and guided to growth of 8-18% for 2019.

Scandal-hit Patisserie Holdings, which discovered a £40m black hole in its accounts last year, said on Wednesday that it had discovered thousands of false entries into its ledgers and that its profitability was likely to be much lower than it originally estimated.

FTSE 250 housebuilder Bovis Homes said on Wednesday that profits for 2018 are expected to be "slightly ahead" of market consensus following a "significant" improvement in its operational performance.

Whitbread confirmed that profits are likely to remain flat for the next year but said it will begin buying back £500m worth of shares after completing the sale of Costa Coffee earlier than expected.

Sports betting and gaming group GVC Holdings issued a post close trading update for the year ended 31 December on Thursday, reporting that following a strong final quarter, it expected full year 2018 proforma underlying EBITDA to fall between £750m and £755m, ahead of current market consensus.

Primark owner Associated British Foods maintained full-year guidance, reporting revenue growth in the Christmas period in all of its businesses apart from sugar.

Beleaguered café chain Patisserie Valerie's deputy chairman and non-executive director Lee Ginsberg resigned with immediate effect on Thursday, becoming the latest in a number of senior figures to quit the company.

Healthcare company Bupa has completed the acquisition of Acıbadem Sigorta, Turkey's second-largest health insurer, it announced on Friday.

Rio Tinto confirmed that iron ore shipments were at the upper end of its guidance and copper production was ahead, but production for the former will be flat in 2019, with the latter expected to fall.

Ryanair cut its full-year profit guidance on Friday as it pinned the blame on lower-than-anticipated winter fares.

Security software provider Sophos Group dived after reporting that it expects to see a modest decline in full-year constant current billings.

Safety, health and environmental technology group Halma said it had bought Rath Communications, a provider of emergency communication systems for areas of refuge in the US for $42.4m (£32.6m), on a cash and debt free basis.

Economic news

Around 50 of the UK's major retailers are preparing to form an action group in a move to seek business rates relief from the government.

UK business leaders reacted with anger to Tuesday's heavy defeat of Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit withdrawal agreement.

GMB union has launched the Go Public campaign to reduce the outsourcing of public services which has risen by 53% in 2018 despite the struggles of many operators in the market and the Carillon collapse last year.

While Westminster remains starkly divided over Brexit a debate on the future of the nation's pubs secured cross party support for a meaningful reform of business rates on Tuesday.

The UK financial watchdog is reviewing regulation over private political polling, which has been used by hedge funds to profit from events such as Brexit.

UK inflation eased off at the end of last year, as expected, due to a fall in fuel prices and airfares.

Japanese giant Hitachi has announced it will halt work on a £20bn nuclear plant in Wales after failing to agree prices for electricity production with the UK government.

The outlook for the UK housing market over the next three months was the worst on record in December as uncertainty over Brexit took its toll, according to the latest survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

The Democratic Unionist Party could support a soft Brexit that would have the whole of the UK aligned with the EU's customs union in a bid to avoid the Irish backstop, according to a newspaper report on Friday.

Britain would vote to stay in the European Union by a 12% margin in a second referendum, revealed a new poll by YouGov taken on 16 January.

International events

US President Donald Trump has threatened to "devastate" Turkey's economy if President Recep Tayyip Erdogan orders attacks on Kurdish forces in Syria after a planned withdrawal of US troops.

Greece's Prime Minister will call a confidence vote in his own government after losing the support of a minority partner, the Independent Greeks, led by up until now by the country's Defence Minister, Panos Kammenos.

China's Foreign Ministry urged officials in Ottawa to immediately release Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

China moved again to stimulate its economy on Tuesday, announcing larger tax cuts and pledging to maintain liquidity in the banking system, while fresh data revealed the slowest growth of credit in more than a decade.

Sentiment among US housebuilders unexpectedly improved in January, according to data released on Wednesday.

The US rejected an offer from Russia to inspect a controversial new missile, said it will not attend the review of the agreement in February and will prepare to pull out of the current nuclear-weapons treaty completely in six months.

France put its Brexit contingency plans into motion on Thursday, amid growing concerns of a no-deal scenario.

Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen on Thursday admitted having tried to rig online polls "at the direction and for the sole benefit of" the President.

Reports suggest Washington might be prepared to make concessions of its own should Beijing decide to 'play ball' in upcoming trade talks.

US President Donald Trump made his dispute with House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi over the government shutdown personal when he cancelled her upcoming overseas trip and denied her use of a military plane to Afghanistan.

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