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Smith & Nephew buys Tusker Medical, Martson's sales rise over Xmas

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Friday 24 Jan 2020

(Sharecast News) - London open

The FTSE 100 was called to open 53 points higher at 7,560.
Stocks to watch

Medical technology firm Smith & Nephew said it has bought California-based Tusker Medical for an undisclosed sum.

Tusker makes ear tubes that can be inserted by doctors under local anaesthetic to treat infections in young children. S&N said it would fund the purchase from existing cash and debt facilities.

Festive Britons helped pub group Marston's deliver a rise in sales over the Christmas period despite poor weather keeping people at home in the first three weeks of December.

The company said trading over the Christmas fortnight was strong, with like-for-like sales growth of 4.5%, compensating for more "subdued trading" earlier in the month.

Total sales rose 1% in the 16 weeks to January 18.

"Looking forward, greater clarity on the political agenda should positively impact consumer confidence.

"Overall the economic environment for the consumer looks encouraging with low unemployment and healthy wage growth providing us with increasing confidence that the market will grow in 2020," Marston's said.

Newspaper round-up

The planned construction of HS2 is billions of pounds over budget and years behind schedule because of the failure across government to understand the risks involved, according to a damning independent report. In the first official indication that spending on the controversial rail project could escalate beyond £100bn, the National Audit Office has raised the possibility of a further increase by admitting that it is "impossible to estimate with certainty" how much it will eventually cost. - Guardian

British Steel is a step closer to being rescued by Chinese industrial firm Jingye, after a deal was agreed with trade unions wary of the impact on jobs and conditions. Workers' representatives and executives from the Chinese company, led by former communist party official Li Ganpo, are understood to have shaken hands about steelworkers' future terms of employment. - Guardian

One of the biggest takeovers of the last 12 months has been plunged into doubt after Britain's competition watchdog opened a shock investigation. Takeaway.com's £5.9bn swoop for rival Just Eat, signed off by European authorities two weeks ago, will be probed by the Competition and Markets Authority. - Telegraph

US close

Wall Street stocks turned in a mixed performance on Thursday as the spread of the Chinese coronavirus continued to dampen the mood in global capital markets.

At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.09% at 29,160.09, while the S&P 500 was 0.11% firmer at 3,325.54 and the Nasdaq Composite saw out the session 0.20% stronger at 9,402.48.

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