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Weekly review

By Josh White

Date: Friday 21 Feb 2020

(Sharecast News) - The FTSE 100 ended the week down 5.21 points at 7,403.92.
Equity view

Property developer Hammerson said it had sold a portfolio of seven retail parks and two others individually for a total of ?455m.

Energy services group Hunting on Friday said it had bought Enpro Subsea for $33m from members of the Enpro management team and Energy Ventures Private Equity.

Health, safety and environmental technology company Halma has acquired Utah-based Maxtec, it announced on Friday.

Marine engineering services company James Fisher & Sons said its had won a four year ?35m contract extension to supply its submarine escape and rescue system to the Royal Australian Navy until December 2023.

Price comparison website Moneysupermarket.com reported a rise in full-year profit on Thursday as solid performances from the home services and insurance businesses offset a weaker showing in the money segment.

Recruiters Hays posted a drop in first-half profit on Thursday as tough market conditions took their toll on its German business.

Instrument maker Spectris reported a rise in operating profit and ?175m special dividend, but said it was seeing less activity in China due to the coronavirus and anticipated "challenging" markets in the first half of the current year.

Lloyds Banking Group's underlying profit fell 7% last year as revenue declined amid what the bank described as challenging conditions.

Higher precious metals prices helped South America-focused miner Hochschild double annual profits.

Qatar Airways has upped its stake in British Airways and Iberia parent International Consolidated Airlines Group to 25.1% from 21.4%.

Metro Bank has made interim chief executive Dan Frumkin its permanent boss with the job of stabilising the lender after a year of turmoil.

Auto dealership Pendragon said on Wednesday that it has appointed industry veteran Bill Berman as its new chief executive officer with immediate effect.

First half earnings at BHP surged 29% on the back of higher iron ore prices as the dividend payout was tempered by short term caution over the coronavirus.

Glencore said on Tuesday that it swung to a net loss in 2019 as it took a hit from impairments, but results were ahead of expectations.

Guarantor loans lender Amigo Holdings, which put itself up for sale last month, said on Tuesday that it had received indications of interest from several parties.

Private rental home provider Grainger said it had agreed forward fund and acquire a 348-home build-to-rent development in Nottingham from Blocwork LLP for ?55.6m.

Jupiter Fund Management on Monday confirmed it had made a ?370m takeover offer for Merian Global Investors.

Bookmaker William Hill has appointed Adrian Marsh, the chief financial officer of packaging business DS Smith, as its new CFO.

Tullow Oil said on Monday that the Marina-1 exploration well, drilled off the coast of Peru, did not discover significant hydrocarbons.

Exploration and development firm Cairn Energy has made a new oil discovery on the Saasken prospect, located in the Sureste Basin, offshore Mexico.

Economic news

Manufacturing production grew at its strongest pace for 10 months in February to keep the economy expanding at a steady pace but businesses reported disruption from the coronavirus, a benchmark survey showed.

The sale of bags of coal and wet wood for domestic fires will be banned in England from February next year, the government said on Friday.

Retail sales rose more than expected in January as shoppers loosened their purse strings after the general election result reduced near-term uncertainty, official figures indicated.

Manufacturing activity continued to decline in the three months to February but the sector showed tentative signs of revival, according to the Confederation of British Industry.

Inflation rose faster than expected to a six-month high in January as petrol prices increased and airfares fell more slowly, official figures showed.

The UK government on Wednesday unveiled plans to close its borders to unskilled workers and non-English speakers as part of its new immigration policy.

The UK's accountancy regulator told companies to report the full extent of risks caused by coronavirus when announcing financial results as concerns mounted about the disease's effect on business and the global economy.

UK employment rose to a record high in the fourth quarter of 2019 but productivity growth remained weak, official figures showed.

Asking prices for UK houses rose 0.8% on the month in February, just ?40 shy of a new all-time high as a boom in buyer activity outstripped a rise in the number of new sellers, according to Rightmove.

Thousands of passengers were left stranded at Heathrow airport on Sunday after an IT glitch affecting departure boards and check-in systems caused flight cancellations and severe delays.

International events

A German court gave Tesla the green light to cut down trees to build its new European Gigafactory despite protests from environmental activists.

The ongoing outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus will see the first fall in air travel in more than 10 years, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

German consumer confidence looked set to be stagnant in March as investors mull the potential impact of the coronavirus, according to a survey released by market research group GfK on Thursday.

Money flows in China undershot economists' forecasts last month, pointing to a slower outlook for economic growth.

Rate-setters in Ankara decided to lower official interest rates on Wednesday, as expected.

Housing market activity in the States cooled at the start of January, but only a tad.

Jeff Bezos has committed to donating $10.0bn to fund the fight against climate change after employees from Amazon urged him to address the issue.

Economic activity in the New York state area started 2020 on a more solid footing, according to the results of a closely-followed survey of factory sector conditions.

Dubai's DP World, one of the largest port operators around the globe, announced on Monday that it is delisting from the Nasdaq and returning to private ownership.

China has attempted to restrict access to the uncensored global internet and tightening security on domestic reports to control the coverage of the coronavirus.

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