Portfolio

Rolls-Royce narrows losses, easyJet to cut flights and costs amid coronavirus

By Josh White

Date: Friday 28 Feb 2020

(Sharecast News) - London open

The FTSE 100 is expected to open 214 points lower on Friday, having closed down 3.49% at 6,796.40 on Thursday.
Stocks to watch

Aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce narrowed operating losses, but still took an exceptional charge of ?1.36bn on its troubled Trent 1000 engine. Reported group operating losses came in at ?852m from a loss of ?1.1bn a year earlier. Underlying operating profit rose 25% to ?808m after a strong fourth quarter.

EasyJet said it would cancel flights and introduce emergency cost cuts after the coronavirus outbreak caused a drop in demand for flights in and out of Italy and across Europe.

Meggitt has signed a contract with Bell Textron for an estimated value of $73m, it announced on Friday, to supply composite deicing propeller rotor blankets, heated spinners, fairings and pendulums to the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey helicopter. The FTSE 100 company said the contract would be valid for five years.

Newspaper round-up

The Gambling Commission is outpaced and outgunned by betting companies, according to a government report warning that the watchdog is struggling to protect people from gambling-related harm. The National Audit Office, which monitors the effectiveness of public bodies, said the regulator had not adjusted to technological change such as the rise of online and mobile gaming. It said funding constraints had hampered the commission, which has an annual budget of ?19m but regulates an industry that took ?11.3bn from punters last year. - Guardian

New cars sold in the UK produce more carbon dioxide than older models, according to new research that suggests the industry is going backwards in tackling the climate crisis. Cars that reach the latest standards of emissions use cleaner internal combustion engine technology to combat air pollution, but the relentless rise in demand for bigger, heavier models meant that average emissions of the greenhouse gas rose, according to the consumer group Which? - Guardian

Lord Rose of Monewden, chairman of online grocer Ocado, has scooped ?1.68m by selling shares in the company. The 70-year old Conservative peer, who became chairman in 2013, sold 150,000 of Ocado shares at ?11.24 per share. Last year he also pocketed ?7.4m by selling two separate batches of shares in two days. - Telegraph

Aidan Barclay hopes to seal a deal to sell the Ritz hotel by the summer - a move that could spark a fresh legal battle with his uncle Sir Frederick Barclay. Sources say the 114-year-old Ritz, a favourite watering hole of Sir Winston Churchill, the Aga Khan and J Paul Getty, will fetch between ?700 million and ?800 million, making it one of the most expensive hotels to change hands. However, the sale could deepen a rift with Aidan Barclay's uncle if the two disagree on the price secured for the trophy asset. - The Times

US close

US stocks recorded more losses on Thursday as major indices dipped into correction terror after the Wuhan coronavirus continued to spread and some more big names warned on guidance.

At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 were both down 4.42% at 25,766.64 and 2,978.76, respectively, while the Nasdaq Composite saw out the session 4.61% weaker at 8,566.48.

The Dow closed 1,190.95 points lower, its biggest one-day decline in history, after the benchmark index saw out the previous session in the red and the S&P 500 fell even further to continue its worst three-day run in four years.

The losses on Thursday saw the S&P 500 breach its 200-day moving average for the first time in nine months, while both the Dow and S&P 500 were on pace for their worst weekly performance since 2008.

The 10-year Treasury yield was also trading at a record low of 1.25%, while gold prices rose 0.25% to $1,645.04 per ounce amid concerns over the coronavirus outbreak spreading even further and after a Food and Drug Administration official said the coronavirus was on the cusp of being declared a pandemic.

South Korea announced another 169 cases, bringing its total to 1,146, while Italy said infections now totalled 325 and were being seen outside of the original epicentre in the country's north. China reported 406 new confirmed cases and a further 52 deaths.

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