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Weekly review

By Josh White

Date: Friday 25 Sep 2020

(Sharecast News) - The FTSE 100 ended the week down 164.38 points at 5,842.67.
Equity view

Pennon said it was on course to report first-half results in line with its own expectations after the Covid-19 crisis caused revenue to fall.

East Europe-focused Budget carrier Wizz Air on Friday said it now expected to operate at 50% of capacity in October year-on-year, as Covid-19 travel restrictions continued to hit operations.

A consortium of Germany's Allianz and life insurer Athora Holdings is reportedly in talks to buy the French operations of London-listed insurer Aviva.

Agricultural and food company Camellia reported on an "exceptionally challenging" first half on Friday, with its revenue slipping to £114.9m from £117.3m year-on-year.

Harvester and All Bar One owner Mitchells & Butlers said like-for-like sales had fallen 3.1% as it warned of a "challenging and uncertain" future after the UK government imposed new Covid-19 restrictions on the hospitality industry.

Smiths Group reinstated its dividend as the FTSE 100 engineer said business had stabilised after a sharp drop in annual profit.

United Utilities forecast lower profits for the half year as it felt the impact of lower revenue and slightly higher renewables spending.

Full-year underlying pre-tax profit at Pets at Home is set to be ahead of current market expectations of £73m as sales momentum returns across the business.

PZ Cussons said it had a good start to the current financial year but that it expected tougher trading with the UK and other markets in recession.

Relx said on Wednesday that Paul Walker will succeed Sir Anthony Habgood as chair.

Platinum Equity said on Wednesday that talks with the board of roadside assistance company and insurer AA have ended "by mutual agreement" and that it does not plan to make an offer for the business.

3i said results at its Action discount retail business beat expectations in the past three months as the private equity investor reported mixed trading at its other portfolio businesses.

Hotel and restaurant chain Whitbread said it was cutting 6,000 jobs after suffering a slump in trading due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Beazley said on Tuesday that Covid-19 claims are set to be twice what it previously expected, mainly due to event cancellation losses.

Kingfisher reported a "resilient" first half performance on Tuesday, with its sales falling 1.1% at constant currencies to £5.9bn, reflecting the impact of Covid-19 in the first quarter, partially offset by a "strong" recovery in the second quarter.

Euromoney said on Tuesday that pre-tax profit for the year to the end of September 2020 is set to be ahead of consensus expectations, thanks to strong cost management and a robust subscriptions performance.

Security services firm G4S said on Monday that its revenues have remained "resilient" for the first eight months of the year following a strong performance in the first half of 2020.

Energy and services group DCC said it had expanded its liquefied petroleum gas interests with two acquisitions worth £60m.

The Department for Transport confirmed extensions to the emergency measures on a number of rail franchises on Monday, protecting operators from continued depressed passenger demand as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca issued updates on the status of several drug candidates early on Monday.

Economic news

The government borrowed £35.9bn in August - the third highest monthly figure on record - as tax revenue fell and the government spent to deal with the economic effects of the Covid-19 crisis.

UK car production almost halved in August, official figures showed as the coronavirus pandemic and seasonal factory shutdowns took their toll.

UK retail sales rose at their fastest pace for 18 months in September as household items boomed and demand for clothing slumped, a Confederation of British Industry survey showed.

S&P Global has cut its economic forecasts for the UK, predicting a 10% slide this year before conditions start to improve in 2021.

JP Morgan will become one of Germany's biggest banks when it moves about €200bn (£184bn) of assets from the UK to Frankfurt because of Brexit, Bloomberg reported.

The UK's post-lockdown recovery lost momentum in September, according to figures released on Wednesday.

UK insurance companies will be forced to stop ripping off loyal customers and offer premiums at the same rate as new clients under changes proposed by the regulator.

The manufacturing sector's nascent recovery appeared to slow in September, after order books stalled for the first time since April, an industry survey showed on Tuesday.

UK firms have returned more than £215m of cash claimed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the government said on Monday.

The UK is on track for more than 200 Covid-19 deaths a day by mid-November unless urgent action is taken to stem the spread of the disease, the government's scientific advisers said.

International events

Durable goods orders in the US came in slightly below forecasts last month, even as those for core capital goods strengthened.

The World Health Organization gave China its blessing to start administering experimental coronavirus vaccines to people while clinical trials were still underway, a Chinese National Health Commission official said on Friday.

German business sentiment continued to improve in September but the recovery is slowing, according to a survey released by the Ifo Institute on Thursday.

The pace of improvement in US jobless claims slowed last week, government data showed on Thursday, as America's labour market looked to have stalled.

Eurozone business activity stalled in September as manufacturing growth was offset by weaker demand for services caused by rising Covid-19 infections and social distancing measures.

US consumer health and drugs giant Johnson & Johnson has launched the last phase of clinical trials for its Covid-19 vaccine.

Huawei claimed on Wednesday that Qualcomm had applied for a US government license to sell its chips to the Chinese tech giant.

Europe's top court on Tuesday backed European cities' crackdown on short-term home rentals in a move to solve the housing crunch.

The US government is set to impose sanctions on over two dozen people and entities involved in Iran's nuclear, ballistic missile and arms programmes as early as Monday.

Libyan oil production and exports from the east of the country are set to restart following a conditional lifting of the blockade imposed by the Libyan National Army under the command of Khalifa Haftar.


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