After taking advice from Sussex Police, Cuadrilla is scaling back operations ahead of this weekend’s No Dash For Gas event.During this time, our main concern is the safety of our staff, Balcombe’s residents and the protesters following threats of direct action against the exploration site.
We will resume full operations as soon as it is safe to do so.
Protestors in Balcombe. Image: PA
Cuadrilla’s site. Image: Getty
08.02 The FTSE 100 has opened slightly down, falling 1.6 points at 6481.75. Miners are the biggest risers, with Fresnillo and Randgold Resources both up 3.2pc. The biggest fallers are RBS and Aviva, down 2.1pc and 1.5pc respectively.
07.45 Workers for some Gulf of Mexico oil and gas operators, including BP, were being evacuated from offshore facilities on Thursday as a low-pressure system threatened to strengthen into a cyclone but production was not interrupted, Reuters reports.
The US National Hurricane Center said a weather disturbance in the northwestern Caribbean Sea had become less organized overnight and had a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours, down from a 70 percent chance
07.30 Here’s the latest corporate news, courtesy of the City Briefing email.
In a relatively quiet day on the corporate calendar, mining group BHP Billiton has released further details into a corruption probe from US regulators. It says the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice have told BHP what issues they believe could lead to charges. The issues relate to perks Chinese firms supposedly gave BHP Billiton during its sponsorship of 2008’s Olympics, as well as the circumstances surrounding now-terminated exploration projects.
Elsewhere, engineering group Atkins has paid £2.6m to dispose of its lossmaking US construction management Peter Brown to Florida-based Moss & Associates, FTSE 100 software group Sage says its chief financial officer Paul Harrison has left the group. Future, the magazine publisher, has bought two technology titles in Australia.
In the eurozone, we have July’s inflation figures at 10am. As the European Central Bank said last week, there appears little risk of inflationary pressure dampering its own stimulus measures. Expectations are for annual inflation of 1.6pc. In New Zealand, an earthquake in Wellington has forced the national stock exchange to halt trading.
In the US, activist investor Carl Icahn’s court hearing on blocking a takeover of Dell from its founder is scheduled. Mr Icahn says the voting conditions around Michael Dell’s bid is unfair and wants to delay a vote on the takeover. Last night, Dell revealed a 72pc fall in profits.
07.15 The FTSE 100 looks set to open slightly lower on Friday. Index futures point to it falling 0.17pc.
Markets fell as upbeat economic data suggested the Fed could start tapering QE as soon as next month.
07.05 The fall in stock markets that began yesterday looks to be extended today, as Asian markets fell on Friday with the Nikkei down 0.7pc, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng sliding 0.3pc and markets in South Korean and Australia edging lower.
This is what lies behind the weakness, as Philip Aldrick reported:
Stock markets across the world slumped on Thursday and government borrowing costs soared after strong economic data from the US and the UK renewed fears that central banks would soon start withdrawing stimulus and move towards interest rate rises.
In Britain, an unexpectedly sharp rise in retail sales fuelled recovery hopes and prompted economists to raise their growth forecasts, while US unemployment claims fell to a six year low and inflation started to pick up.
Traders took the data as evidence of a broad recovery that would convince the US Federal Reserve to start slowing its quantitative easing (QE) programme in September and force the Bank of England to raise rates earlier than its current forecast of late 2016.
The FTSE 100 tumbled 1.6pc to 6,483.34, its lowest level since early July and its steepest one-day fall in almost two months on the prospect of an end to cheap money.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.4pc and the S&P 500 hit its lowest level in more than a month.
Germany’s DAX 30 dropped 0.73pc to 8,376.29, and the CAC 40 in Paris shed 0.51pc to 4,093.20.
07.00 Good morning and welcome to our daily business and markets live blog, your one stop shop for all the breaking business stories of the day.