08.19 Hopes a deal on the US debt ceiling is close at hand have sent the FTSE 100 higher this morning, with the benchmark index up some 40 points, or 0.6pc, at 6,548. Jonathan Sudaria, a dealer at Capital Spreads, said:
The last couple of weeks have seen bulls stopped out of their longs as the icy relationship between the warring sides ground markets lower, but the sudden the u-turn in sentiment has seen the bears blindsided as markets challenge their annual highs.
It’s telling of how dysfunctional markets have been of late when the best performers would have been those who were paralysed by the severity of the situation into doing nothing. Although a world does exist outside the US and the media has reported on it, markets have barley registered any of it. Until the impasse in the US is resolved, all domestic financial issues will have to take a back seat and be filed away somewhere for review later.
Burberry share price slumps 6pc on news of Ahrendts departure
08.10 Shareholders are not taking the news well. The share price in the luxury goods retailer has tumbled 5.89pc on market open.
Royal Mail shares open up on first day of unconditional trading
08.05 Today is the Royal Mail’s official stock market debut after two days of conditional trading.
After closing at 475p yesterday, the postal service’s shares have edged up yet again. At last check they were trading at around 481p, a 46pc premium to the float price of 330p.
The rise of the housebuilders continues
08.00 Louise Armitstead rounds up this morning’s corporate news in the City Briefing. Bellway has reported a 10.6pc jump in full year revenues to £1.1bn and a 33.8pc rise in pre-tax profits to £140.9m. The group has credited the Government’s Help to Buy Scheme as having a “significant effect on the housing market.”
Elsewhere, Hargreaves Lansdown the broker whose systems buckled under fierce demand for Royal Mail shares on Friday, has reported first quarter revenues of £77.9m, up from £68.7m last year. The broker has added that the Royal Mail flotation has delivered a raft of new clients. It says it’s prevented from “disclosing the details of participation through Hargreaves Lansdown but suffice to say it was immense.” It has also apologised for the collapse of its website in Friday’s trading but says there was no financial impact.
Rio Tinto has announced stronger third quarter production results. Astra Zeneca has announced that MedImmune, its biologics research arm, has acquired Spirogen in a deal potentially worth $ 440m.
Biffa has bought Shanks’ UK solid waste business. And Tushar Morzaria starts today as finance director of Barclays, replacing Chris Lucas who stepped down early due to health reasons.
Senate upbeat on hitting a deal, but Republican House still unsure
07.35 Late last night we got more positive noises from opposing sides of the Senate, suggesting that a deal on the country’s looming debt ceiling could come as early as today.
Majority leader, the Democrat Harry Reid, said the pair had made “tremendous progress”, adding “tomorrow may be a bright day”. Mitch McConnell, his Republican counterpart, also said their progress had been “substantial”.
However, as the New York Times reports, the most conservative members of the House of Representatives could still present a barricade. One described the Republicans pushing for the deal as “the Senate surrender caucus”, adding that “anybody who would vote for that in the House as Republican would virtually guarantee a primary challenger.”
Burberry loses good apple
07.13 Burberry shares are likely to react badly to news that the luxury goods company’s chief executive, Angela Ahrendts, has been poached by Apple to become senior vice president of retail and online stores. Ahrendts became the highest-paid boss in the FTSE 100 this year and is credited with revitalising the fashion brand, tripling its value since she became boss in 2006.
Best of the rest
07.10 The Financial Times reports that Twitter is planning to mine data about its users to help sell advertising on other mobile apps or websites, as it tries to find new sources of revenue in the run up to its stock market debut.
Landowners and householders are being recruited by Greenpeace to set up fracking “no go” zones across the country, threatening to stop the shale gas industry in its tracks, reports The Times.
The Guardian reports that Alliance Boots, owner of the high street chemist brand, has been targeted by campaigners for its “aggrsesive” tax regime.
Labour MP Paul Blomfield is set to launch a campaign calling for the Government to take a hard line on high-cost credit to stop loan firms “exploiting” hard-up people, reports the Independent.
Our top stories
07.05 In Washington, Democrats and Republicans are edging closer to a deal as President Barack Obama postpones a meeting with Congressional leaders to give the Senate more time to thrash out agreement. Our US editor Katherine Rushton reports.
The Government is to throw its weight behind a series of major measures to cut European red-tape in order to aid growth for hundreds of thousands of British businesses, reports James Quinn. The Business Task force who put forward the cuts have also written an op-ed explaining their proposals.
Banking Editor Harry Wilson reoports that George Osborne will today announce changes that will make it cheaper and easier for Chinese investment banks to set up show in the City.
Sir Andrew Witty, chief executive of pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, has written an op-ed arguing that harnessing the research done in the UK’s universities is crucial to the success of British business in the global marketplace.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard writes that it could be time to take bets on France exiting the euro.
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.