FTSE 100 Live: EG Group property sale, CBI boss steps aside


US shares rise in first hour of trading

US shares continued a rebound that began last week, with all considerable indices up in the first hour of trading today.

The S&P 500 was up 0.6% to 4068.8, while the Dow Jones was up 0.4% to 33537.64 and the Nasdaq up 0.8% to 11786.13.

Among the biggest risers was Snapchat parent company Snap, with shares up 11.9% after the US House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to approve legislation that would grant the president the authority to ban TikTok.


More anxiety at Home REIT as two tenants enter liquidation

Two tenants providing accommodation for homeless and vulnerable people through beleaguered housing provider Home REIT maintain gone into liquidation.

Home REIT told investors on Monday that Midlands-based Lotus Sanctuary, which provides 939 beds for residents, predominantly women, and Gen Liv UK, which has 517 in the North West of England, were close to collapse.

The pair fabricate up a cumulative 18% of Home REIT’s annual rent roll.

The company said it has appointed FRP Advisory Trading Limited as liquidators, and that it was in talks with prospective tenants to catch on recent leases for the two portfolios.

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City comment: Hunt’s tinkering won’t steer the economy straight

Chancellors often seem to imagine themselves as captains of a mighty ship.

They stand at the bow, nudging the UK economy here and there, skilfully avoiding icebergs and prodding the ship faster forwards when the opportunity arises.

In reality, the course was set by predecessors and used events and they maintain very dinky wiggle room. The best they can hope is to create as much space as possible for themselves to finish gigantic things well.

That might fabricate them study like they are mostly doing nothing, so they tinker.

The Sunday Times reports that Jeremy Hunt is to push ahead with plans to slice research and development tax relief for small firms in the Budget. Maybe this is a marvelous conception, though it is hard to immediately see why.

How much does the Chancellor expect to save from this recede? About £215 million. From a Government spending pot of perhaps £900 billion.In other words, almost nothing.

It’s a footling measure, the best of which can be said for it is that it might not finish too much damage. It hardly makes a dissimilarity to Government finances.

Perhaps it frees up £200 million that Hunt can chuck at pet projects — recent cricket pitches at schools in south London. A bridge in Doncaster.These things are fine in themselves but they don’t lead to actual changes in the economy or in most people’s lives.

Perhaps the rule should be this: if the Chancellor’s exciting recent situation costs or saves less than £25 billion, it is waste of time. It’s a man on a ship mucking about because he knows the precise direction of travel is out of his control.


US futures stable ahead of Powell testimony this week

US shares are set to open this morning around where they closed on Friday, with futures for each of the considerable indices roughly stable.

Dow Jones futures are down by 24 points to 33390. S&P 500 futures are up by a single point to 4050.75. Nasdaq futures, meanwhile, are up by 18 points to 12331.25.

Telecoms business Lumen Technologies is among the biggest pre-mmarket movers, with its futures up by 1.3%.

US investors will be paying close attention to Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell’s testimony before congress later this week, which may provide insight into how hawkish the Fed will be in continuing to raise interest rates.


Billionaire Issa brothers’ EG Group sells $1.5 billion in property

The billionaire Issa brothers’ business EG Group has sold $1.5 billion worth of property in the US as the pair scramble to bring down the firm’s debt burden amid soaring interest rates.

EG Group, which runs hundreds of petrol stations in the UK as well as the Leon hasty food brand, said it had sold 415 store assets in the US to property company Realty Income, in a deal which will see it lease the assets back for a $103 million annual rental fee.

EG Group said the recede, which represents a sale of around 15% of its property empire, was section of its “commitment to reduce total net leverage through debt reduction and free cash flow generation.”

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CBI boss Tony Danker steps aside amid workplace misconduct probe

Confederation of British Industry (CBI) director-general Tony Danker has stepped aside as the trade body investigates claims of workplace misconduct.

The CBI – which speaks for more than 190,000 UK businesses – said it was made aware of an allegation regarding Danker’s conduct in January.

This, it said, “was investigated thoroughly and was dealt with comprehensively”, with the CBI ultimately determining that disciplinary action was not required.

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Currys alters remuneration policy after shareholder revolt

Currys has changed how it will award stock to directors, after a significant number of shareholders rejected its remuneration policy.

The retailer will now require top executives to hold shares for two years after leaving the business. Under the previous policy, they needed to hold shares for one year.

The change comes after Currys’ remuneration situation received approval from shareholders representing 65.9% of voting rights last year. While this was enough for the situation to be approved, Currys said at the time that it would engage with shareholders who voted against.


Building contractors struggle to fill 2023 order books

London’s biggest building contractors will be hoping measures to boost housing and address inflation concerns are announced in the March Budget, as research today laid bare how construction order books maintain been hammered by political and economic headwinds.

Two surveys published on Monday showed a tough outlook for construction in 2023, piling pressure on firms that are already grappling with difficulties such as activity shortages and high materials costs.

The closely-watched S&P Global/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index brought marvelous news about commercial construction – which grew at the fastest rate in nine months in February – but residential building declined for the third straight month.

Meanwhile a poll among London’s biggest building contractors found that 25% of their recent work for 2023 is still to be secured. A year earlier, companies only had 15% left to fill in their order books to meet targets.

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Aston Martin shares jump 20%, markets flat on global worries

Aston Martin Lagonda’s flying start to the year is continuing after the FTSE 250-listed shares jumped another 20%.

The stock is at its highest level since May after annual results last week provided a considerable boost to City confidence, with the promise of significant growth in profitability this year.

Despite today’s rise of 46.8p to 286.8p, the shares are still a far wail from the 1,900p seen during Aston Martin Lagonda’s £4.3 billion stock market debut in October 2018.

The car maker’s shares provided the standout performance during a session dominated by uncertainty over the outlook for China’s economy in 2023.

Aston Martin Lagonda’s flying start to the year is continuing

/ AP

Beijing’s uninspiring annual GDP target of 5% compared with expectations for 5.5%, putting pressure on oil prices and mining stocks as it suggested that officials are less likely to push stimulus into the economy.

Anglo American and Rio Tinto shares fell 3%, off 91.5p to 2951p and 181p to 5963p respectively, as the FTSE 100 index weakened 21.56 points to 7925.55.

The poor session also reflected a risk averse approach ahead of Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell’s testimony to Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday and the publication of the monthly non-farm payrolls report on Friday.

The events should aid Wall Street build a picture about the potential for further interest rate rises and the type of landing facing the US economy following the spike in inflation.

Other fallers in London included Ocado as the grocery technology business came under further selling pressure with a decline of 23.8p to 526.4p.

However, retail stocks were stronger as B&Q owner Kingfisher lifted 3p to 288.1p and Next cheered 52p to 6950p. B&M European Value Retail improved 2.5p to 491.4p after analysts at RBC raised their price target to 550p.

The FTSE 250 index was 7.66 points lower at 19,918.11, despite today’s bounce for Aston Martin shares and the latest boost for easyJet as shares added another 7.6p to 512.6p.


Snapchat removed very few underage accounts from its platform, report finds

Snapchat has barely removed any underage children from its platform in the UK, a report shared with media regulator Ofcom has found, raising concerns about its safeguarding efforts for younger users.

Just 700 suspected underage accounts were removed from Snapchat in the UK between April 2021 and April 2022, according to data filed with Ofcom seen by the Reuters news agency. That represents just 0.4% of the some 180,000 accounts removed by TikTok over the same period.

According to Ofcom, closely two-thirds of children under the age of 13 maintain at least one social media account, suggesting that many use a fake date of birth to bypass age restrictions.

A Snap spokesperson said the figures were from a leaked document and misrepresented the scale of work the company did to hold under-13s off its platform.

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