Authorization

Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

Markets spent mocu hof the day listless as investors play wait-and-see with European Central Bank decision on Thursday
Unemployment falls to lowest since 1974 and wages grow against expectations
Europeopens downbeat,Asian markets mixed with falls in China
Chinas producer price index fell atsharpest rate since August 2016
Matthew Lynn: Who is to blame for the grounded flights BA or the pilots union?
5:02PM
Wrap-up: Stocks find some energy after a slow day, bankers outperform, JD stays on its feet
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

JD Sports revealed another solid set of results

Credit:
Neil Hall/REUTERS
Time for me to wrap up here: the FTSE 100 found a little life at the end of the day, closing fairly solidly up.
Though JD Sports was the days stand-out performer, the heavy lifting came from Lloyds and Barclays, who have burst into (possibly) post-PPI life with a bang.
Tomorrow is likely to see stimulus fever crank up as investors look ahead to the European Central Banks meeting on Thursday. Its a quieter day on the corporate and economic fronts for the UK, though the sword of Damocles (i.e., an actual Brexit development),hangs over us as ever.
Thank you to everyone who has followed along or commented today. Jon me again tomorrow for the latest news on business, markets and economics. Oh, and remember: were still live-blogging the iPhone launch here (less than an hour left until announcement time).
4:44PM
European markets close up
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

Credit:
Bloomberg TV
European markets are now closed. It looks like a late rally was enough to lift things broadly positive after a flat day. Sterling and the FTSE 100 both closed up, a fairly rare occurrence given recent turbulence.
4:09PM
Round-up: IP pins portfolio drop on Woodford, mega mortgages make a comeback, modular smartwatch startup collapses
Here are some of the top stories from this afternoon as we head towards the close of London markets.
IP Group blames portfolio squeeze on Woodford woes: IP Group blamed the crisis engulfing veteran fund manager Neil Woodford for a sluggish first half of the year.
Bumper mortgages are back as low deposit loans hit highest level since the credit crunch:Homebuyers are stepping onto the housing ladder withever-smaller depositsas the bumper mortgages popular in the years before the credit crunch regaina bigger foothold in the market.
London start-up behind worlds first modular smartwatch collapses: A London start-up developing the worlds first modular smartwatchhas collapsed into liquidation owingcreditors nearly ?3m.
3:55PM
Markets shift into more positive territory
The overall state ofEuropean equity indices has shifted positive, though the it is barely a climb overall asItaly weighs.
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

Credit:
Bloomberg TV
US markets are pretty solidly in the red overall, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq falling the furthest at 0.7pc down.
Spreadexs Connor Campbell said:

It wasnt the most inspiring session, caught between the UKs political drama of the last few days, last nights disappointing Chinese data and Thursdays potentially rate cutting ECB meeting.
Overcoming a downbeat start, the European indices managed to eke out some growth on Tuesday afternoon...
...They managed to do this despite the losses incurred by the Dow Jones after the bell rang on Wall Street. Presumably digesting the same worrying Chinese factory readings that impacted the European open, the Dow shed around 100 points, forcing it away from the month and a half highs struck at the end of last week.
3:41PM
Germany resists calls for spending spree
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) andfinance minister Olaf Scholz

Credit:
CLEMENS BILAN/EPA-EFE/REX
Germanys DAX index is up around 0.4pc currently, improving on a flat picture earlier in the day. Investors holding their breath for a major stimulus into the countrys shaky economy may be shifting positions following comment by finance minister Olaf Scholz earlier today. Economics correspondent Tom Rees writes:

Olaf Scholz insisted he would present an expansionary budget to address the great challenges facing the ailing industrial powerhouse.
However, he refused to increase debt and ditch the governments so-called black zero policy despite pledging a great deal of investment.
Angela Merkels administration has been urged by German industry and economists to scrap the pledge to balance the books and pump much-needed investment into its economy.
German GDP
You can read his full report here:Berlin vows to balance the books as government resists spending spree calls
3:18PM
Lenders underpin off-colour FTSE 100
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

The PPI scandal has cost banks more than ?50bn

Credit:
Daniel Borg/Moment RF
Investor hopes that the pain of PPI has passed lit a fire under major lenders stocks today, with Barclays and Lloyds adding the biggest boost to the FTSE 100.
Both banks announced their final repayments provisions for mis-selling PPI on Monday, with Lloyds setting side up to ?1.8bn, and Barclays up to ?1.6bn.
The figures based on a rush of complaints in the days leading up to the deadline at the end of last month tipped the grand total of PPI payments over ?50bn.
PPI | Post-deadline fallout
The scandal has been a weight on the backs of UK banks for decades, with a legal ruling in 2011 opening the floodgates for customerswho were sold the service incorrectly to directly demand compensation.
Lloyds has been the worst-hit by the fallout, with its totally compensation provisions topping ?20bn equivalent to more than half its current market capitalisation.
UK banking's PPI roll of dishonour
Barclays is up around 5.6pc currently, putting it on track for its biggest one-day gain since 2012. Lloyds frequently cited as the UKs most-traded stock is up just under 4pc.
Jefferies analysts said the big hit to Barclays was a moment for cleansing the Augean stables, adding:

On the prospectively large PPI top up, the Q3 charge should hopefully be the final charge and bring resolution to a years-long industry phenomenon that became grotesque.

They said from the next quarter, the bank would be able to focus on developing its dividend and improving its core capital ratio.
2:44PM
Mid-cap movers: Cairn Energy rises, IP Group slips
On the FTSE 250, Cairn Energy is the biggest riser, up nearly 11pc currently after revealing it swung back to a profit during the first half of the year.
The Scottish energy firm moved from a $603.9m loss to a $43.2m profit, as it shook off considerable impairment costs that had devastated its balance sheet.
Chief executive Simon Thomson said:

As a full-cycle E&P business Cairn has seen good progress in the first half of 2019 with the opportunity to develop and deliver multiple catalysts for future growth.
The biggest faller on the mid-cap index is tech investment company IP Group, which announced its net asset value per share with goodwill and intangibles stripped fell to 110.6p from 121.1plast year.
The company said it was making good progress in spite of the drop, saying it was nearing a point of self-sustainability.
IP Group shares are down more than 10pc currently, in yet another blow to Neil Woodford, its second-largest investor.
2:05PM
Round-up: China feels pig pressure, inside Jack Mas Alibaba ascendancy, what Corbyn means for investors, plus: iPhone launch live blog
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

What would a Corbyn-led government mean for investors?

Credit:
BEN STANSALL/AFP
Its just past 2pm, the sterling is the bright side of flat, the FTSE is narrowly down and Wall Street, set to open in about half an hour, is set for a slight fall based on futures trading. Heres what you should be reading:
Chinese factories struggle as African swine fever sends pig prices skyrocketing:Chinese factory prices tumbled at their fastest pace in three years in August, stoking hopes of more government action as demand for goods is squeezed by the trade war with the US.
How Jack Ma turned Alibaba into Chinas online juggernaut despite knowing nothing about technology: Sophie Smith takes a deep dive into the career of the Chinese tech titan.
What would Corbyn in power mean for savings and mortgage rates?: What would a Corbyn administration mean for the pound in your pocket?Telegraph Moneylooks at how savings and mortgage rates could be affected by a shift in power.
PLUS: The Telegraphs eager tech team have launched a live blog of the latest iPhone launch, a few hours ahead of the event.
You can following all the latest here:iPhone 11 launch live updates and latest news as Apple reveals its new smartphone
Apple boss Tim Cook will take to the stage at 6pm.
iPhone 11 launch | Latest news
1:30PM
JP Morgan: Johnson resignation most likely outcome from Brexit crisis
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

Could Boris Johnsons premiership meet a swift end?

Credit:
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/ AFP
As analysts continue to speculate about the UKs political path forward, JP Morgan analyst Malcolm Barr thinks Boris Johnson will resign rather than buckle over a no-deal Brexit. Reuters reports:

Of the three main options facings British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the most likely is that he resigns to let someone else make a request to the European Union to delay Brexit, JP Morgan said on Tuesday.
The only options we regard as ultimately viable are for the PM to present a deal to the (House of) Commons and secure approval for it, resign and let someone else make the extension request as PM, or back away from his stated position,JP Morgans Malcolm Barr said in a note to clients.
At this point, our view is that resignation is the most likely of these three,Barr said.
How likely is a no deal Brexit in 2019?
12:52PM
NIESR: Turning point may be approaching for UK jobs market
TheNational Institute of Economic and Social Researchhas released its full reactionto this mornings jobs figures. It says further pick-up is unlikely and has warned over the potential impact of Brexit. It says:

With unemployment remaining at a multi-decade low of 3.8pc in the three months to July, the labour market continues to be tight, but more evidence is emerging to suggest it may be reaching a turning point
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

NIESRs predictions for how the economy will fare

Credit:
NIESR
Looking at data gathered for August so far, the research group suggests uncertainty over the fragile economic outlook may push placements down slightly when new figures are released.
NIESR economistDr Arno Hantzsche said:

Todays labour market data were again strong but more timely signals show that a turning point may soon be reached as Brexit and global uncertainties increasingly weigh on hiring. Whole-economy earnings growth has become more reliant on services sectors whose output continues to be in strong demand and on hiring and pay decisions in the public sector.
12:30PM
Full report: Jobs markets finds yet more ground despite fears of a slowdown
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

Construction workers' pay is rising particularly rapidly as the industry struggles to find all of the staff it needs

Credit:
Jane Barlow/PA
With sterling flat and the FTSE 100 slightly down, it looks like this mornings job report has done little to shift market sentiment. Deputy economics editor Tim Wallace has a full report on the number. He writes:

The jobs marketdefied fears of a recessionover the summer, adding another 31,000 jobs in the three months to July to send unemployment back down to a 45-year low of 3.8pc, the Office for National Statistics said.
It means consumers have the ammunition to keep supporting the economy as real pay is rising rapidly and is almost back to pre-crisis levels after a decade-long crunch.
You can read his full report here:Jobs market defies recession fears as pay growth hits 11-year high
12:19PM
What an iPhone flop would mean for Apples supply chains
Expectations are mixed ahead of todays new iPhone launch. People arent anticipating any big surprises, with incremental changes likely to be the order of the year... again.
The companys increasing challenge in differentiating its new handsets from their forerunners has proved to be a liability, with customers choosing to hold out longer for upgrades. My colleague Matthew Field writes:

Whether it is a hit with consumers or a flop will have wide-ranging repercussions for Apple, the world's second biggest company worth $968bn. But it is not just Apple's own success that rests on the iPhone's fortunes.
From the miners who dig rare earth metals out of underground mines to workers at hundredsofcomponent manufacturersin 45countriesfrom the US to South Korea, the billions of dollars in sales and profits earned by Apple fromthe 200 million plus iPhones it sellseach year have a far wider influence.

Hes taken a look at the complex, ultra-globalised path an iPhone takes to end up in someones hands. You can read Matts full report here:Why a flop for the new iPhone 11 would be a disaster for nearly 50 countries that depend on Apple
All around the world: the iPhone's global supply chain
11:58AM
Speaking of Trump...
....heres my article on the Volfefe Index, a system created by JP Morgan analysts to measure how much the US Presidents Tweets rattle markets:
The Volfefe Index aims to track just how Donald Trumps tweets move markets
Heres a reminder of two of his greatest hits from last month:
How Trump's tweets have knocked the S&P 500
How Trump's tweets have knocked the S&P 500
11:54AM
Margrethe Vestager to keep role as EU competition chief
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

Margrethe Vestager has been hailed as a scourge of Silicon Valley
In a move that is likely to draw the ire of Silicon Valley bosses and Donald Trump, EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager is set to keep her role as part of the new European Commission line-up.
In a surprise decision, Ms Vestager will keep her role while also becoming an executive vice-president within the new leadership team, led by Ursula von der Leyen,
The Danish politician has made a name for herself internationally by taking on tech giant, including levying record fines against Google for manipulating search results.
Heres more on her relationship with Mr Trump:
Donald Trump attacks top EU tech watchdog for hating America
11:27AM
Citigroup: Price of gold could top $2,000 an ounce next year
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

An ounce of gold currently trade for around $1,500

Credit:
Gold Council/Bloomberg News
Gold prices have rallied strong in recent weeks, driven by market uncertainty that has pushed traders towards assets perceived as safe from an economic storm.
The price of an ounce of gold is currently just over $1,500 having hit a six-year high last month.Citigroup analysts say an economic slowdown could push it to even-greater levels, predicting it could top $2,000 an ounce.
We expect spot gold prices to trade stronger for longer, possibly breaching $2,000 an ounce and posting new cyclical highs at some point in the next year or two, analysts said.
That would beatthe current record of $1,921.17, which was reachedin 2011.
10:57AM
Employment minister: Jobs data shows UK in great shape for Brexit
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

Mims Davies is the UK employment minister

Credit:
Chris McAndrew / UK Parliament
Responding to this mornings jobs data, employment minister Mims Davies MP said:

Wages are consistently rising faster than inflation now for over a year-and-a-half meaning were seeing a sustained boost in pay, supporting consumer confidence and giving a vital lift to millions of households who gain from greater financial security.
This joint record employment rate and decades-low unemployment shows our labour market is booming. Its especially pleasing to see continued record female employment at 72.1pc, signalling the great strides weve made in empowering women in the workplace, whatever their background.
There is still more to do. But todays positive figures again show a thriving, diverse and resilient labour market to be proud of, and we are in great shape for Brexit on 31 October.

Heres how UK unemployment looked compared to the rest of the continent, based on figures from May:
Unemployment rate in the EU
10:49AM
Sterling mixed as big picture uncertainty comes back into focus
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

Boris Johnson has been repeatedly defeated in Parliament over the past week and a half

Credit:
Charles McQuillan/Getty Images Europe
The pound is currently slightly up against the euro, but down against the dollar, reflecting mixed feelings coming out of Britain and the eurozone.
UBS economist Dean Turner says:

In our view, the governments failure to engineer an election prior to proroguing parliament further reduces the risk of a no-deal Brexit on October 31. Mr Johnson no doubt has a few more rabbits to pull out of the hat, though, so we can continue to expect the unexpected.
Nevertheless, we now expect the focus for the government to shift to trying to secure a deal, which now seems the most likely way foritto achieve its ambition of leaving the EU before the end of October. However, we currently think it is more likely that Brexit is delayed beyond October and a general election is held before the end of the year.
In the meantime, the fading likelihood of a no-deal Brexit at the end of October should continue to support sterling. Any progress towards securing a deal with the EU could see the pound strengthen to around 1.30 against the US dollar. If a deal is brokered and agreed by parliament, it could move even higher.
The current state of the House of Commons
Looking at the broader picture,Thursdays European Central Bank meeting is likely to produce the biggest shift on the markets. A slew of policymakers have attempted to pour cold water on the ECBs planned approach.
Saxo Banks John Hardy says the meeting is a likely key test for whether the markets recent risk sentiment rebound has sufficient legs to persist or whether it has been built on misplaced confidence that central bank easing from the ECB and elsewhere can boost global asset prices.
10:21AM
Round-up: JD takes shot at landlords, will the new Land Rover Defender rescue JLR, and Harry de Quettevilles predictions for the new iPhone
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

Apple will unveil its latest iPhone later today

Credit:
JOSH EDELSON/AFP
Here are three things you should read this morning:
JD Sports takes potshot at landlords by demanding fairness for all retailers:JD Sports launched a broadside at landlords by demanding fairness and flexibilityfor leases as it posted a jump in sales.
The new Land Rover Defender: a 4x4 to save JLR or just a marketing gimmick?: Industry editor Alan Tovey takes a deep-dive look at JLRs big bet.
Apples iPhone 11 won't knock your socks off heres why that doesnt matter:If you want to get a sneak preview of tomorrowsiPhone launch, then you dont have to wait, agog, for CEO Tim Cooks big reveal, writes Harry de Quetteville.
10:14AM
Reaction: Jobs boom is running out of headroom
Heres some of the reaction to this mornings employment figures.
Pawel Adrjan, economist at jobs site Indeed, said:

The labour market is finally running out of headroom. With Britains jobs boom slipping into the rear view mirror, the number of new jobs being created has slowed substantially; just 31,000 over the past quarter, a number so small it is within the statistical margin of error.
But this is not yet a decline more a pause for breath. Both the employment and the unemployment rates are holding steady, which is a significant achievement against the backdrop of a stagnant economy and risk-averse employers who are growing increasingly reluctant to hire.
Employment rates where you live. UK regional employment still in that "three tier" pattern with the South & the East out front & N. Ireland & N. East over 7% lower depending on comparison. pic.twitter.com/SvVY8qlWin Rupert Seggins (@Rupert_Seggins) September 10, 2019
Tej Parikh, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, said:

As so many people have entered work, there has been an uplift to household incomes which has helped to keep consumers ticking. For a long time, businesses have been eager to expand their workforce despite difficult economic conditions. With the supply of available workers shrinking and uncertainty lingering, firms are now beginning to dial down their recruitment ambitions.
First reaction from @ArnoHan "Earnings growth in the 3 months to July stronger than expected as bonus payments in private sector surprised to the upside amidst a tight #labourmarket & robust public sector pay growth contributed to higher wages in the economy as a whole" More soon https://t.co/N2M8KdgAN2 NIESR (@NIESRorg) September 10, 2019
Pantheon Macroeconomics Samuel Tombs said there are signs of stagflation in the market:

Brexit uncertainty undoubtedly has sapped firms enthusiasm for hiring new workers, but sharply rising unit labour costs also are playing a role. The pick-up in the headline rate of wage growth to the symbolic 4pc levelthe highest rate since 2008has not been accompanied byanyimprovement in productivity, which still is flatlining.
Real earnings (in other words adjusting for inflation) are now rising at the fastest rate since before the EU referendum. Up by 2.1% in the past year pic.twitter.com/8eKPCFuHSt Ed Conway (@EdConwaySky) September 10, 2019
9:53AM
Average pay hits ?470 per week, still below pre-recession peak
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

Construction sector wages increased at the highest rates

Credit:
Paul Thomas/Bloomberg News
Earnings for UKworkers are, on average, still lower than before the recession a decade ago.
The ONS said:

For July 2019, average regular pay, before tax and other deductions, for employees in Great Britain was estimated at:
?507 per week in nominal terms
?470 per week in real terms (constant 2015 prices), higher than the estimate for a year earlier (?461 per week), but ?3 (0.7pc) lower than the pre-recession peak of ?473 per week for April 2008
The equivalent figures for total pay in real terms are ?502 per week in July 2019 and ?525 in February 2008, a 4.3pcdifference.
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

Credit:
ONS
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

Credit:
ONS
The biggest wage growth was in the construction sector, where earnings rose 6.2pc, followed by finance and business services on 5.3pc. Manufacturing had the lowest growth, at 2.4pc. The ONS said:

In terms of regular pay, the construction sector was the highest-paid sector (?621), followed by the finance and business services sector (?612) and the manufacturing sector (?588). The reversal of the highest-paying position between total and regular pay shows the effect that bonus payments have on pay in the finance and business services sector. As with total pay, the least-paid sector was the wholesaling, retailing, hotels and restaurants sector (?342).
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

Credit:
ONS
9:40AM
Snap take: Unemployment hits joint record low, jobs added disappoints
Surprises across the board there. Though unemployment fell and employment has re-hit a record high, the number of jobs added was even worse than feared.
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

Credit:
ONS
Wage growth figures are likely to be welcomed especially as the British consumer has done much to underpin recent growth. The figure of 4pc month-on-month (including bonuses) is the best in over a decade.
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

Credit:
ONS
The Office for National Statistics says:
The estimated employment rate for everyone was estimated at 76.1%; this is the joint-highest on record since comparable records began in 1971 and 0.6 percentage points higher on the year
Theunemployment rate was estimated at 3.8%; this is lower than a year earlier (4.0%) and unchanged on the quarter.
The economic inactivity rate was estimated at 20.8%; this is lower than a year earlier (21.2%) and unchanged on the quarter.
The employment rate for women hit a record high:
The estimated employment rate for men was 80.2pc; this is up 0.1 percentage points on the year but down 0.1 percentage points on the quarter
The estimated employment rate for women was 72.1pc; this is the joint-highest since comparable records began in 1971 and 1.1 percentage points higher on the year
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

Credit:
ONS
9:31AM
BREAK: Unemployment falls, earnings rise
UK jobs figures for Julyare out:
Unemployment hit 3.8pc, down from 3.9pc
Wage growth was 4pc, up from 3.7pc
Only 31,000 jobs were added in July, down from 115,000in June
For May to July 2019, 76.1% of people aged 16 to 64 were in paid work, a joint-record high https://t.co/EQJQBJUUG7 pic.twitter.com/BYLLTS1zzj Office for National Statistics (@ONS) September 10, 2019
9:26AM
Pound dips slightly as Commons closes down
The Commons was officially prorogued in the wee hours of this morning, after Boris Johnsons General Election bid was quashed in his sixth defeat in six days.
Sterling is down just slightly this morning, as traders bed down for what could be a long period of waiting out the news. With MPs more or less out of action, we may not now exactly where we stand on Brexit until late October unless there is a breakthrough before then.
Political correspondent Harry Yorke has the details on what could happens in politics over the coming weeks.
You can follow the latest political updates with Danielle Sheridan here: Brexit latest news: Harriet Harman vows to ensure 'Parliament will have its say' on Brexit as she confirms intention to stand as Speaker
9:19AM
Bovis and Galliford re-fire takeover talks
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

Bovis shares have risen since it rejected previous takeover bids

Credit:
Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
Merger fever is back among the UKs mid-cap housebuilders, as Bovis Homes re-sparks a ?1bn bid for rival Galliford Try.
Talks had previously collapsed in May. My colleague Laura Onita reports:

In May, Galliford rejected a bid from Bovissaying it was not in the interest of all shareholders.
Although most of the terms have been agreed,Graham Prothero, the boss of Galliford, said: Much remains to be done before we can present the detailed proposal to our shareholders and wider stakeholders.
The companies are confident a tie-up would create significantcost and savings benefits and substantialvalue for shareholders. They insisted, however, the move was not a merger.
You can read her full report here: Bovis and Galliford Try restart ?1bn housing merger
Galliford shares are up around 14.5pc, while Bovis is down just under 5pc.
Markets.coms Neil Wilson says:

Sowhats changed? ?300m in cash has sweetened the deal for Galliford it appears, with the previous offer having made up entirely of new Bovis shares.

He adds:

It marks a big shift from when the embattled Bovis (contractor problems and build quality issues) faced down a takeover bid from Galliford.Shares in Bovis have risen over 20% since those opportunistic offers from Galliford and Redrow were rebuffed.And for Bovis CEO Greg Fitzgerald, itmarks something of a coming home after 30-odd years at Galliford.
The big question for us now is whether this marks the start of a deal frenzy for housebuilders. On that front I would not be too quick to assume others will follow. Whilst there may be singular reasons to combine businesses,generally speaking thereare limited synergiesfrom combining operations.Economies of scale dont really exist in the same way as they do for many other businesses.
9:07AM
888 Holdings leads All-Share fallers as profits fold
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

888 runs a variety of online gambling sites

Credit:
Leon Neal/AFP
Across the whole FTSE All-Share, todays current biggest faller is 888 Holdings, which operates a slew of online gambling and casino sites.
The companys profit before tax dropped dramatically in the first half of the year, at $22.2m compared to $60.1m in the same period last year. Average daily revenue rose 6pc compared to the year before.
Boss Itai Pazner said the companys board continues to believe that 888 is very well positioned for the future as a result of the groups diversification.
Peel Hunt said the company was responding well to regulatory pressure, writing:

The highlight of todays interims statement is the 23pcLFL growth in UK revenue. In the face of regulatory pressure, 888 has changed the product and marketing focus of its UK business, restored it to healthy growth and demonstrated the strength of its platform. Overall numbers were in line and we are not changing forecasts today but there is plenty about which to be optimistic.

Goodbody analysts maintained a buy rating on a belief that the company may soon see merger activity, but notedweakness in parts of its operations.
8:54AM
Shares stumble at equipment lender Ashtead despite growth
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

Ashtead lends equipment to construction firms

Credit:
Jason Alden/Bloomberg
Also reporting on the FTSE 100 today is Ashtead, which has a tough challenge on its hands to meet last years strong results.
The equipment rental firm reported first quarter revenue growth of 17pc,and increased its operating profit for the three months to the end of JUly to ?358, from ?305m the year before.
The company, which makes 90pc of its sales in the US, was being watched for signs that it may be feeling the impact of a global economic slowdown.
Brendan Horgan, its chief executive, said:

Our North American end markets remain strong and we continue to execute well on our strategy of organic growth supplemented by targeted bolt-on acquisitions...
...We remain focused on responsible growth. Our increasing scale and strong margins are delivering good earnings growth and significant free cash flow generation.
Business Briefing Newsletter REFERRAL (Article)
The results received a mixed review from RBC analysts, who wrote the companys current valualtion suggests the market is continuing to discount an impending downturn. They added:
However (and in line with management commentary), we maintain our stance that the business is in a much better place than in 2006and that the market is underestimating the benefits of its diversificationand the degree of structural change (which will continue through the cycle).

The company is one of the biggest fallers on the blue-chip index this morning, currently off 2.3pc.
8:41AM
Economic spotlight: Jobs data
In just under an hour, well get the latest figures on UK unemployment and wage growth, which is likely to show both remaining flat, at 3.9pc and 3.7pc respectively.
Wages and unemployment
Economics correspondent Tom Rees says:

While growth has stuttered, the labour market remains buoyant. Unemployment is expected to hold at a 44-year low, but wage growth could cool.

The actual number of jobs added might been more of a dark spot, with analysts polled by Bloomberg expecting a figure of 55,000 in July, down from Junes number of 115,000.
Yesterday, GDP figures surprised to the upside, with the UK posting growth of 0.3pc during July.
How the UK avoided recession just
Heres economics editor Russell Lynchs full report on those figures:
Odds of a UK recession slump to one in 10 after July growth spurt
8:30AM
Downbeat open for European markets
European markets have slipped slightly at open, with the FTSE feeling the biggest slide despite a steady sterling.
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

Credit:
Bloomberg TV
JD Sports is leading risers on the FTSE 100 straight out of the gate.
8:04AM
JD half-year performance nothing short of stellar
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

JD Sports has outperformed struggling sector rivals

Credit:
SOPA Images
JD Sports reported a 47pc rise in revenue and 6.6pc increase in profit for the first half of the year, continuing a strong run of growth for the sportswear retailer.
The FTSE 100 company, which has outperformed many of its retail rivals despite gloom on the high street, said it had experienced growth of more than 10pcd in its core UK and Irish operations.
The company said it had opened 36 stores across Europe, Asia Pacific and the US during the period, lifting it to new record earnings.
The company said it expected to land in the middle of its predictions for the full year.
Peter Cowgill, its executive chairman, said:

Notwithstanding the ongoing uncertainty with regards to Brexit, the Board is confident that, without the impact from the transition to IFRS 16, the Group would have been on track to deliver headline profit before tax for the full year at the top end of market expectations which currently range from ?402 million to ?424 million. However, after adjusting for the impact of the transition to IFRS 16, we would expect to deliver results at the mid-point of expectations. We remain encouraged by our prospects for further growth."

Peel Hunt analysts said:

JDs performance in H1 is nothing short of stellar, especially in the core UK market, and the (underlying) upgrade is material today (4%). JDs attractiveness to shoppers and suppliers (and investors) is at an all-time high and we see little chance of this changing, as its obsession with customer data and marketing wavelengths is keener than ever, regardless of territory.
7:31AM
Slowdown fears
China's producer price index (PPI) an important barometer of the industrial sector that measures the cost of goods at the factory gate dropped 0.8pc on-year in August, following a 0.3pc drop in July, reports AFP.
A slowdown in factory gate inflation reflects sluggish demand, while a turn to deflation could dent corporate profits and drag on the world's number two economy, which in turn could lead to a drop in prices globally.
Last month was the first time the PPI had fallen into negative territory since August 2016.
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

The cost of factory goods in China has declined
Petroleum and natural gas mining, and coal and other fuel-processing sectors led the drop, National Bureau of Statistics official Shen Yun said in a statement, indicating weakness in manufacturing.
However, consumer price index (CPI) - a gauge of retail inflation rose 2.8pc last month, stabilising from July and beating forecasts.
7:28AM
Chinese factory prices fall
Most Asian stocks swung lower on Tuesday, weighed by Chinese markets after data showed mainland factory prices shrinking at their fastest pace in three years while reports of German stimulus plans pushed global bond prices down.
China's producer price index fell 0.8pcin August year-on-year, official data showed on Tuesday, its sharpest decline since August 2016 as flagging demand at home and abroad forced some businesses to slash prices.
The data pushed blue chip shares in China down 0.76pc, which in turn drove an index of Asian stocks outside of Japan 0.3pclower, having traded flat earlier in the session.
USstock futures were down 0.08pcin Asia after the S&P 500 ended flat in New York on Monday. Australian shares were down 0.49pc. Bucking the trend, Japan's Nikkei stock index rose 0.35pc.
Hong Kong shares were slightly higher after Tuesday's morning session. The Hang Seng Index added 0.08pc, or 22.18 points, to 26,703.58 going into the break.
7:25AM
Agenda: Busy day for British corporates
Markets grab late gains as investors await ECB stimulus: as it happened

GDP data released on Monday suggested the UK is not heading for a recession

Credit:
ANDY RAIN/EPA-EFE/REX
Welcome to our live markets blog.Markets across Europe ended pretty mixed yesterday with the biggest pressure on the FTSE 100 index comingfrom sterling, which made solid gains through the session after GDP figures for July beat analysts expectations, dampening fears that the UK is sliding towards a recession.

5 things to start your day


1)The UKs chances of sliding into recession for the first time in a decade have dramatically receded after official figures revealed surprisingly strong growth in July. Despite ongoing turmoil at Westminster over Brexit and a likely general election, forecasters at the National Institute for Economic and Social Research now put the chances of recession at just 10pc after a much better than expected 0.3pc expansion for the UK economy during the month.
How the UK avoided recession just
2)Can corner shops survive?When larger supermarkets made their move into the convenience store sector, Britains humble corner shops were forced to find new ways to survive.Over the last seven years, the sector has diversified the range of products and services they offerto consumers by offering parcel collection or Post Office counters.
3)Elliott Management, the $38bn New York hedge fund that bears Paul Singers middle name, jolted Wall Street by revealing a $3.2bn stake in Americas biggest operator. AT&T shares climbed as much as 8pc as traders placed their bets for the battle to come.
4)Sage Group, Britains biggest listed technology company, confirmed that it is putting its payment processing unit Sage Pay up for sale. The FTSE 100 software company, which disposed of its payroll division earlier this year and its US payments software business in 2017, said it was evaluating potential strategic options for the business, including a sale.
Markets Hub - Sage Group PLC
5)Will the UK run out of insulin and other vital medicines in a no-deal Brexit?Even if the worst disruption can be avoided, the nature of the sector means that small-scale shortages can have a major detrimental impact on customers who are affected.

Coming up today


Today is a busy one on the corporate calendar.
Construction equipment rental company Ashtead had a booming 2018/19, but the latest trends in the US construction sector where it makes 90pc of its sales suggest storm clouds may be on the horizon, while Brexit is piling pressure on to its smaller UK wing.
JD Sports will also report interim results. Its strong relationships with suppliers have played well with analysts in recent reports, leading it to outperform much of the tepid retail market. The trainer specialist only entered the blue-chip index in June, so investors will be watching closely to see if it is likely to keep a foothold.
Finally, Bovis Homes will also report results, which will be scrutinised for signs that it is managing to improve its margins. A half-year trading statement revealed completions and sales rates are moving in the right direction at Bovis and a trend towards more lucrative locations is helping underpin selling price, said Hargreaves Lansdowns Sophie Lund-Yates. Thats ticked some important boxes, but more progress is required, she added.
Interim results:888 Holdings, Ashtead, Bakkavor, Bovis, IP Group, JD Sports
Economics:Jobless claims and unemployment, trade balance, construction output (UK)
See also:
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