Pound treads water amid Brexit deadlock

Sterling holds steady above $1.28, after dropping through threshold for the first time in seven days on Thursday as Government called for election
Markets open flat amid uncertainty over road ahead on Brexit
Barclays profits hit by ?1.4bn provision for PPI claims
WPP posts surprise return to sales growth
AB InBev shares plunge as drinkers down less beer
Ryan Bourne:The Conservatives will come to rue their casual dismissal of economists
Wrap-up: Markets left playing wait-and-seee
Heres how European markets closed with the FTSE 100 pulling back up before the bell:
Pound treads water amid Brexit deadlock

Bloomberg TV
Not for the first time, the UK markets spent a Friday twiddling their thumbs and wondering exactly what will happen next with Brexit.
Last week, of course, traders believed the results would be clear by Monday (and how wrong that turned out to be) this time around, Monday is likely to only produce further uncertainty.
Something will have to give, and a game of chicken between the Labour Party and the EU in which no-deal in the potential outcome is not going to be drawing many smiles on trading desks.
Thats all from me this week. Thank you to everyone who followed along. Join us again on Monday for a week of big corporate reporting and, undoubtedly, more Brexit shenanigans.
S&P briefly trades above all-time high closing price
The S&P 500 just briefly broke past its all-time closing high well have to wait and see whether it can maintain the gains needed to fix a new record.
Pound still flat, holding above $1.28
The pound is ending the week with a whimper rather than a bang still holding above $1.28, despite testing that barrier a couple of times earlier. Thats less than two cents off a five-month high.
Brexit 50p production paused
Telegraph Political Editor Christopher Hopetweets:
A Treasury source told The Daily Telegraph: "We have paused production of the Brexit coin and will take a final decision in due course."

The Treasury declined to comment further but it is likely that hundreds of thousands of the coins have already been minted. Christopher Hope? (@christopherhope) October 25, 2019
Round-up: Supercuts administration, businesses on Brexit sorted, IEA backs offshore wind
Pound treads water amid Brexit deadlock

The cost of offshore wind is falling so fast that past assumptions are being shattered

Phil Noble/REUTERS
Here are some of the biggest stories from this afternoon:
Supercuts goes into administration putting 1,200 jobs and 220 salons at risk:Hairdressing chains Supercuts and Regis have become the latest victims of the high street slump after their owner collapsed into administration on Thursday night putting about 1,200 jobs at risk.
Businesses tell Westminster to get it sorted on Brexit as investment spending lags: Economics Editor Russell Lynch went out to speak to small businesses, and find out what the think of the current impasse.
Death knell for fossil fuels? IEA claims offshore wind can power humanity more cheaply than coal or gas:The arch-sceptics of the International Energy Agency have embraced offshore wind, saying it can meet the worlds entire electricity demand 11 times over even when zones are set aside for uses such as shipping, defence and fishing.
City Intelligence newsletter (SUBSCRIBER) Article
S&P finds some legs, putting all-time high in sight
The S&P 500 has picked up some energy, and is nowup about 0.25pc, around 3018. The all-time closing high for the index is 3,025.86, which it reached on July 26.
SPX approaching all time Neil Wilson (@marketsneil) October 25, 2019
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is also not far off its all-time high, but has a bit further to climb.
Gates to overtake Bezos as worlds richest person
Pound treads water amid Brexit deadlock

Jeff Bezos owns around 58 million shares in Amazon

One potential side-effect of todays trading:Jeff Bezos is set to lose his crown as the worlds richest man, after an unexpected drop in profits at US internet titan Amazon sent shares spiralling.
My colleague Hannah Boland reports:

Mr Bezos is on track to see his wealth slip by almost $7bn (?5.5bn), if Amazon's share price losses hold until the market close this evening. He is the firm's largest investor with 58 million shares worth $96bn.
The online shopping company revealed on Thursday evening that profits had fallen to $2.1bn during the three months to September, their first decline in more than two years.
This triggered a sharp sell-off of Amazons shares during after-hours trade. Shares fell as much as 9pc last night, putting the company in line to see up to $80bn wiped from its overall market value.
Read more here:Jeff Bezos to lose crown as worlds richest man as profits tumble at Amazon
Technology intelligence - newsletter promo - EOA
US markets flat, FTSE 100 underperforms Europe
Things are flat on Wall Street after about 45 minutes of trading. US stock markets are not far from hitting their all-time highs, but theres not much energy at the moment.
Pound treads water amid Brexit deadlock

Bloomberg TV
In Europe, the FTSE 100 is continuing to underperform, with falls for several Brexit-exposed firms appearing set to break the indexs four-session win streak.
Pound treads water amid Brexit deadlock

Bloomberg TV
Sajid Javid confirms Budget cancellation in writing
It was already taken as read that the Government would not be holding a Budget as planned on November 6th as it pushes for a General Election, but the Chancellor Sajid Javid has now confirmed the decision in writing.
Im at a bit of a loss what the governments budgetary strategy is... Chris Giles (@ChrisGiles_) October 25, 2019
A briefrespite for those of us running business live blogs...
Lobby journalists: Oh God, an election.
Business journalists: Yes! No Budget. Ben Wright (@_BenWright_) October 24, 2019
Full report: AB InBev shares spill
My colleague Simon Foy has a full report on those AB InBev results from earlier today (see 10:39am update):
AB InBev shares plunge as drinkers down less beer
The history of Ab InBev
Money round-up: Tourists waste ?100k a year on short-distance tube swaps, wrong Brexit date coins set to become collectibles, fintech banks steal a march on the old guard
Pound treads water amid Brexit deadlock

The original 29 March 2019 design for the Brexit 50p. The date was changed to October 31 and now, presumably, will be altered again

HM Treasury
Here are some of the biggest stories today from Telegraph Money:
London tourists waste ?100k a year travelling between two closest Tube stations:Tourists and others travelling on the London Underground are pointlessly spending thousands of pounds each week on making a journey between the networks two closest stations.
Brexit 50p coins with Oct 31 date errorto become instant collectibles:A batch of special Brexit 50p coins minted with October 31 are expected to become collectorsitems now that it looks almost certain Britain will not have left the EU by then.
Hipster banks Monzo and Starling win customers from high-street giants:Monzo and Starling have been steadily taking current account customers from the big high street banks, new figures show.
Investor newsletter REFERRAL (article)
Gold shines on Diwali demand
Pound treads water amid Brexit deadlock

Gold is traditionally given as a gift during the Indian festival of Diwali

Gold, having regained the psychologically-important $1,500-an-ounce level yesterday evening, having been shooting up most strongly in the past few minutes as demand pushes prices up on Indias biggest day for buying the precious metal.
Prices in the country, where growth is at a six-year low, are high because it is Dhanteras, the first day of the festival of Diwali. It is considered an auspicious day to buy gold, as well as other metal goods including kitchenware and even cars.
However, cash flow problems in the country, which is the second-most populous in the world after China, may impact the level of buying this year.
Economic Intelligence newsletter SUBSCRIBER (article)
TK Maxx sales and profit rise
Pound treads water amid Brexit deadlock

TK Maxx pinned its rising gross profit and sales on its expansion

Henry Nicholls/SWNS
Total sales and gross profit at TK Maxx both rose in the 52 weeks to the start of February this year, which the retailer attributed to itsexpansion in the UK.
Gross profit was ?464m, while total sales topped ?3.1bn.
The company warned about the potential impact of Brexit on its supply chain and workforce, but said it had realigned the former to reduce the impact of potential changes. Its directors said the group could be significantly impacted by a no-deal Brexit.
FTSE 250 weakens amid Brexit doubts
The FTSE 250 has become an increasingly clearbellwether for Brexit sentiment, with investors using the mid-cap index as a proxy for their feelings about the UKs troubled exit from the EU. The index hit a 12-month high early this month amid surging sentiment, but is down about 0.8pc today.
The index tends to shift more heavily because more of the companies listed on it are UK-focused: they suffer from a weak pound (which pushes up the cost of imports), and are often in the category of firms that arestruggling to make investment decisions due to the current uncertainty.
Brexit deal - for Business | Read more
Heres how the pound has moved this year
Its been a rollercoaster year for the pound, which staged a dramatic comeback over the past two months, having hit long-term lows (including a 34-year low against the dollar) at the end of the summer.
Capital Economics Paul Dales says Britain will become an economic zombie if Brexit is delayed further:

A delay to Brexit from next Thursday to until January 31 would not be a huge blow for the economy. But by prolonging the uncertainty it could create an extra drag that contributes to GDP growth slowing from 1.3pc this year to 1.0pc next year and the pound staying close to $1.28. So unless the Brexit impasse in Parliament ends, a zombie government could lead to a zombie economy and a zombie pound.

He added:

Although the pound has fallen back from its recent high of $1.30 on Monday to $1.28 now, you could say that it has been remarkably stable given that, technically, if nothing changes in the coming days there would be a no-deal Brexit in just six days time!
The insider-trading scandal that has banks running scared
Pound treads water amid Brexit deadlock

The revelations threaten to cast a harsh spotlight on elite dealmaking
Its looking likely to be a slow day (I know, Ill invoke the curse and a retailer will collapse) sowhy not take a dive into the world of international financial intrigue, via Banking Editor Lucy Burtons look at the biggest, most high-profile insider-trading casein recent years.
She writes:

US prosecutors this week released explosive court documents that they say expose a large-scale, international insider trading ringinvolving the couple, who are said to have received more than $1m (?780,000) worth of cash, trips and luxury watches in exchange for insider trading tips.
The revelations threaten to cast a harsh spotlight on elite dealmaking and shake some of the West's best-known financial institutions to their core.
Read her full account here:Pet names, burner phones and a fast food chain: the global insider trading ring that has rocked banks
Business Briefing Newsletter REFERRAL (Article)
UBS: $1.26 to $1.32 is likely range for pound if extension is for several months
Theres been little impact on the pound from the EUs decision, though questions over which will come first out of an extension timeline and approval for a General Election may be rattling some nerves.
Hopes that a no-deal Brexit will be avoided have been the biggest driver of upbeat sentiment around the pound over the past couple of months, though the currency has started to shake off some of those gains over the past couple of days.
UBSs Daniel Trum writes:

The Brexit process has taken a pause, as the UK government awaits the EU's response on a deadline extension. Apparently, a shorter extension of just a few weeks would raise the odds of Boris Johnson's government pushing ahead with ratifying the deal with the EU through the UK parliament. On the contrary, a longer extension would probably make a general election in the UK more likely as the next step.
The latter scenario seems more likely to us, so we expect GBP/USD to trade in a $1.26 to $1.32 range over the coming months. A deal passing parliament could lift it to $1.35.
Brexit news!
Pound treads water amid Brexit deadlock

Boris Johnson has been visiting a childrens ward in Buckinghamshire today

Theres news (of a sort). EU diplomats have agreed in principle to a Brexit delay, but have put off deciding actually how long the delay will be until after Parliament votesthis Monday on Boris Johnsons call for a December General Election.
Follow politics live:Brexit latest news: EU fails to agree extension date as Labour in disarray over election
"Talks on the length of the extension will continue at the beginning of next week - also in light of developments in London."

"We expect the extension decision to be taken in a written procedure."

[NO SUMMIT] James Crisp (@JamesCrisp6) October 25, 2019
If youve been living (or, dare I say, hiding) under a rock for the past few days, here are the five key points:
The Government has called a vote on a December 12 General Election, after being defeated over its timetable for passing the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (AKA Mr Johnsons deal), which it had attempted to rush through Parliament.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who support would likely be needed to secure a new ballot, says he will not support a new election until no-deal is off the table via a newextension to Article 50.
The EU (as said above) have not confirmed the length of a delay (to January 31 is the expectation), putting us in a slightchicken-and-egg situation.
Chancellor Sajid Javid hasconceded that the PMwill fail in his repeated pledge leave the European Union on October 31 (next Thursday).
However, no-deal still remains the de facto outcome if no extension is granted.
Johnson thought the extension would come in by Monday and he would have a vote on an election, but now the EU is saying it will wait for the outcome of the vote to decide on the extension. Perfect. Sarah Hurst (@Life_Disrupted) October 25, 2019
Election/Brexit timeline as of 24/10
Full report: Design flaws partially to blame for Boeing 737 Max crash
We have a full report up on the report by Indonesia authorities into the Lion Air Boeing 737 Max crash that killed 189 people last year. It says:

A final accident report released on Friday said Lion Air flight 610 from Jakarta to the island of Sumatra, crashed because the pilots were never told how to quickly respond to malfunctions of the Boeing 737 Maxs automated flight-control system.
The jet plunged into the Java Sea 13 minutes after its takeoff on Oct 29 last year.
Indonesias National Transportation Safety Committee said the automated system, known as MCAS, relied on a single angle of attacksensor that provided erroneous information, automatically pushing the nose of the Max jet down.
The report also identified various missteps prior to the crash.
Read more:Design flaws contributed to Boeing 737 Max crash, Indonesia finds
Boeing 737 Max
Hastings battles for premium growth
Pound treads water amid Brexit deadlock

Hastings shares fell as much at 5.6pc this morning
Shares in insurance group Hastings have fallen this morning, after it gave a trading update for the year up to September 9.
Shore analyst Paul DeAth said that the companys premium growth, which rose 2pc to ?753.1m over the period,was below expectations for the year, which he pinned on lower overall prices.
Peel Hunt analysts added:

As Hastings rate increases move ahead of the market, policy volume will inevitably slow down. We nevertheless applaud a more disciplined approach and are keen to see the company prioritising margins over growth.
Leap of the faithless: Assassins Creed-maker Ubisoft falls most in six years after cutting guidance
Pound treads water amid Brexit deadlock

Ubisoft makes games include Assassins Creed: Odyssey (pictured)
Another big mover on the European markets today: video game-maker Ubisoft has seen its share price crash by almost a third after warning last night that poor performances by two recently-released titles had forced it to slash its full-year targets.
Shares in the French company have fallen as much at 29pc today, its worst drop since 2013.
The company said it had experienced a sharp downwards revision in expected revenue from Ghost Recon: Breakpoint and Tom Clancys The Division 2.
We didnt fully deliver on both games, said chief executive officer Yves Guillemot.
Rout beer: AB InBev falls after missing estimates
Pound treads water amid Brexit deadlock

AB InBev owns brands include Budweiser

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
Shares in AB InBev, the worlds biggest brewer, have fallen the most in a year this morning, down about 10pc.
The Brussels-listed company, whichowns brands include Corona and Budweiser, cut its profit outlook and missed earnings estimates for the third quarter.
Full report: WPP makes surprise return to sales growth
Pound treads water amid Brexit deadlock

WPP beat analysts' forecasts with growth of 0.7pc in the three months to Sep

Richard Drew/AP
WPP returned to growth for the first time in more than a year after the advertising giant reported an unexpected rise in sales for the third quarter after winning more business in the UK and Europe, my colleague Simon Foy reports. He writes:

The company generated organic growth of 0.7pc for the three months to September better than analystsforecasts of a 0.6pc decline. However, WPP still expects sales to fall between 1.5pc and 2pc for the full year.
Shares jumped 6.2pc on Friday to 975p, making it the biggest riser on the FTSE 100.
WPP has been battling to transform its business to combat reduced corporate spending on traditional advertising and the incursion of online giants such as Google and Facebook into its market.
Read more:WPP posts surprise return to sales growth
Series of failures caused Boeing 737 MAX Lion AIr crash
Pound treads water amid Brexit deadlock

Officials inspect an engine recovered the crashed Lion Air jet in Jakarta, Indonesia

Achmad Ibrahim/AP
The fatal Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX crash that killed 189 people last year was caused by aircraft design flaws, maintenance errors and inadequate training, according to a damning report released by Indonesian investigators.
In a final accident report released today, investigators pinned the blame for the incident on Boeing, Lion Air and the pilots involved.
The crash occurred on October 29 last year:
Jakarta plane crash: Flight Lion Air JT610
The entire fleet of 737 MAX planes was grounded a few months later, after a second deadly crash.
The report found pilots were never taught how to address problems with the jets automated flight-control system. Indonesias National Transportation Safety Committee called on Boeing to redesign a system on the plane designed to prevent it from stalling.
Boeing, which has been roiled by the crisis over its jets, promised it is updating its crew manuals and pilot systems, and redesigning its sensors.
Synthomer sinks after profit warning
Pound treads water amid Brexit deadlock

Synthomer makes products including medical gloves
Shares in polymer specialist Synthomerhave sunk about 12pc this morning, after it issued a profit warning.
The group, which makes products including packaging, medical gloves and graphic paper, said macroeconomic pressures would continue in the fourth quarter.
The company said:

The growing weakness in the global economy has created a more challenging backdrop for the chemical industry. Depressed European industrial activity combined with increased political and economic uncertainties have resulted in an overall slower trading environment throughout Q3.

On a call with investors this morning, chief executive Calum MacLean said:

It has been a challenging market in the third quarter, we had expected a pick up that never came.

The groups paper segment was particularly weak as demand for paper coatings waned.
German businesses stay gloomy
Business in German remained gloomy on the countrys economic outlook during October, but there wasnt a major shift in confidence, according to data gathered by the Ifo Institute.
A score above 100 indicates the business climate has become healthier, while below 100 suggests an unfavourable climate.
As a reminder, overall purchasing managers index activity data released yesterday showed Europes biggest economy is still in a slowdown.
Germanys economy shrunk by 0.1pc in the second quarter. If it fell again in the third, as is widely expected, the country will have entered a minor technical recession.
German GDP
Barclays shares rise: Lender is better on a number of fronts
Though WPP is leading the pack, Barclays is putting in a solid performance on the blue-chip FTSE 100 today, up about 2.5pc currently after this mornings results.
Royal Bank of Canada analysts were positive on Barclays shares, which they said were better on a number of fronts, adding:

While a beat in [corporate & inverstment banking] was not totally unexpected, there were positives elsewhere.

AskTraders Steve Miley added:

...the better than forecast results from the investment bank area is what investors are cheering. Following RBS gloomy figures from NatWest Markets, the bar forBarclayshad been lowered. The factBarclayscleared that bar is part of what is driving the share price higher.
Markets mixed
After yesterdays rally, markets are quite mixed across Europe today. The FTSE 100 is underperforming despite the pound slipping slightly.
Pound treads water amid Brexit deadlock

Bloomberg TV
SpreadExs Connor Campbell said:

Though sterling is overall still feeling optimistic regarding the likelihood a no-deal Brexit will be avoided the meaty gains seen in the latter half of October have by-and-large been held onto despite this weeks losses the currencys confidence is nevertheless being chipped away at by the lack of forward momentum in Westminster.
WPP jumps after third-quarter sales rise
Pound treads water amid Brexit deadlock

WPP chief executive Mark Read

Toby Melville/REUTERS
Ad giant WPP is the biggest riser on the FTSE 100 currently, after it reported an unexpected rise in organic sales over the third quarter.
The groups like-for-like revenue minus pass-through costs, its preferred metric, rose by 0.5pc over the quarter.
Chief executive Mark Read said:

WPPs performance in the third quarter is another important step in the strategy we outlined in December 2018 to return the Company to sustainable growth in line with our peers in 2021.
Our growth in Q3 is encouraging but we are focused on delivering these longer-term goals and know there will be twists and turns along the way. Our guidance for 2019 remains unchanged.

Shares are up about 5pc currently:
Glencore sticks by full-year guidance as copper production falls
Pound treads water amid Brexit deadlock

A Glencore mine in the DRC

Per-Anders Pettersson
Glencore reported a 4pc fall in copper production over the third quarter, but said it expects to hit its full-year targets as production at its main African mine improves.
The miner and commodity trader said a ramp-up at its Katanga mine, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was begin to also produce greater cobalt yields.
The Swiss-headquartered companys share price has dipped slightly this morning:
Pound wobbles
The pound has had a shaky open so far, falling slightly as London traders reach their desks and survey the present scene in Westminster. The moves arent major, however, even in the context of the past couple of days.
Barclays profits clipped by PPI provisions
Pound treads water amid Brexit deadlock

The British bank reported a pre-tax profit of ?246m for the third quarter

Sergio Perez/REUTERS
Barclays has managed to remain profitable in the third quarter despite being hit by a ?1.4bn provision for compensating customers caught up in the payment protection insurance (PPI) misselling scandal, my colleague Michael ODwyer reports. He writes:

The bank reported a pre-tax profit of ?246m for the third quarter, down from ?374m in the same period last year.
The results came a day after rival Royal Bank of Scotland was dragged into the red after taking a further ?900m for claims relating to the PPI missselling scandal that has cost the industry more than ?50bn.
The results included a ?1.6bn costs hit relating to litigation and conduct issues. However, the bank attempted to strike an upbeat tone.

Chief executive Jes Staley said:

These represent another set of consistent and resilient results, and they show the benefits of our diversified model - one which allows us to weather today's macro headwinds, and grow our businesses and profitability over time.
Read more here:Barclays profits hit by ?1.4bn provision for PPI claims
Agenda: Markets gear up for possible election
Pound treads water amid Brexit deadlock

The Government is trying to push for a December 12 election

Good morning.The poundtoucheda one-week low yesterday after Boris Johnson launched a third attempt to call a general election as he tries to break the Brexit deadlock.
The currencydropped beneath the $1.28 threshold for the first time in seven days as reports broke that the PM was preparing to push for a vote on a new ballot as soon as Monday, but pared back some of its losses later on. It is currently stood around $1.285.

5 things to start your day

1)Amazon shares sink as it reveals first profit decline in two years:The online shopping titan also disappointed shareholders by warning that growth would slowin its busy Christmas period, sending shares down almost 9pc in late trading.
2)The revival in Britons pay packets is set to lose steam next year as wage growth slows, new figures warned today. Pay analystXpertHRs survey of settlements at firms employing 150,000 staff found employers expect to increase salaries at an average of 2.1pc over the next 12 months, down from2.5pc over the past year.
3)Next shoppers will be able to buy a mobile phone or renew their O2 contracts while shopping for clothes and homeware.The high street bellwether, which has around 500 stores, has opened two O2 stores today in Next shops in Warrington and Southampton, with two more to follow next month in Swindon and Nottingham.
4)Time for a change on changing the clocks?Many campaigners claim we should leave the clocks alone and enjoy the extra daylight and potentially increased economic productivity that it brings. The trouble is that there tends to be more heat than (ahem) light in the arguments, and little strong evidence either way.
5)Network Rail is poised to reignite a rescue bid forpart of British Steel after takeover talks with a Turkish pension fund broke down.The track operator is preparing to step in following the failure ofexclusive negotiations betweenAtaer Holdings and the Government, with officials now forced to openthe auction up again to other bidders.

What happened overnight

Stocks inAsiawere mixed as weakAmazonearnings kept a lid on positive sentiment, even as equities remained on course for a third week of gains.
Shares dipped in Shanghai and Hong Kong, while stock markets were flat in Seoul and Tokyo. Earlier, the S&P 500 Index traded above the 3,000 level, approaching its all-time high as technology shares led gains. That optimism is now being tested after Amazons first profit decline in more than two years sent its shares tumbling in after-hours trading.
With US earnings season in full flow, investors are getting numerous chances to see how companiesare withstanding the effects of trade tensions, slowing global economic growth and Brexit.
Investors also watched the latest developments in the ongoing trade dispute. USVice President Mike Pence criticised Chinas actions against protesters in Hong Kong while calling for greater engagement between the worlds two biggest economies.
Back home, UKPrime Minister Boris Johnsons bid for a snap election on December 12was on a knife edge after opposition partiessaid they want to rule out a no-deal Brexit first. The pound remained steady after sliding following Boris Johnson's callfor a Christmas election.

Coming up today

With third quarter results from Barclays arriving today, we might get more details of the final costs it expects to take from the end of the age of PPI. The lender has had mixed results recently, with a UK housing slowdown doing no favours to its mortgage business. It seems to have shaken off the spectre of activist Edward Bramson, however, so management have more flexibility to shift up its strategy as they try to cut down on costs.
Interim results:Aon, Barclays, Glencore
Trading statement:Essentra, Hastings Group, Synthomer, Vivo Energy, WPP
Economics:IFO business climate index (Germany)
See also:
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