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FTSE 100 and 250 hit record highs as pound sinks on Brexit 'deadlock'

Citychatter speculating that Aldermore could be taken back into the hands of private equity just two-and-a-half years after floating lifted the challenger bank towards the top of the record high FTSE 250.
The consensus of analysts believe that Aldermore is a cheap bet for investors at its current valuation, making it ripe for a takeover.
However, Aldermore was only taken public in 2015 by private equity firm Anacap, which remains its top shareholder with a 25pc stake, and the mid-cap firm is more likely to be the subject of advances from another challenger bank looking to consolidate, according to one analyst.
The swirling rumours and a short squeeze when a heavily shorted stock is pushed higher by short sellers closing their positions lifted Aldermore 10.1p to 256p on thick trading volumes with the wider FTSE 250 hitting its highest ever close at 20,251.24. Meanwhile, the pound sinking on stalling Brexit talks helped the FTSE 100 also climb to a record peak, the blue-chip index closing 22.43 points at 7556.24.
Elsewhere, troubled outsourcer Carillion nudged up 0.3p to 43.8p after taking the first step in its turnaround plan by confirming that it has received proposals over the disposal of its UK healthcare arm.
Carillion said in response to mounting speculation about the division that there is more than one credible counterparty interested with outsourcing rival Serco thought to be among the bidders circling the business.
Jefferies analyst Kean Marden argued, however, that Serco would have to present a compelling argument to shareholders to justify the acquisition given that it currently doesnt pay a dividend and has its own financial problems.
Traditional bricks-and-mortar estate agents Countrywide and Foxtons are being left behind in the dust by its digital-savvy rival Purplebricks, Berenberg analysts concluded to send the two property dinosaurs sliding.
Technology is driving productivity and pulling down costs across the sector but online agency Purplebricks is leagues ahead of its rivals allowing it to double the size of its UK business this year, analyst Ian Osburn told clients.
This strategy allows Purplebricks to charge an up-front fee at less than a third of that charged by a typical agent and its launch in the US could allow the AIM-listed firm to grow to ten times its current size.
Londons cooling property market is hurting high-end company Foxtons and Countrywide is saddled with high debt and a failing digital strategy, he added to pull the two firms down 2p to 64.5p and 1.5p to 114.5p, respectively. Meanwhile, the gushing analyst note helped Purplebricks gain 19.5p to 367.5p.
British Gas owner Centrica pared early losses to nudge up 3.4p to 179p as the utility firm brushed aside the Government unveiling the draft legislation for its energy price cap.
Partypoker owner GVC recording its best underlying growth since its acquisition of Bwin in the third quarter lifted the online gambling firm 38p to 905.5p.
Finally on the junior AIM market, Independent Oil & Gas skyrocketed 9.6p to 25.6p, a 60pc surge, after a third party assessment decided that the drillers Southern North Sea portfolio contains reserves of 303 billion cubic feet of gas, close to a 10-fold increase on an earlier estimate.
5:03PM
Markets wrap: FTSE 100 & 250 hit record all-time highs
FTSE 100 and 250 hit record highs as pound sinks on Brexit 'deadlock'

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier
The pound sliding on currency markets afterEU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said that Brexit divorce bill talks are in a "state of deadlock" has pushed the FTSE 100 up to a record all-time close at 7556.24.
The blue-chip index bested its May record aftergaining 0.3pc, underpinned by its big overseas earners climbing higher while the mid-cap index has also pushed up its best ever level at 20,251.24 on a 0.4pc gain.
Meanwhile,the Bank of England's latest survey on consumer credit showed that the UK's banks are heeding governor Mark Carney's warning on"pockets of risk" in consumer credit andreining in unsecured lending. The survey showed that banks expect to tighten conditions further in the coming months but defaults on unsecured credit picked upin the third quarter.
IG market analyst Joshua Mahony said on today's record highs:

"The continued ascent of the FTSE has had much to do with the negative effect of the disjointed Brexit negotiations, with daily updates seemingly highlighting just how unsuccessful the initial rounds of talks have been.
"The current deadlock shows little signs of being broken, with both sides unwilling to budge in their stance and combative positions. As time ticks on, the chance of a hard Brexit are heightened."
4:51PM
IMF head Christine Lagarde: I can't imagine a 'no-deal' Brexit
FTSE 100 and 250 hit record highs as pound sinks on Brexit 'deadlock'

The head of the International Monetary Fund said that settling Brexit ought to be a matter of 'people first and business second'
Christine Lagarde, managing directorof the International Monetary Fund, has said that she cannot "not imagine" a no-deal Brexit scenario.
The movement of people and aviation logistics were not covered by the World Trade Organisation (WTO)rules that would come into forceshould a deal not be agreed by March 29 2019, Ms Lagarde said, as she explained that such a scenario was unthinkable.
"[I] cannot imagine that would happen," said the leader of the world's lender of last resort, speaking at the IMF's annual meeting in Washington DC.
"For the people themselves, what does that mean? WTO does not provide for those," the former French finance minister added.
Read Anna Isaac's full report here
4:09PM
Royal Mail wins legal injunction to block strike
FTSE 100 and 250 hit record highs as pound sinks on Brexit 'deadlock'

The postal strike on October 19 and 20 has been called off
Royal Mail has won a High Court injunction preventing next weeks planned 48-hour strike by postal workers.
The firm had applied to block the industrial action orchestrated by the Communication Workers Union after claiming it was unlawfulbecause the union had failed to follow previously agreed upon dispute resolution procedures.
CWU disagreed, calling Royal Mails legal challenge underhanded and a deliberate attempt to misinterpret and use the agreement to stop postal workers exercising our right to strike.
Royal Mail had given CWU a deadline of 12 noon on Monday to call off the strike, which was planned for October 19 and 20.
Read Rhiannon Bury's full report here
3:47PM
N Brown enjoys a plus-sized sales boost
FTSE 100 and 250 hit record highs as pound sinks on Brexit 'deadlock'

The company also announced a new partnership with Amazon Fashion to sell Simply Be and its plus-sized menswear range Jacamo
The boss of N Brown has said she wantsto "move the conversation on" from the company's four-year-long transformation from a catalogue business to an online retailer afterreporting a jump in half-year sales.
The retailer recorded a 5.6pc increase in overall sales to ?453.3m for the 26 weeks to September 2, partly driven by a surge in sales of its plus-sized Simply Be range.
The division grew sales 21pc compared to a year earlier on the back of a 'Curve' marketing campaign, which targets women size 16 and above, and a new denim collection. Meanwhile N Brown's JD Williams label, which is fronted by Lorraine Kelly, rose 12pc to push up total ladieswear sales 9.5pc compared to the year before.
Read Ashley Armstrong's full report here
3:16PM
Sterling begins to recover; CBI says lack of progression is 'deeply concerning'
Great question to David Davis & Michel Barnier: "You both pride yourselves on being good negotiators, what are you doing so badly wrong?" Jane Merrick (@janemerrick23) October 12, 2017
#Brexit Michel Barnier We have done a lot of talking this week and as usual we are no further forward despite the great expense. Merlin (@Drysdaleboy1) October 12, 2017
Sterling has now plateaued against the dollar at a 0.5pc loss for the sessionand is clawing back some of the ground lost against the euro after the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said that talks over the Brexit divorce bill are in a "state of deadlock".
The CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn commented that the lack of progressionwas "deeply concerning" for businesses in the UK and the rest of Europe.
She added:

"Both sides must show the leadership and determination to get the talks moving more quickly because jobs and investment across Europe depend upon it.
"The need to agree transition and start moving to discussions on the final deal by the end of the year is of paramount importance to firms."
2:37PM
Hurricane season begins to fall out of US labour statistics; Dow Jones nudges down
FTSE 100 and 250 hit record highs as pound sinks on Brexit 'deadlock'

Hurricane season has cause jobless claims in the US to spike
There's just a little bit of data from the US to keep you updated with this afternoon.
US jobless claims dipped to 243,000 last week, the lowest figure since hurricane season began to distort economics data across the Atlantic.
Pantheon Macro chief economist Ian Shepherdson commented that he is "baffled by theabsence of any visible effect" on the figures for Puerto Rico, given the extent of the devastation on the island.
He added that claims are heading back to the pre-hurricane trend, confirming that astrong labour market remains.
US stocks
US markets have just opened and after rallying on the more dovish Federal Reserve meeting minutes last night, the Dow Jones has nudged down into the red early on.
2:23PM
UK green strategy open to powering more offshore wind than planned
FTSE 100 and 250 hit record highs as pound sinks on Brexit 'deadlock'

Offshore wind power has emerged as a key success story in the green growth agenda
The Government has left the door open for a bigger than expected boom in offshore wind power in the next decade to power low-carbon economic growth.
Ministers are hoping to tackle the UKs lagging productivity and boost economic growth by betting on the low-carbon sector, which inrecent years has brought a surge in skilled jobs across the country.
Offshore wind power has emerged as a key success story in the green growth agenda and the strategy outlines plans to consider going further to support the sector by rolling out more than the 10GW capacity of offshore wind initially planned for the 2020s.
The strategy paper, which contains more than 50 major policies and plans, said that provided costs continue to fall the Government would consider opportunities for additional projects beyond the 10GW cap in order to support high-value jobs and a sustainable UK industry, which can export goods and services around the world.
Read Jillian Ambrose's full report here
1:46PM
Booker bats off criticism of its deal with Tesco as profits rise
FTSE 100 and 250 hit record highs as pound sinks on Brexit 'deadlock'

Booker boss Charles Wilson (left) shaking hands with Tesco boss Dave Lewis
Wholesaler Booker has defended its deal with Tesco in the wake of fresh opposition to the deal by delivering a 9pc jump in half year profits on the back of strong growth in its catering business.
Booker boss Charles Wilson said that the company's proposed ?3.7bn takeover with Tesco was on track to complete by "early 2018" and it continued to be "business as usual" for the company until the deal completed.
Last week seven of the UK's largest wholesalers called for thecompetition watchdog to block the deal as it threatened "the survival of the independent retailer".
Mr Wilson shrugged off the criticism and said he believed that customers "will benefit from better choice, better prices and services" if the Tesco deal completes. The UKs Competition and Markets Authority is expected to finalise its provisional findings by the end of this month.
Read Ashley Armstrong's full report here
1:19PM
Reports that China's digital currency crack down will ease lift bitcoin to its highest ever level
Bitcoin's market cap is nearing that of Goldman Sachs.

Hang on tight Wall Street, #bitcoin is coming. It doesn't need your approval. pic.twitter.com/nVBls7I0ip Joseph Young (@iamjosephyoung) October 12, 2017
I must admit I was, and still am, one of the sceptics on bitcoin but if I had bought in at the start of the year my bitcoin would be 436pc more valuable. That incredible rally, which took a small stumble in September, has taken the digital currency to its highest level ever today at $5233per bitcoin.
Regulatory woes subsiding on reports that "China may be ready to allow trading again, albeit with tighter regulation" has lifted the cryptocurrency to record peaks, according to ETX analyst Neil Wilson.
He added:

"The prospect of Goldman Sachs trading Bitcoin is also driving buying as this might give it a toehold on Wall Street that could bring it into the mainstream and attract fresh inflows of capital.
"And there does seem to be growing appetite among investors to allocate part of their portfolio to Bitcoin as an alternative/complementary safe haven to gold. Weve also got the prospect of an upcoming fork that could be helping spur demand."
12:45PM
Watchdog provisionally clears Just Eat's take out of Hungryhouse
FTSE 100 and 250 hit record highs as pound sinks on Brexit 'deadlock'

The Competition and Markets Authority has given its provisional backing to the Just Eat purchase of rival Hungryhouse
Just Eats planned ?200m purchase of rival Hungryhouse has been given provisional clearance by watchdogs who feel the deal will not constrain competition.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been chewing over the merger since May when the approach was first made and initially had concerns about the possibility of both customers and restaurants suffering a worse deal from the tie-up.
In June, Hungryhouse complained that the CMA had adopted an unduly narrow frame of reference in terms of which type of businesses it considered to be rivals thatwas driven by an overly cautious approach.
Just Eat and Hungryhouse allow customers to order food from local takeaways but orders are delivered by staff from the individual restaurants, unlike rivals including Deliveroo and UberEats, whose drivers ferry meals to consumers.
Read Bradley Gerrard's full report here
11:56AM
Lunchtime update: Pound sinks on Brexit 'deadlock'; banks rein in unsecured lending
FTSE 100 and 250 hit record highs as pound sinks on Brexit 'deadlock'

Brexit secretary David Davis and the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier
Sterling has sunk back into the red after the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said that the UK and EU havereached "a state of deadlock" on the divorce bill, describingthe setback as "disturbing".
The pound had clawed back lost ground on the dollar after the Federal Reserve's meeting minutes showed that the central bank's policymakers remain concerned about inflation but stumbling negotiations with the EU have pulled it back below $1.32 against the greenback.
Elsewhere, the Bank of England's latest prognosis on consumer credit showed that the UK's banks are heeding governor Mark Carney's warning of "pockets of risk" andreining in unsecured lending. Although defaults on unsecured credit rose in the third quarter, the survey showed that banks expect to tighten conditions further in the coming months.
Here's Mike Van Dulken's take on the stock markets in Europe this morning:

"European equities remain pretty flat into the second half of the week, even after more highs in the US and Asia. But this is excusable as investors digest a US Fed confused by absent inflation despite low unemployment.
"We are also no nearer clarity on Catalan independence with Spanish PM Rajoy giving separatist leader Puigdemont five days to clarify his call. If a catalyst is required, traders are likely looking to US banks to spice things up with earnings today through Tuesday."
11:38AM
Bitcoin hits record high
BREAKING! The price of #bitcoin tops USD 5000 for the first time ever! pic.twitter.com/vKnxZSCDXt jeroen blokland (@jsblokland) October 12, 2017
HSBC shares didn't budge an inch on that unsurprisingannouncement but what is moving this morning is digital currency bitcoin.
The incredibly volatile cryptocurrency has hit $5184 per bitcoin, itshighest ever price ever this morning. The bubble appeared to be bursting last month when the price sank below $3400as China stepped up its crackdown on trading platforms. In just one month it has rallied 31pc before spiking this morning.
Analysts are describing the riseas a 'hookers and blow formation', where your heart rate rises without any warning signs. Quite the charmers those traders.
11:14AM
John Flint announced as the new HSBC chief executive
Here's the CV of the new HSBC chief: pic.twitter.com/x7vo6tfEah Adam Samson (@adamsamson) October 12, 2017
The UK's biggest bank HSBC has just announced that John Flint, the company'scurrent chief executive of Retail Banking and Wealth Management,will take over from Stuart Gulliver as the group's chief executive in February 2018.
The company's chairman Mark Tucker said on Mr Gulliver's replacement:

"John has broad and deep banking experience across regions, businesses and functions. He has a great understanding and regard for HSBC's heritage, and the passion to build the bank for the next generation.
"Through the search process, John has developed with myself and the Board a clear sense of the opportunities and priorities that lie ahead."
10:59AM
Energy price cap could run until 2023 in Government clampdown on suppliers
FTSE 100 and 250 hit record highs as pound sinks on Brexit 'deadlock'

Government will take the Tariff Cap bill to Parliament today to cap the energy bills of 15 million homes on standard variable tariffs
The Government's controversial plan to cap energy prices will apply to around18 million accounts that use standard variable tariffs at least until 2020 and possibly beyond, according to officials.
The Energy Bill is due to be presented before Parliament later today, and will begin the process of putting in place an absolute market-wide cap on energy supplier tariffs in the most severe intervention in the energy market since its privatisation.
Under the plans homes in England, Wales and Scotland on Standard Variable Tariffs (SVTs) and other default tariffs will have their prices capped at least until the end of 2020, and for potentially as long as until 2023.
Read Jillian Ambrose's full report here
10:47AM
Clamping down on unsecured lending a "spectacular U-turn by the banks
Credit Conditions Survey suggests lenders have taken heed of FPC's warnings. Relationship with official figs far from perfect though. pic.twitter.com/X0oKCIB17e Capital Economics (@CapEconUK) October 12, 2017
Reining in unsecured lendingis "a spectacular U-turn" by the UK's banks, according to Thistle Finance's Mark Dyason.
He added:

"Increasingly, people are looking at secured loans as a way to bring down their debt over a longer time period and at a more affordable rate.
"While the rates on secured loans today are considerably more competitive than they were pre-crisis, and many have no early repayment charges, people should always seek advice before entering into this type of finance as it puts their home at risk.
"The key is for people to remain in charge of their credit costs and not let the repayments rule their pay packets."
10:41AM
Ministry of Greggs
Students today. What is the world coming to etc.. A @GreggsOfficial shop in Birmingham turned into a student disco last night pic.twitter.com/kdn8Tv6n5F Jon Yeomans (@JonLYeomans) October 12, 2017
To tell the truth, we can get some pretty dry press releases here.This one from Greggs is certainly not one of them so let's include it for the sheer boldness of trying to get a business journalist to report on it.
Bakery chain Greggs has been diversifying its selection of products to bump up growth but it appears it's now expanding intothe nightclub sector.
A Birmingham Greggs branch was transformed into a nightclub for a 'Welcome Back to Uni' party last night, complete with free sausage rolls, booze and DJs.
With Deltic pulling out of the takeover battle for Revolution Bars a few days ago, maybe it's time for a new player to enter the fray.
10:30AM
Eurozone industrial production accelerates in August
Strong Eurozone Industrial Production print, backs up those consensus-smashing German prints either side of the weekend #eur #dax Mike van Dulken (@Accendo_Mike) October 12, 2017
Eurozone industrial production growth accelerated to 1.4pc in August with Europe's engine roomGermanyleading the way on the Continent, Eurostat has revealed this morning.
The expectations-beating figures suggest that the sector had a "pretty strong third quarter", according to Capital Economics European economist Jack Allen.
He commented:

"At the national level, there was an especially large increase in output in Germany, while it also rose in Italy and Spain. That offset declines in France and the Netherlands. By sector, euro-zone output of capital goods rose by a particularly strong 3.1%, which bodes well for business investment in the near term.
"All in all, the overall economy seems to have performed fairly well in Q3. We have pencilled in a slight slowdown in quarterly GDP growth from 0.6% in Q2 to 0.5% in Q3."
10:06AM
Bank of England Credit Conditions Survey key takeaways
BoE's surveys shows further expected tightening in unsecured credit availability by lenders...(line shows expectation for next 3m) pic.twitter.com/MyccRXeTNt Mohammad Jamei (@mjjamei) October 12, 2017
#BoE Lenders reported that the availability of unsecured credit to households decreased in Q3 and expected a significant decrease in
Q4 Shaun Richards (@notayesmansecon) October 12, 2017
UK lenders reined in the availability of unsecured credit to households in the third quarter and anticipate a sharp decrease on availabilityin the future.
Banks tightened credit scoring criteria on granting both credit cards and other unsecured lending while the proportion of applications in this area declined significantly.
Default rates on credit cards increased slightly and rose significantly on other unsecured lending.
Demand for secured lending dipped but remained unchanged on credit card lending.
9:47AM
UK banks rein in unsecured lending but default rates rise
FTSE 100 and 250 hit record highs as pound sinks on Brexit 'deadlock'

Unsecured credit defaults are on the rise but banks are tightening availability
UK banks reined inunsecured lending in the third quarter and are expected to tighten availability furtherin the future, the Bank of England's Credit Conditions Survey just released has shown.
Default rates on credit cards and other unsecured lending are on the rise but banks heeded Mark Carney's warning on ballooning consumer credit with unsecured lending availability falling at its fastest pace since 2009 as banks tighten up credit scoring criteria.
The Bank of England warned a few weeks ago that British high street banks could lose as much as ?30bn from defaults on credit cards and personal loanscreditas the ?200bn consumer debt pile grows at an alarming pace.
The central bank's Financial Policy Committee warned that ballooning consumer credit is a "pocket of risk" but acknowledged that the quality of consumer credit has improved.
9:12AM
Centrica the biggest laggard on the FTSE 100 ahead of energy price cap draft legislation
FTSE 100 and 250 hit record highs as pound sinks on Brexit 'deadlock'

Theresa May announced the proposal at her keynote speech at her party's conference last Wednesday
About 10 minutes after vehemently defending the free market at her speech at the Conservative Party conference just over a week ago, Theresa May announced the biggest government intervention in the energy sector since it was privatised andthe draft legislation for the energy price cap is due to unveiled in front of parliament later today.
Since the announcement, British Gas owner Centrica's shares have sunk 9.7pc and the energy provider is languishing at the bottom of the FTSE 100 yet again today.
I haven't seen one expert say thatthis is a good idea but it's undoubtedlypolitical catnip so here we are.
Head of energy at Comparethemarket.com Peter Earl argues that it is "a short-term solution" which "will not fix the broken energy market".
He added:

"For a sustainable, functional market, consumers need to be engaged. There are over 17 million households on standard variable tariffs missing out on over ?5.5 billion in savings every year. We need to encourage customers to move on to cheaper, fixed tariffs and save hundreds of pounds a year.
"One way to do this is the introduction of an energy billing revolution. People are confused by an overload of energy jargon in their bills and so forcing energy suppliers to adopt a simple, standardised, jargon-free bill format is an essential step."
8:55AM
Pound extends winning streak against the dollar on Fed inflation worries
Why is inflation so low when slack has diminished? #inflation expectations. What drives them? The Fed #FOMC pic.twitter.com/yicQ1Djo7F Paul Mortimer-Lee (@MortimerleePaul) October 12, 2017
The pound is extending its winning streak against the dollar to a fourth day as the greenback sinks on the currency markets after the Federal Reserve's latest meeting minutes showedthat the US central bank's rate-setters remain concerned that inflation is not just being pulled down by"transitory factors".
US stocks soared up to record highs on the slightly more dovish stance at the Fed but the market is still pricing in a 75pc chance of an interest rate hike at December's meeting.
So "many" #Fed officials concerned low inflation not just transitory. But "many" still want Dec hike. #USD doesn't know what to do (-ve imo) pic.twitter.com/YYTYWrJd7o Viraj Patel (@VPatelFX) October 11, 2017
Increasing interest rates pulls down inflation and the central bank's concerns are"subduing expectations of aggressive interest rate rises and maintaining investor optimism that global central banks wills continue to do whatever it takes to remain supportive of markets", according to Rebecca O'Keeffe, head of investment at Interactive Investor.
8:28AM
Agenda: Fed inflation concerns help pound rebound against the dollar; ballooning credit under the spotlight
FTSE 100 and 250 hit record highs as pound sinks on Brexit 'deadlock'

The Fed's meeting minutes showed that US policymakers remained concerned about inflation
The divide at the US Federal Reserve over persistently weak inflationhas knocked the dollar overnight with sterling clawing back yesterday's losses against the greenback to advance 0.3pc to $1.3245.
Minutes from the Fed'slatest monetary policy meeting showed that policymakers across the Atlantic are still on course to vote for another interest rate hikeat Decembers gathering but the Federal Open Market Committee warned that the weakness in inflation might not just be the result of "transitory factors".
Global markets in risk-on mode after the Fed showed a more guarded view on #inflation. Nikkei hits 21y peak. Dollar lower on dovish Fed. pic.twitter.com/yBPiS1mDj1 Holger Zschaepitz (@Schuldensuehner) October 12, 2017
This morning, the Bank of Englands latest prognosis of ballooning credit is under the spotlight with the central bank's governor Mark Carney warning recently of "pockets of risk" in rapidly growing consumer debt.
A host of speakers from the central banking world are due to speak today with the Bank of England's chief economist Andy Haldane appearing at the 'Rethinking Macro Policy' conference this evening andECB president Mario Draghi and Jerome Powell, the frontrunner to bethe next Fed chair, also scheduled to speak.
The FTSE 100 has opened flat with British Gas owner Centrica retreating early on ahead of the Government's energy price cap bill.
Full-year results: WH Smith
Interim results: Booker Group, N Brown, Sky
Trading statement: Hays
AGM: Sky
Economics: BOE Credit Conditions Survey (UK), Core PPI m/m (US), Unemployment Claims (US), PPI m/m (US), Industrial Production m/m (EU), Final CPI m/m (GER)

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