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UPS Upstream

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Share Name Share Symbol Market Type Share ISIN Share Description
Upstream LSE:UPS London Ordinary Share KYG7393S1012 ORD 0.25P (DI)
  Price Change % Change Share Price Shares Traded Last Trade
  0.00 0.0% 1.625 0.00 00:00:00
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Industry Sector Turnover Profit EPS - Basic PE Ratio Market Cap
Last Trade Time Trade Type Trade Size Trade Price Currency
- O 0 1.625 GBX

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Posted at 30/11/2023 22:26 by master rsi
LONDON MARKET CLOSE: Stocks react mixed to cooling euro, US inflation

(Alliance News) - The FTSE 100 in London closed up on Thursday, but share prices were firmly down in the FTSE 250, while European equities were buoyed by cooling inflation in the eurozone.

Meanwhile, US equities were mixed, following evidence of cooling inflation, according to the Federal Reserve's preferred price gauge.

The FTSE 100 index closed up 30.29 points, 0.4%, at 7,453.75. The FTSE 250 ended down 234.11 points, 1.3%, at 18,233.47, and the AIM All-Share closed down 1.75 points, or 0.2%, at 713.78.

The Cboe UK 100 ended up 0.3% at 742.82, the Cboe UK 250 closed down 1.6% at 15,769.33 and the Cboe Small Companies ended down 0.6% at 13,334.49.

In European equities, the CAC 40 in Paris ended up 0.6%, while the DAX 40 in Frankfurt ended up 0.4%.

Eurozone consumer price inflation cooled tantalisingly closer to the European Central Bank's 2% target, numbers from Eurostat showed.

The single currency bloc's consumer price index rose by 2.4% in November from a year before, the rate of annual inflation slowing from 2.9% in October. Inflation had been expected to cool to just 2.7%, according to FXStreet cited consensus.

The latest reading represents the slowest rate of inflation since July 2021's 2.2%. That was the first time the rate of consumer price inflation topped the ECB's 2% target. It went on to peak at 10.6% in October 2022 but has steadily ebbed since.

Meanwhile in the US, inflation pressure eased last month, according to the Federal Reserve's preferred price gauge, adding to the conviction that the next move in interest rates will be a cut.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the core personal consumption expenditures price index rose 3.5% in October from a year before, slowing from 3.7% inflation in September. The latest figure landed in line with the FXStreet-cited market consensus.

The core reading, the Fed's preferred inflation gauge, does not include food or energy.

The headline PCE index rose 3.0% on-year last month, cooling from September's 3.4% rise.

"US inflation is also heading in the right direction, although the bulk of the PCE readings were in line with expectations. Still, the monthly headline figure printing at 0% was another step in the right direction and below market expectations which again suggests disinflationary pressures are stronger than central banks have been willing to accept," said Oanda analyst Craig Erlam.

"Policymakers at the Fed must already be considering withdrawing such a hawkish rhetoric after the meeting in two weeks and it will be interesting to see whether the jobs and CPI inflation reports in the interim tip them one way or the other."

Stocks in New York were mixed at the London equities close, with the DJIA up 1.0%, the S&P 500 index flat, and the Nasdaq Composite down 0.6%.

The pound was quoted at USD1.2652 at the London equities close on Thursday, down from USD1.2674 at the close on Wednesday. The euro stood at USD1.0909, down from USD1.0966 at the same time on Wednesday. Against the yen, the dollar was trading at JPY147.85, up from JPY147.36.

The FTSE 100 snapped its streak of underperformance, with oil majors and China-exposed stocks leading the charge.

BP and Shell closed up 1.5% and 0.3% respectively, tracking an initially rising Brent price. Brent rose as high as USD84.57 on Thursday, its best level since November 7. But the North Sea benchmark eased to USD80.56 a barrel by the time of the London equities close, down from USD81.80 late Wednesday afternoon.

Major oil-producing nations led by Riyadh and Moscow were moving towards an agreement to further slash production to prop up volatile prices, a source close to the negotiations told AFP.

Ministers from the 13-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries headed by Saudi Arabia and its 10 partners led by Russia have agreed to "further cut production by 600,000 to one million barrels a day", the source said.

The exact size of the fresh cuts would need to be finalised at today's last virtual meeting, which began at around 1430 GMT, the source added.

China's manufacturing purchasing managers' index – a key measure of factory output – dipped to 49.4 points. The reading was down slightly from 49.5 in October and also weaker than the 49.7 market forecast cited by FXStreet.

Shares in miners and Asia-focused lenders were mixed, however, amid the expectation that weaker data will lead to a stimulus. Glencore lost 0.5% in London, while Standard Chartered climbed 2.0%.

NatWest was another lender on the up, rising 0.2%, after JPMorgan lifted the stock to 'overweight' from 'neutral'.

Entain ended a difficult week up 0.3%, ending a five-day losing streak.

The Ladbrokes Coral owner noted a fine by the Dutch gaming authority for its subsidiary BetEnt, which trades as BetCity and was acquired by Entain in January.

The Dutch gaming authority Kansspelautoriteit on Thursday fined BetEnt EUR3 million under the country's money laundering and terrorism financing prevention act.

Entain said the activities relate to the period between December 2022 and February 2023, adding that it was aware of instructions from September 2022 before its EUR300 million acquisition of BetEnt, which trades as BetCity.

In the FTSE 250, Auction Technology was the worst performer, plunging 23%.

It reported a sharp drop in annual profit due to higher finance costs and despite a rise in overall revenue.

The London-based online auction operator said the economic environment has become "more challenging", hurting growth in the second half of its financial year. However, it predicted continued revenue growth in the new year, helped by burgeoning value-added services.

Pretax profit was GBP7.1 million in the 12 months that ended September 30, down 23% from GBP9.3 million the year before.

Revenue rose by 13% to GBP135.2 million from GBP119.8 million. Of this, 5% was organic growth. Gross merchandise value on the platform was down 3% at constant currency, however, partly due to slower growth in total hammer value. THV was up 3% at constant currency to GBP10.8 billion for the full year, though declined slightly in the second half of the year.

Offsetting the revenue rise, net finance costs doubled to GBP15.4 million from GBP7.5 million. This was due to higher interest paid on loans and a foreign exchange loss.

Boot maker Dr Martens slumped 21%.

In the half-year ended September 30, pretax profit fell by 55% to GBP25.8 million from GBP57.9 million the year before. Revenue declined 5.4% to GBP395.8 million from GBP418.8 million the year before. Its top line was hurt by "an increasingly difficult consumer environment" in the US.

It said it expects full year revenue to decline by a high single-digit percentage, on a constant currency basis.

It also said it expects financial 2024 Ebitda to be "moderately below the bottom end of the range of consensus expectations" of GBP223.7 million to GBP240.0 million.

Dr Martens cautioned that a bounce in its US division will take longer to materialise than initially anticipated.

Among London's small-caps, Metro Bank closed up 2.3%.

The lender said it it expects to cut a fifth of its workforce and the lender is reviewing its policy of keeping branches open seven days a week as it looks to "simplify its operations".

It had announced a cost reduction plan in early October, to be implemented in the fourth quarter of 2023. It expected this to deliver savings of at least GBP30 million per year.

On Thursday, however, Metro Bank said these cost cuts will go deeper. It has identified potential cost savings of up to GBP50 million annually.

Gold was quoted at USD2,038.85 an ounce on Thursday at the London equities close, down from USD2,041.08 late Wednesday.

In Friday's UK corporate calendar, Mind Gym posts its half-year results.

The economic calendar has a slew of manufacturing purchasing managers' index releases, including for China, EU, Germany, the UK and the US.
Posted at 29/11/2023 22:55 by master rsi
EARNINGS AND TRADING: Southern Energy loss swing; Craven House widens
Southern Energy Corp - Calgary, Canada-based natural gas exploration and production company - In the three months that ended September 30, net loss is USD2.4 million, swinging from net earnings of USD6.6 million a year earlier. Petroleum and natural gas sales falls to USD5.3 million from USD19.2 million. "Southern is in an extremely strong position in the fourth quarter of 2023, with prevailing natural gas prices having significantly increased and our balance sheet capitalized, enabling us to go after the organic growth opportunities in our portfolio," says Chief Executive Officer Ian Atkinson. "We continue to be encouraged by the outlook of supply and demand dynamics for US natural gas, as at least two of the upcoming Gulf Coast [liquefied natural gas] export projects, at Cheniere Energy's Corpus Christi expansion and Golden Pass LNG have recently announced they are ahead of schedule. Southern is well positioned to capitalize on natural gas prices with production behind pipe which can be brought on stream in a short time frame and we are excited to continue to grow the business with our new and longstanding shareholders."


Craven House Capital PLC - London-based investment fund with minority shareholding in four Swedish-managed eCommerce and pharmaceutical businesses - In the financial year that ended May 31, pretax loss widens to USD5.5 million from USD236,000 a year earlier. This is largely from a one-off change in fair value of negative USD5.3 million.


Real Estate Credit Investments Ltd - investor in European real estate credit markets - At September 30, net asset value per share is GBP1.48, ticking up from GBP1.47 on March 31. In the six months that ended September 30, net profit rises to GBP15.6 million from GBP10.3 million a year earlier. Interest income falls to GBP15.2 million from GBP16.6 million, but this is offset by net gain on financial assets of GBP5.2 million, swinging from a loss of GBP1.8 million. Declares half-year dividend of 6.0 pence each, unchanged from a year earlier. Chair Bob Cowdell says: "The board is confident that [investment manager] Cheyne's management expertise and focus on only lending in respect of high quality assets, in their preferred sectors and contracting with substantial quality sponsors, will position RECI well to withstand the broader challenges and steer a course through difficult market conditions."


JPMorgan European Growth & Income PLC - London-based investment fund - At September 30, net asset value per share is 103.1 pence, down from 104.8p on March 31 but up from 89.1p a year earlier. In the six months that ended September 30, pretax loss is GBP2.0 million, narrowing from GBP39.1 million a year earlier. Loss on investments also narrows to GBP12.4 million from GBP47.3 million. Declares unchanged dividend of 1.05p compared to previous quarter. Says it remains optimistic for European equities in the long term, despite events in the Middle East and raised interest rates from the European Central Bank.


Aurrigo International PLC - Coventry, England-based autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicle technology provider - Raises GBP176,255 via retail offer to existing shareholders of 176,255 new shares to be issued at a price of 100p each, plus GBP100,000 in 100,000 new shares via subscription. Shares are expected to be admitted to trading on AIM in London at the opening bell on Friday. Following admission, 45.8 million Aurrigo International shares will be in issue.


Bushveld Minerals Ltd - South Africa-focused vanadium producer and energy storage solutions provider - Proposes fundraise of around USD20 million or GBP15.9 million via placing of new shares to investors and direct subscriptions by Southern Point Resources Partners Ltd and certain directors. Shares will be priced at 3 pence each. The bookbuild for the placing is expected to closer no later than 1200 GMT on Thursday. In addition, proposes a retail offer to raise a further GBP2.0 million. Says net proceeds will be used to fund capital expenditure at Vametco and Vanchem to increase production, strengthen the balance sheet as well as facilitate the restructuring of the Orion 2020 financing package.


Genedrive PLC - Manchester-based molecular diagnostics company - Draws down a further GBP300,000 under the terms of its GBP5 million equity prepayment facility, as announced at the end of March. Says investors have been granted 1.6 million warrants equal to 40% of this drawdown divided by the reference price of 7.43 pence. Says the exercise price of the warrants payable to the company will be 40% more than reference price, equating to 10.40p. In order to support the further drawdown, says application will be made to admit 3.3 million new shares for trading on AIM in London, which is expected on Tuesday next week. Following admission, 111.7 million Genedrive shares will be in issue.
Posted at 28/11/2023 15:23 by master rsi
Hargreaves Lansdown shareholders urged to vote against chair again
Hargreaves Lansdown shareholders urged to vote against chair againHargreaves Lansdown shareholders urged to vote against chair again
Proactive Investors - Hargreaves Lansdown (LON:HRGV) is heading for a second year of ructions at its AGM.

Reports today said Glass Lewis, the US proxy voting advisor, is advising shareholders to vote against the re-election of chair Deanna Oppenheimer on 8 December.

A year ago, 33.5% of votes were against her re-election in a revolt led by the firm's co-founder and 20% shareholder Peter Hargreaves.

Sky News, which reported the story today, wrote earlier in the year that the wealth platform had started the process of finding a successor to Oppenheimer, who also chairs Intercontinental Hotels.

In a letter to its clients seen by the broadcaster, Glass Lewis said it was "concerned with the paucity of disclosure surrounding the significant level of dissent to the re-election of directors".

"In our view, the nomination committee should heed the voice of shareholders and act to remove directors not supported by shareholders or, at the very least, address the issues that raised shareholder concern.

"In this case, while we recognise that the board has engaged with shareholders, we believe shareholders could reasonably have expected greater transparency around the specific concerns raised."

Last week it was confirmed that Hargreaves Lansdown had lost its spot in the FTSE 100 index after a near 20% drop in its share price this year.

Dan Olley from Tesco (LON:TSCO) was recently appointed as chief executive to stop the slide, which reflects a slowdown in trading activity as retail investors park money in high-yielding savings accounts.

It anticipated growth in the water sector, as increased sector expenditure was expected over the next decade.

Renew recently announced the acquisition of TIS Cumbria, a leading nuclear manufacturing and fabrication specialist.

The board said on Tuesday that the move would further strengthen the company's presence in the growing nuclear decommissioning and new-build markets.

Its trading momentum remained positive, with Renew optimistic about the opportunities ahead across its business segments.

With the government prioritising investment in maintaining and renewing existing infrastructure, Renew said it was well-positioned for continued success in its mission to support critical UK infrastructure needs.

"I am very pleased to report that we have once again delivered record results despite the turbulent macroeconomic landscape," said chief executive officer Paul Scott.

"Continued growth in revenue, profit and our solid operating cash generation is a testament to the strength of our business model and the group's well-established positions in attractive and sustainable growth markets.

"On behalf of the board, I would like to sincerely thank all of our dedicated colleagues whose hard work and commitment has enabled the group to deliver yet another record performance."

Scott said the company's core strengths left it well-placed to build on its long-term value creation track record as it looked ahead with momentum and a strong forward order book.

"We remain excited about the significant growth opportunities across the group, underpinned by the increasing national demand for the maintenance and renewal of existing UK infrastructure, which will continue to be a domestic priority regardless of the outcome of the next election."

At 1448 GMT, shares in Renew Holdings were up 2.15% at 806p.
Posted at 28/11/2023 09:18 by master rsi
88E 0.225p -0.05p - 88 Energy Limited - Proposed placing to raise A$9.9 million (£5.3 million)

88 Energy Limited ("88 Energy" or the "Company") (ASX, AIM: 88E) today announces that it proposes to raise approximately A$9.9 million (£5.3 million) (before expenses), within the Company's existing placement capacity, pursuant to a placing (the "Placing") of new ordinary shares of no par value in the Company (the "Placing Shares") at a price per Placing Share of A$0.0045 (equivalent to £0.0023) (the "Placing Price") per share. In the case of Placing Shares issued in the Australian Placing (as defined below), investors will be granted options (Options) (exercisable at A$0.0075 per new Ordinary Share) on or before 15 December 2026) and, in the case of Placing Shares issued in the UK Placing (as defined below), investors will be granted warrants (Warrants) (exercisable at £0.0039 per new Ordinary Share) on or before 15 December 2026.

The Placing Price is equivalent to a discount of 18.20 % to the closing price of the Company's shares on the Australian Securities Exchange ("ASX") on 27 November 2023, being the latest practicable date prior to this announcement, and a discount of 23.6 % to the volume weighted average price on the ASX for the ten days to 27 November 2023. The Company also announces that its shares have been placed in a trading halt on the ASX pending the release of an announcement in relation to the completion of the Placing.

The Warrants will be granted to subscribers for Placing Shares in the UK Placing (as defined below) on the basis of one Warrant for every three Placing Shares subscribed for (with any fractional entitlements being rounded down to the nearest whole number of Warrants). Each Warrant will entitle the holder to subscribe for one Ordinary Shares at £0.0039 per Ordinary Share at any time before 15 December 2026 .......
Posted at 26/11/2023 23:02 by master rsi
Sunday share tips:
The Financial Mail on Sunday's Midas column tipped shares of supply chain specialist Wincanton to readers judging that the business's prospects were "bright" and the shares "cheap".

In particular, Midas highlighted a recent agreement between management and its pension fund trustees, which it said would unlock millions of pounds of cash.

Those funds would be used to upgrade and automate its warehouses, in turn helping the company serve its customers more efficiently and to gain more clients.

Indeed, its chief executive officer had put the pipeline of possible business at £1.5bn.

The fact that it was listed in the UK was another potential big plus, as were nearly a century's worth of experience in its trade.

Wincanton had lost two contracts and had exited less profitable businesses, which would were set to push profits down by 20% in the year to next March.

However, a 12% rise in profits was expected for the following year, while share buybacks should encourage dividend growth, Midas said.

The company had also won a "substantial" five-year deal with Sainsbury's that encompassed 21 sites and 6,000 trucks and trailers.

"Wincanton has been through ups and downs, and the share price has see-sawed, falling from £4.50 to £2.90 in the past two years alone," the tipster argued.

"Today, however, Wincanton is generating cash and winning businesses. Prospects are bright and the shares are cheap. Buy."

There might not be anything "flashy" about Tesco, but for the Sunday Times's Lucy Tobin "boring can be beautiful".

In her opinion, financial markets did not seem to be discounting the grocer's latest guidance for full-year adjusted profits from retail of between £2.6-2.7bn.

That compared to £2.4bn for the year before.

Yes, the shares had climbed 18% year-to-date to reach 279p, but that was still below the 300p peaks often seen before the pandemic.

Furthermore, its price-to-earnings multiple of 11 was as low as it had been for nearly a decade.

She conceded that high home energy bills and mortgages continued to cloud the outlook, while the cost of living crisis continued.

Yet Tesco was recovering some sakes from the discounters and its Finest range was taking some share from Waitrose and M&S.

It also had a healthier balance sheet than the likes of Asda and Morrisons, its retail free cash flow had improved and its pension liability was negligible.

Then there was Tesco Bank - which might be sold - and the grocer was carefully spending more on freeholds to cushion the impact of future inflation-linked rent reviews.

"There's nothing flashy about Tesco and its sensible management, but boring can be beautiful," said Tobin.

"Add the supermarket's shares to your basket."
Posted at 23/11/2023 23:17 by master rsi
LONDON MARKET CLOSE: European stocks up amid Thanksgiving celebrations

(Alliance News) - Stock prices in Europe closed mostly higher on Thursday, amid relatively quiet Thanksgiving trade and following the release of the European Central Bank minutes.

The FTSE 100 index closed up 14.07 points, 0.2%, at 7,483.58. The FTSE 250 ended up 0.66 of a point at 18,480.83, and the AIM All-Share closed up 1.18 points, or 0.2%, at 718.08.

The Cboe UK 100 ended up 0.3% at 747.41 and the Cboe UK 250 closed up 0.1% at 15980.88. However, the Cboe Small Companies ended down 0.4% at 13490.69.

In European equities on Thursday, the CAC 40 in Paris and the DAX 40 in Frankfurt both ended up 0.2%.

Minutes from the ECB on Thursday showed that all members agreed to keep the three key ECB interest rates at their current levels. At the September meeting, however, minutes showed that the interest rate decision was a "close call".

In October, the ECB left its key interest rates unchanged. In its first pause since beginning its hiking cycle last July, the Frankfurt-based official lender left the interest rate on the main refinancing operations, the marginal lending facility, and the deposit facility at 4.50%, 4.75% and 4.00%, respectively.

"Confidence was expressed that the current monetary policy stance was sufficiently restrictive, which gave the Governing Council the opportunity to keep rates at current levels and take time to assess the inflation outlook, the dynamics of underlying inflation and the strength of monetary policy transmission," the minutes said.

ING Economics said: "In short, the minutes underline the ECB's more cautious take on the economy and, in fact, mark the next phase of monetary policy tightening: ending rate hikes and focusing on 'high for longer'. Obviously, it was and is too early for the central bank to close the door to further rate hikes entirely."

Investors were also digesting PMI data. The UK economy edged back into growth territory in November.

The S&P Global/CIPS flash UK flash composite purchasing managers' index rose to 50.1 points in November, from 48.7 in October. This marked a four-month-high and represents growth, edging above the no-change 50.0 mark.

The flash services PMI business activity index jumped to a four month high, registering 50.5 in November from 49.5 in October. Meanwhile, the flash manufacturing PMI rose to 47.9 from 44.3.

The pound was quoted at USD1.2542 at the London equities close Thursday, higher compared to USD1.2458 at the close on Wednesday. The euro stood at USD1.0909 at the European equities close Thursday, up against USD1.0864 at the same time on Wednesday. Against the yen, the dollar was trading at JPY149.49, lower compared to JPY149.72 late Wednesday.

In the FTSE 100, Intertek ended the day at the top of the index, up 3.3%.

The quality assurance service provider confirmed its annual outlook as it updated on its year-to-date trading.

The London-based quality assurance service provider said that in the ten months that ended on October 31, revenue increased 5.1% at actual rates and 7.3% at constant currency, to GBP2.77 billion from GBP2.63 billion for the same period in 2022.

Also amongst the strongest movers of the day were oil majors BP and Shell, up 1.4% and 1.3%, as oil prices recovered.

Oil prices recovered to above the USD80 mark, after falling as a key ministerial meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies was pushed back from Sunday to November 30.

Brent oil was quoted at USD80.65 a barrel at midday in London on Thursday, up from USD79.36 late Wednesday.

On the other side of the index, however, Vodafone fell 5.2%.

Vodafone said it will introduce a new technology for 5G mobile coverage in rural areas in Germany using up to 40% less power.

In the FTSE 250 index, Virgin Money UK lost 6.3%.

The banking and financial services firm said in the financial year ended September 30, net interest income rose to GBP1.69 billion from GBP1.58 billion a year before, while non-interest income was unchanged at GBP140 million. Net interest margin improved to 1.91% from 1.85%. However, pretax profit dropped to GBP345 million from GBP595 million, mostly due to higher credit impairment losses, which climbed to GBP309 million from GBP52 million.

It declared a final dividend of 2 pence, down from 7.5p a year before, bringing the annual total to 5.3p, just over half of the 10p payout in the prior year. Virgin Money also announced a further GBP150 million share buyback programme, which brings total shareholder distributions for the year to GBP272 million, up around 2% from the prior year.

Amongst London's small-caps, Avon Protection rose 11%, after some directors bought shares.

Chief Executive Officer Jos Sclater bought GBP131,306 in shares, whilst Chief Financial Officer Rich Cashin bought GBP119,360 in shares.

On AIM, Jersey Oil & Gas rose 21%.

Jersey Oil & Gas is an upstream oil and gas company focused on the UK continental shelf region of the North Sea, while Serica Energy is a UK North Sea-focused oil and gas company.

It agreed to farm-out a 30% interest in the Greater Buchan Area licenses to Serica Energy UK Ltd, a subsidiary of Serica Energy.

"We are thoroughly delighted to announce the farm-out transaction with Serica Energy. Not only does it bring a further high-quality partner into the joint venture, but it unlocks exceptional value for the company and delivers upon our overall objectives for the GBA farm-out strategy," said Jersey Oil Chief Executive Officer Andrew Benitz.

Gold was quoted at USD1,992.02 an ounce at the London equities close Thursday, down against USD1,993.04 at the close on Wednesday.

In Friday's UK corporate calendar, there are no events scheduled. On Monday, there is a trading statement from Rightmove.

The economic calendar for has a UK consumer confidence survey overnight. Later in the day, there is a GDP reading for Germany, as well as the Ifo business climate index, followed by US PMI data.


London close: Stocks make small gains on quiet Thursday

(Sharecast News) - London's stock markets saw a positive turnaround by the end of the day on Thursday despite subdued trading activity due to the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States.

The FTSE 100 closed with a gain of 0.19%, reaching 7,483.58 points, while the FTSE 250 recorded a marginal increase of 0.004%, closing at 18,480.83.

In currency markets, sterling was last up 0.32% on the dollar, trading at $1.2534, while it gained 0.15% against the euro to change hands at €1.1491.

"Despite ECB minutes showing that rate hikes remain on the table and a sixth consecutive month of reduced European private sector activity, albeit at a softer pace, European stock indices continue to advance," said IG senior market analyst Axel Rudolph.

"German private sector contraction eased in November, though, and surpassed market expectations."

Private sector shows signs of stabilising

In economic news, the UK's private sector showed signs of stabilising in November, primarily driven by growth in the services sector, according to a closely-watched survey.

The flash S&P Global/CIPS UK PMI composite output index moved into positive territory at 50.1, up from October's 48.7.

That marked the first time it had risen above the critical 50 level since July and surpassed expectations for no change.

Notably, the UK services PMI business activity index climbed to 50.5, a four-month high from 49.5, exceeding consensus expectations.

Although manufacturing remained in contraction, it showed improved performance, with the UK manufacturing output index rising to 47.9 from the previous month's 44.3.

The PMI for manufacturing also increased to 46.7, a six-month high.

However, the survey indicated a decline in new order intakes for the fifth consecutive month, suggesting persistently subdued underlying demand conditions.

Additionally, it pointed to persistent inflation pressures, with both input costs and average prices rising faster than in October.

"The UK economy found its feet in November, as the service sector arrested a three-month sequence of decline and manufacturers began to report less severe cutbacks to production schedules," said Tim Moore, economics director at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

"Relief at the pause in interest rate hikes and a clear slowdown in headline measures of inflation are helping to support business activity."

Earlier in the day, it was confirmed that energy bills in the UK would increase by 5% starting in January in response to higher wholesale gas prices.

Energy regulator Ofgem announced that the price cap would rise from £1,834 to £1,928, representing a £94 increase for households using an average amount of gas and electricity and paying by direct debit.

It blamed the price hike on global events, including renewed conflicts in the Middle East, which had driven up wholesale energy prices.

While the price cap had significantly dropped from its peak of £4,279 during the Ukraine conflict, it remained notably higher than in 2021 when it was below £1,200.

"This rise is a result of the wholesale cost of gas and electricity rising, which needs to be reflected in the price we all pay," said Jonathan Brearley, chief executive of Ofgem.

"It is important that customers are supported, and we have made clear to suppliers that we expect them to identify and offer help to those who are struggling with bills."

In the eurozone, there were signs of a slowdown in the downturn across both the manufacturing and services sectors in November, according to data from S&P Global and Hamburg Commercial Bank (HCOB), although the economy still appeared poised to enter a technical recession.

The composite purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the eurozone rose to a two-month high of 47.1, up from October's 46.5.

While that exceeded the consensus estimate of 46.9, it remained below the crucial 50-point threshold that signifies growth.

The eurozone services PMI improved slightly to 48.2 from 47.8, just ahead of the 48.1 estimate, while the manufacturing PMI rose to 43.8 from 43.1, surpassing the 43.4 forecast.

However, manufacturing output declined for the eighth consecutive month, and services decreased for the fourth straight month, indicating ongoing economic challenges in the region.

Virgin Money tumbles, ex-divs prove a drag

On London's equity markets, Vodafone Group declined 5.22%, followed by British Land with a 4.09% drop and Land Securities with a 2.42% decrease.

Liontrust Asset Management also registered a decline of 3.67%, while National Grid and Great Portland Estates experienced losses of 2.76% and 2.32%, respectively, with all trading weaker as they went without entitlement to the dividend.

Transport operator FirstGroup faced a 3.6% decrease after announcing a one-off hit from its pension plans.

Virgin Money UK slid 6.53% after announcing a decrease in full-year profits and set aside £309m for credit card impairment charges.

On the upside, product inspection, testing, and certification company Intertek Group gained 3.32%.

Despite some limitations due to currency movements, the company expressed confidence in its ability to meet its 2023 targets after a solid third quarter.

BAE Systems saw a modest increase of 0.87% following JPMorgan Cazenove's decision to raise its price target on the shares to 1,300p from 1,150p.

The bank's upbeat outlook was influenced by a recent event where BAE Systems' chief executive and chief financial officer presented, leaving JPMorgan Cazenove "incrementally positive" on the company's investment prospects.

Consumer goods giant PZ Cussons showed strength with a 3.04% increase in its stock price.

The company reported consistent trading performance and expected to report low-single-digit like-for-like revenue growth for the first half of the 2024 financial year, driven by strong performance in Nigeria, Australia, and New Zealand.

LondonMetric Property rose 1.27% after raising its interim dividend.

The boost in its share price came following a solid first half, where the company swung to a profit due to a revaluation of its portfolio.

Oil giants BP and Shell both performed positively, with BP seeing a 1.37% increase and Shell gaining 1.41%, benefiting from a rebound in oil prices.

Reporting by Josh White for

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,483.58 0.19%

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Intertek Group (ITRK) 3,960.00p 3.42%

Weir Group (WEIR) 1,852.00p 1.81%

Ashtead Group (AHT) 4,800.00p 1.59%

BP (BP.) 473.50p 1.58%

Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 240.70p 1.35%

Standard Chartered (STAN) 666.20p 1.34%

Shell (SHEL) 2,586.00p 1.15%

Pershing Square Holdings Ltd NPV (PSH) 3,170.00p 1.15%

Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 269.90p 1.05%

BAE Systems (BA.) 1,072.00p 1.04%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Vodafone Group (VOD) 70.87p -5.41%

Whitbread (WTB) 3,204.00p -4.19%

International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 154.25p -2.87%

National Grid (NG.) 1,004.50p -2.81%

Imperial Brands (IMB) 1,833.50p -2.40%

Land Securities Group (LAND) 631.80p -2.05%

Fresnillo (FRES) 529.20p -2.00%

Entain (ENT) 864.40p -1.86%

JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 147.90p -1.63%

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 6,166.00p -1.41%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Ithaca Energy (ITH) 166.40p 8.62%

PZ Cussons (PZC) 143.20p 3.77%

Bank of Georgia Group (BGEO) 3,510.00p 2.93%

CAB Payments Holdings (CABP) 63.80p 2.90%

Energean (ENOG) 965.50p 2.88%

Diversified Energy Company (DEC) 72.20p 2.56%

International Distributions Services (IDS) 252.50p 2.52%

Clarkson (CKN) 2,925.00p 2.45%

BBGI Global Infrastructure S.A. NPV (DI) (BBGI) 133.80p 2.45%

Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 1,570.00p 2.45%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 146.75p -6.53%

FirstGroup (FGP) 167.10p -4.51%

British Land Company (BLND) 347.50p -4.06%

Carnival (CCL) 997.40p -4.00%

Urban Logistics Reit (SHED) 117.60p -3.92%

Liontrust Asset Management (LIO) 567.00p -3.90%

HICL Infrastructure (HICL) 132.60p -3.35%

easyJet (EZJ) 407.90p -3.34%

Pets at Home Group (PETS) 287.80p -2.97%

3i Infrastructure (3IN) 325.50p -2.84%
Posted at 23/11/2023 09:44 by master rsi
Ofgem says average UK household energy bills to rise by GBP94 a year
(Alliance News) - The average UK household energy bill will rise by GBP94 a year from January after Ofgem increased its price cap in response to rising wholesale prices.

The regulator announced it is raising its price cap from the current GBP1,834 for a typical dual fuel household to GBP1,928 from January 1, driven almost entirely by rising costs in the international wholesale energy market due to market instability and global events, particularly the conflict in Ukraine.

Ofgem Chief Executive Jonathan Brearley said: "This is a difficult time for many people, and any increase in bills will be worrying.

"But this rise – around the levels we saw in August – is a result of the wholesale cost of gas and electricity rising, which needs to be reflected in the price that we all pay.

"It is important that customers are supported and we have made clear to suppliers that we expect them to identify and offer help to those who are struggling with bills.

"We are also seeing the return of choice to the market, which is a positive sign and customers could benefit from shopping around, with a range of tariffs now available offering the security of a fixed rate or a more flexible deal that tracks below the price cap.

"People should weigh up all the information, seek independent advice from trusted sources and consider what is most important for them, whether that's the lowest price or the security of a fixed deal."

The energy price cap sets a limit on the maximum amount suppliers can charge households in England, Wales and Scotland for each unit of gas and electricity.

Energy in Northern Ireland is regulated separately.

The headline price cap figure is an average across households rather than an absolute cap on bills, so those that use more will pay more.

The announcement puts hopes for relief from the cost-of-living crisis on hold, and follows Chancellor Jeremy Hunt making no mention of any further help from the Government to offset household energy bills in Wednesday's autumn statement.

Gillian Cooper, director of energy at Citizens Advice, said: "Prices going up during the coldest part of the year will make life harder for millions of people already struggling to pay their bills.

"We're already helping record numbers with energy debt and we're seeing more people than ever who can't afford to top up their prepayment meter.

"Yesterday, the government missed the opportunity to announce extra support for households who desperately need it this winter.

"The lack of action means far too many households will now be forced to choose between heating and eating this winter.

"We urgently need the government to honour its commitment to look at options for providing targeted financial support with energy bills from April 2024."

Simon Francis, co-ordinator of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, said: "These price hikes come at the worst possible time for households.

"Bills will go up just as winter bites hard and household finances are hit further by Christmas credit cards, the long January pay period and the ongoing wider cost-of-living crisis.

"We warned Ofgem that a January price cap rise was a bad idea when the regulator consulted on this in 2022.

"Now the chilling effect of the change is being realised, the inhumanity of this policy is clear to see.

"It will be anything but a happy new year for people trapped in Britain's broken energy system."

Forecasts by energy consultancy Cornwall Insight suggest that the typical bill will fall back to GBP1,853 from the start of April, but will not drop below the current level until July next year.

Craig Lowrey, principal consultant at Cornwall Insight, said: "Earlier this year, it seemed like the outlook for consumer bills was improving, with bills gradually falling after the dramatic rises post Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"However, as is often the case in the energy market, new challenges have arisen, and our reliance on foreign energy has once again left the UK vulnerable to price increases caused by events around the globe.

"With little in the way of direct energy bill support coming out of the autumn statement, consumers are likely to look at lowering energy usage to counteract high bills – particularly given that bills remain well above their historic averages.

"However, as we move through 2024, it's not just the persistently high unit costs that will be a worry; the looming rise in electricity standing charges from April adds another layer to the equation.

"Fundamentally, the solution extends beyond tweaking energy bills, given the underlying cause of rising energy bills over the last 24 months.

"We need a long-term strategy that reduces our dependence on imports of energy – particularly gas.

"By investing in domestic renewable energy sources, we can start to break free from the international market fluctuations and stabilise our energy prices for homes and businesses alike."
Posted at 16/11/2023 22:41 by master rsi
LONDON MARKET CLOSE: Stocks give way after rate optimism-fuelled rally

(Alliance News) - European equities closed lower as a post-US inflation slowdown rally seen on Tuesday and Wednesday gave way to a more muted session on Thursday.

The FTSE 100 index fell 75.94 points, 1.0%, at 7,410.97. It is still up 1.2% so far this week. The FTSE 250 slumped 325.00 points, 1.7%, at 18,351.48, and the AIM All-Share closed down 2.28 points, 0.3%, at 713.29.

The Cboe UK 100 fell 1.0% at 739.31, the Cboe UK 250 dropped 1.8% at 15,854.26, though the Cboe Small Companies rose 0.3% at 13,334.99.

In European equities, the CAC 40 in Paris ended down 0.6%, while the DAX 40 in Frankfurt rose 0.2%, helped by a 5.7% share price for Siemens.

Stocks in New York were lower. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.4%, the S&P 500 down 0.3% and the Nasdaq Composite 0.4% lower.

Sterling was quoted at USD1.2417 at the time of the London equities close on Thursday, lower than USD1.2448 at the London equities close on Wednesday. The euro traded at USD1.0855, lower than USD1.0864. Against the yen, the dollar was quoted at JPY150.54, down versus JPY150.91.

A tamer US inflation reading on Tuesday put pressure on the dollar and took some sting out of Federal Reserve interest rate expectations.

Data from the UK did similar for Bank of England expectations.

Oanda analyst Craig Erlam commented: "We're seeing a more muted session in financial markets on Thursday following a couple of days in which investors have been very encouraged by the economic data. Inflation figures from the US and UK have been very promising, so much so that markets see almost no chance of another rate hike in this cycle from either the Fed or BoE and a high likelihood of a rate cut by the end of the second quarter of next year.

"That's despite one BoE policymaker, Megan Greene, pushing back against that, although it is worth noting she does sit at the hawkish end of the committee having recently been in the minority voting for a rate hike. While her concerns over wages and where interest rates will land in the future are perfectly reasonable, it seems markets are more aligned with the dovish end of the MPC. I expect many policymakers will continue to push back against markets for now until they can be absolutely certain that inflation has been controlled and is on a path back to 2%. A late pivot has likely always been the strategy and I expect it remains the case. Higher for longer remains the mantra but I suspect it won't be too much longer now."

Brent oil was trading at USD77.95 a barrel late on Thursday, lower than USD81.59 on Wednesday.

SPI Asset Management analyst Stephen Innes commented: "Oil prices nosedived after government data showed US crude oil stockpiles spiked above consensus last week while demand for refined fuels fell.

"The market has been grappling with conflicting messages over the past few weeks. Opec+ is talking up tight markets on China demand. At the same time, The International Energy Agency said that global oil markets will not be as tight as expected this quarter, as supply had outpaced upgrades to demand."

Shell and BP tracked oil prices lower in London, closing down 3.0% and 2.8%. The former went ex-dividend, meaning new buyers no longer qualify for the latest payout.

Hargreaves Lansdown fell 5.8%, the fund supermarket also went ex-dividend.

Burberry closed the worst FTSE 100 performer, tumbling 11%. Reporting on its half-year period ended September 30, Burberry said pretax profit fell 13% to GBP219 million from GBP251 million. Adjusted operating profit declined 6.3% to GBP223 million from GBP238 million, as adjusted operating profit margin narrowed to 15.9% from 19.5%.

Revenue grew 3.8% to GBP1.40 billion from GBP1.35 billion a year before.

"The slowdown in luxury demand globally is having an impact on current trading. If the weaker demand continues, we are unlikely to achieve our previously stated revenue guidance for FY24," Burberry warned.

Burberry had expected low double-digit revenue growth for the year.

The US retail sector was also in focus. Walmart was down 7.5% in New York. In the third quarter to October 31, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer reported revenue of USD160.80 billion, up 5.2% annually from USD152.81 billion.

Operating income in the quarter surged to USD6.20 billion from USD2.70 billion.

Basic net income per share was USD0.17, swinging from a loss of USD0.66 a year earlier. The dilute EPS figures were the same.

Looking ahead, Walmart raised its outlook for financial 2023. It now expects net sales to rise by 5.0% to 5.5%, as well as adjusted EPS of USD6.40 to USD6.48.

Previously, Walmart expected net sales to rise between 4.0% and 4.5%, with adjusted EPS expected to be between USD6.36 and USD6.46.

However, Chief Financial Officer John Rainey struck a cautious tone in a subsequent results call. He said the firm has seen "uneven sales" recently.

"And this gives us reason to think slightly more cautiously about the consumer versus 90 days ago," Rainey added.

Back in London, there was some impetus from M&A moves.

Hotel Chocolat shares more than doubled to 363 pence.

The company said it has agreed to terms of a recommended cash acquisition by US multinational confectionery products manufacturer Mars. Hotel Chocolat's shareholders will receive 375p in cash for each share, a hefty premium to Wednesday's closing price, valuing the chocolatier at GBP534 million on a fully-diluted basis.

Another takeover object, City Pub Group, jumped 37%, though its probable new parent is listed closer to home.

Southern England and Wales-focused pub operator City Pub agreed on the terms of a recommended takeover offer with fellow AIM-listed pub operator Young & Co's Brewery.

The offer price of 108.75p represents a 46% premium to its Wednesday closing price, valuing the company at GBP162 million. The deal would expand Young's managed trading estate by 50 pubs to 279, with the deal expected to provide strategic, operational and financial benefits.

Gold was quoted at USD1,983.48 an ounce late Thursday afternoon, higher than USD1,962.09 on Wednesday.

Friday's economic calendar has a UK retail sales reading at 0700 GMT, before a eurozone inflation reading at 1000 GMT.

In the local corporate calendar, currency and derivatives manager Record releases half-year results.
Posted at 16/11/2023 10:50 by master rsi
City Pubs agrees to Young's takeover offer; Young's profit rises
(Alliance News) - City Pub Group PLC on Thursday agreed to a cash and shares takeover offer from Young & Co's Brewery PLC worth around GBP162 million, while Young's also said half-year profit rose.

City Pubs is a London-based owner and operator of 52 pubs, while Young's is a London-based operator with 226 managed pubs and one tenanted pub.

Young's offer implicitly valued each City Pubs share at 145 pence each, a 46% premium to the closing price "at the last practicable date". City Pubs shares surged 34% to 132.43p each in London on Thursday morning, while Young's shares were down 0.5% to 1,105.00p each.

City Pubs shareholders would receive 108.75p in cash plus 0.032658 new Young's shares for every City Pub share, based upon the "last practicable" closing price of 1,110p per Young's share.

City Pubs shareholders would receive around 3.6 million new Young's shares in total.

The takeover offer currently has 33% acceptances from City Pubs shareholders, while City Pubs directors consider the terms of the transaction to be "fair and reasonable" and for shareholders to vote in favour of the scheme at the court and general meetings.

"City Pubs is an excellent business we have followed for some time, and one which aligns closely with Young's in terms of both strategy and culture. Like us, City Pubs operates premium, individual and well-invested pubs and rooms, with a focus on the highest standards of customer service. Both businesses have performed well in a tough trading environment recently, testament to the strength of our business models, people and approach to customers," said Young's Chief Executive Officer Simon Dodd.

"We believe that City Pubs is an excellent fit with Young's and the combination of the two businesses represents a compelling opportunity for all stakeholders. It will allow us to expand our estate through the addition of a complementary, high-quality pub and bedroom portfolio, with the potential for the benefit of significant operational synergies to be realised by both sets of shareholders, through the partial share offer."

City Pubs Executive Chair Clive Watson commented: "Like all hospitality businesses, the pandemic derailed City Pubs' progress, but it has been able to produce a strong performance since with a more focussed, reshaped business with the lowest debt in its history and a solid strategy in place. The City Pubs board has therefore been able to evaluate today's recommendation from a position of strength.

"Following careful consideration, we believe the transaction is in the best interests of City Pubs shareholders with the ability to realise 75% of the equity in cash at a material premium to the current share price together with a stake in the future upside. The board believes the transaction significantly accelerates the value that could be realised in the short term by City Pubs if it were to remain independent."

City Pubs investor Oryx International Growth Fund Ltd said it was "pleased" to note the proposed acquisition.

Young's also reported that pretax profit rose 2.5% to GBP24.5 million in the six months that ended October 2 from GBP23.9 million a year earlier.

Revenue was up 5.4% to GBP196.5 million from GBP186.5 million, while it upped its interim dividend by 6.0% to 10.88p from 10.26p.

Net debt at October 2 increased 9.5% to GBP184.0 million from GBP168.1 million a year earlier.

Post-period, Young's said total sales in the previous six weeks were up 5.8% from a year earlier or 3.3% on a like-for-like basis. It said the Rugby World Cup boosted trading, particularly in Guinness sales, which reached "new highs".

Young's said Christmas bookings are "already looking strong, supported by the significant investments we have made in our existing estate and the addition of fantastic premium freehold pubs".

Young's CEO Dodd added: "Despite the good start to the second half of our financial year, we continue to monitor trading conditions closely. The macroeconomic environment and the impact this could have on consumer sentiment remains unpredictable."
Posted at 14/11/2023 23:51 by master rsi
Check that there is a concern between them to lift prices
The Competition and Markets Authority works with the BIG Supermarkets USELESS ... ........

No evidence "weak competition" lifting grocery prices - UK chancellor
(Alliance News) - An investigation into high food prices has not yet found evidence of "weak competition" among supermarkets, the UK chancellor has told MPs worried about price gouging.

Jeremy Hunt said the Competition & Markets Authority would continue to investigate food price rises, as he heard concerns about companies making "bonanza" profits while families suffered.

Food prices continue to rise, but increases have fallen to single digits for the first time in 16 months, according to data from analysts Kantar.

Prices across grocers were 9.7% higher than a year ago over the four weeks to October 29, down from the previous month's 11%.

It is the eighth consecutive decline in the rate of price rises since the figure peaked at 17.5% in March, and the first time the figure has fallen below 10% since July last year.

In the Commons, SNP MP Alison Thewliss drew attention to the high price of baby formula.

The Glasgow Central MP said: "Between March 2021 and April 2023, the cost of first infant formulas increased by an average of 24%, with the cheapest infant formula on the market increasing by 45%, an absolute catastrophe for families who rely on infant formula, but a bonanza for the formula companies who are making significant profits out of this.

"Can he tell me, why does he believe that it is right for companies to profit while families struggle to feed their babies?"

The chancellor replied: "She is absolutely right to draw attention to the pressures on families caused by very high food inflation in a number of areas, but I can tell her that the Competition and Markets Authority undertook a review earlier this year of the groceries sector.

"They have not yet found evidence that high food price inflation is being driven by weak competition, but they are continuing their review, they are looking at the supply chain and we all wait to hear what they say."

Hunt continued to face pressure from the SNP about food inflation, with Glasgow North MP Patrick Grady calling on the government to "commit to ensuring that the Department for Work and Pensions has enough resource to raise benefits at least in line with September's inflation rate".

The chancellor replied: "The Secretary of State for Work & Pensions (Mel Stride) is doing his review at the moment to decide the correct amount by which to uprate benefits."

Hunt later insisted it was right that the CMA carried out its work on supermarket pricing "at arm's length from politicians", after SNP economy spokesman Drew Hendry quoted consumer rights organisation Which?, who claimed some supermarkets had committed "dodgy practices over food prices and loyalty schemes".

The senior Cabinet minister said: "I can tell him that we had the supermarkets in over the summer to make sure that they were doing everything they could to bear down on food price inflation.

"However, the correct way for politicians to look at this is at arm's length. We have the independent Competition and Markets Authority, which does a rigorous job and often does things that politicians disagree with, and it is looking at the issue right now."
Upstream share price data is direct from the London Stock Exchange

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