Bank of England interest rates imminent
The Bank of England will announce its latest rate decision in just 10 minutes, with markets still seeing an almost 50/50 chance of a quarter point or half point rate hike.
Take a look at our snapshot to see where things stand in the market before the decision.
Watchdog blocks merger of hearing aid companies ‘to protect patients and NHS’
The competition watchdog said it was protecting customers and the NHS on Thursday as it partially blocked a planned partnership between the two hearing aid companies.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it would not allow the merger of Cochlear Limited and Oticon Medical to proceed.
Cochlear agreed to buy Oticon from Danish company Demant last April, paying 850 million Danish krone (£98 million) for the business.
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Vodafone’s ousted boss gets more than £4m in salary and bonuses in 2022-23
Former Vodafone boss Nick Read received more than £4 million in salary and bonuses for the year to March, including an annual prize of £904,000, despite being ousted at the end of 2022 due to poor performance and constant job cuts.
The mobile phone giant’s annual report shows Mr Read received a bumper payout package worth £3.9m for 2022-2023, including a $1 share bonus, The previous £6 million long-term bonus scheme will be paid out in August, and a cash prize of £406,000 in dividends would have been paid out on those shares.
Additionally, he received £270,375 in salary for the first three months of 2023, when he was still an adviser to the board, and will be paid £732,629 in lieu of salary, plus benefits, in His remaining 12 months’ notice period is until next March.
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Ocado shares up 40%, FTSE 100 under pressure
Shares of Ocado rallied as much as 40% as investors focused on speculation about potential acquisition interests from an American pursuer.
The increase from 176.25p to 606.25p comes as the Times said heavyweights like Amazon may be weighing up the 800p-a-share move.
Shares of Ocado were above 2000p during the pandemic closure in 2021 as the business also launched deals for its customer fulfillment centers with several food retailers. largest in the world, including US-based Kroger.
Since then, investor appetite for the loss-making company has been tempered by rising interest rates and economic uncertainty, sending it as low as 342p earlier this month.
Without the speculation, it is likely that Ocado stock will be one of the victims in today’s dismal trading for blue-chip stocks.
The FTSE 100 index fell 0.8%, or 60.69 points, to its lowest since early June of 7498.49. The selling to markets on both sides of the Atlantic comes as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated the need to raise US interest rates further.
Uncertainty over the world’s largest economy has put pressure on gaming group Flutter Entertainment, which has previously described a “huge value creation opportunity” in its key market as USA. Shares of the business Betfair and FanDuel fell 2.5% or 400p to 15,600p.
Other big losers include United Utilities and Airtel Africa after their shares traded without dividend rewards most recently.
Housebuilder Berkeley joined Ocado on a short bullish board, lifting 60p to 3911p after analysts at Jefferies highlighted a 4474p price target.
The FTSE 250 index fell 0.6 per cent or 109.17 points to 18,462.28, with lender Virgin Money 3 per cent lower or 4.95p at 149.05p on worries about the UK’s economic outlook Older brother.
Mortgage prices rise even higher
New data released today from Moneyfacts shows the average two-year contract now yields 6.19%, up from 6.15% yesterday, while the five-year average rate is up from 5.79 % to 5.82%.
Buy-to-let rates also increased, with a two-year average of 6.49% and a five-year buy-to-lease average of 6.33%.
The number of products on the market is almost stable after nearly 150 products were withdrawn by lenders yesterday.
Mulberry requires more time
Mulberry today sought to reassure shareholders that there aren’t any problems with its accounts after unexpectedly postponing the release of its annual results.
The luxury fashion brand, known for its iconic leather handbags, was due to announce the results today but said it had to delay the launch by about a week to “allow the the company’s auditors have more time to complete the procedures”.
“The revised notification date did not arise because of any concerns regarding the outcome,” Mulberry said.
In the semi-annual results at the end of last year, the Somerset-based business posted a 1% drop in revenue to £64.9 million, while it carried forward a pre-tax loss of £3.8 million compared with profit of 10.2 million pounds the previous year.
Premier Inn owners welcome demand back in London
The owner of the Premier Inn has hailed a resurgence in bookings in London as Britons on a tight budget flock to its low-cost hotels.
Whitbread, which also owns the Beefeater and Brewers Fayre restaurant chains, reported a 32.5% increase in accommodation sales in London in the three months to early June, to £120m, while sales rose 32.5%. Sales outside the capital rose 14% to £372 million. Food and beverage sales rose just 10 per cent to £194 million.
“Consumer demand in the UK remains strong,” Whitbread said. Despite good revenue growth in both the Region and London, demand was particularly strong in London.”
But the company warned that “trading at the bottom end of the pub restaurant market remains challenging.”
Whitbread says it is on track to break even for the year.
Red signal for Hornby as stocks slide
Shares of model train maker Hornby fell 11% to 20 cents as it lost money.
The company posted revenue growth from 2.5% to £55m for the year to the end of March, while losses amounted to £5.9m compared with a £600k profit the year before.
Hornby’s debt levels rose from £0.3m to £6.9m, which it attributed to “an over-commitment to the stock stemming from the expectation that the top revenue growth trajectory would continue to follow.” trajectory of recent years.”
“The UK economy is in trouble in 2022, with growth slowing and inflation rising. The war in Ukraine has sent energy prices soaring, putting pressure on households already facing higher costs and insecurity. Our prices go up as factory costs go up, which are passed on to our customers,” Hornby said.
FTSE 100 down more than 1%, Ocado up 8%
European markets are under pressure after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned US interest rate hikes would need to rise further.
The FTSE 100 index was 1.2% or 94.29 points lower at 7464.89, in line with the selling level of the Paris and Frankfurt benchmarks.
The London Board of Discounts is led by non-dividend-paying stocks including United Utilities and Airtel Africa.
Two blue-chip companies reported today saw their shares fall in weak market conditions, with Premier Inn owner Whitbread down 23p to 3369p and packer DS Smith lower than zero. ,9p at 289.3p.
Ocado led a short rally as speculative takeover continued to boost grocery warehouse technology shares, which rose 8% or 35.1p to 465.1p.
The FTSE 250 index fell 131.29 points to 18,440.16, with Virgin Money falling 3 per cent or 5.3p to 148.7p amid concerns about the UK outlook.
Shares fell in open trade
The FTSE is down 1% in the first minutes of trading in London.
Here is your key market data.