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FTSE 100 Live 12 April: No London record after US stocks plunge but index still closes up 0.9%

FTSE 100 Live 12 April: No London record after US stocks plunge but index still closes up 0.9%

Slender growth in February today fuelled hopes that the UK economy is out of recession.

The performance underpinned mid-cap shares in a session when the FTSE 100 topped 8000 thanks to stronger oil and mining stocks.

US banks including JP Morgan are due to report earnings later, while Ben Bernanke’s review of Bank of England forecasting highlighted ‘deficiencies’

FTSE 100 Live Friday

  • FTSE 100 tops 8000

  • GDP figure points to recession exit

  • FCA issues motor finance warning

Recap: Yesterday's top headlines

Friday 12 April 2024 06:49 , Simon Hunt

Good morning from the Standard City desk.

Even just a few days ago, the route for markets seemed clearer.

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Inflation was under control nearly everywhere that matters, even if the Fed was making noises suggesting otherwise. That was just the US central bank chief Jay Powell making sure we didn’t get ahead of ourselves.

In the UK, May inflation figures would come in at 2% or lower, City economists were sure, setting the scene for rate cuts that would take borrowing costs from 5.25% at present to 4% by Christmas.

All this might come too late to be of any use to Rishi Sunak’s election chances — but it was as nailed-on as these things ever get.

That fall in rates would see investors switch out of bonds, which would be paying lower returns, and into shares, giving stock markets, especially the one in London, a much-needed boost. Talk about Shell or other FTSE 100 giants decamping to the US in search of higher valuations could be safely put to bed.

But yesterday there was an American spanner in the works in the form of inflation still at 3.5%.

Jay Powell, it turns out, wasn’t kidding around. Market expectations for interest rate cuts in the US quickly shifted from June to September.

Middle East tensions show little sign of abating, which means oil prices that are volatile at best and heading higher most likely, only putting further pressure on inflation.

All of which means some economists are now predicting no rate cuts at all this year, a marked about face.

~

Here’s a summary of our top stories from yesterday:

UK GDP up 0.1%

Friday 12 April 2024 07:12 , Daniel O'Boyle

UK GDP edged up in February, by 0.1%.

That adds to hope that the UK has crept out of recession, though growth remains meagre. Whether the UK exited its end-of-2023 recession will be confirmed next month with March’s figures.

The figure is in line with economists’ expectations.

ONS Director of Economic Statistics Liz McKeown said: “The economy grew slightly in February with widespread growth across manufacturing, particularly in the car sector. Services also grew a little with public transport and haulage, and telecommunications having strong months.

“Partially offsetting this there were notable falls across construction as the wet weather hampered many building projects.

'We can safely say' recession ended

Friday 12 April 2024 07:17 , Daniel O'Boyle

Paul Dales of Capital Economics says today’s GDP figures mean the UK remaining in recession is highly unlikely.

Dales said: “GDP would need to fall by an unlikely 1.0% m/m or more in March for the economy to contract in Q1 as a whole. As a result, we can safely say that, after lasting just two quarters and involving a total fall in GDP of just 0.4% or so, the recession ended in Q4.”

FTSE 100 seen higher after US tech rebound, gold above $2390

Friday 12 April 2024 07:18 , Graeme Evans

The FTSE 100 index is poised to recoup yesterday’s losses after the S&P 500 index rose 0.7% and the Nasdaq Composite surged 1.7% to a fresh record.

Wall Street’s tech-led rally came after encouraging producer price figures lifted the interest rate outlook in the wake of Wednesday’s 3.5% CPI reading.

Factory gate prices rose by 0.2% last month, an improvement on 0.6% the previous month and slightly better than forecast.

Despite the figures, the chances of a US rate cut in the first half of the year appear remote.

Deutsche Bank now only sees one rate cut at December’s Federal Reserve meeting, followed by modest further reductions in 2025.

Beyond that, the bank expects the Fed to guide the policy rate back towards a neutral level that is likely just below 4% by the end of 2026.

The FTSE 100 index fell 0.5% or 37 points yesterday but is forecast by IG Index to open today’s session 32 points higher at about 7956.

Elsewhere, gold’s strong run continued this morning by touching a new record above $2390 an ounce while Brent Crude remained above $90 a barrel.

'Still very little momentum' in the economy

Friday 12 April 2024 07:30 , Daniel O'Boyle

Ed Monk, associate director, Fidelity International, comments on the latest UK GDP figures: “It has to count as good news that the economy is returning to growth - the GDP estimate today means the UK grew 0.4% across January and February. Last year’s recession appears to have been both shallow and short-lived but the fact remains that UK growth remains weak. We may be shaking off technical recession but that won’t change the feeling that there is very little momentum in the economy.”

Growth slows to 0.1% in February as economy hit by torrential rain

Friday 12 April 2024 07:45

The UK economy inched ahead by just 0.1% in February as torrential rain hit the construction industry.

Latest GDP figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggest that Britain is still stuck in a pattern of slow growth.

But it has at least escaped from the recession of the second half of last year with growth in two consecutive months for the first time since last September.

Read more here

FCA reminds motor finance firms to get ready for car loan payouts

Friday 12 April 2024 07:52 , Michael Hunter

The City’s main market watchdog has reminded motor finance firms to prepare for a looming wave of complaints and payouts for over-priced car loans.

The Financial Conduct Authority is running an investigation over incentives offered to sales people to promote more expensive loans instead of cheaper ones borrowers could have qualified for.

It could trigger the biggest series of consumer payouts since the multi-billion pound payment protection insurance scandal.

The FCA said today it wrote to companies “to remind them they must maintain adequate financial resources” to handle “any additional operational costs from increased complaints and, where applicable, to meet the costs of resolving those complaints.”

Some firms exposed to the so-called “discretionary commission arrangements” (DCAs) over car loans have already taken action. Close Brothers, the City bank, has identified where it can get hold of £400 million to settle claims. Lloyds Bank set aside £450 million.

The entire bill is expected to run into billions.

Barclays has taken findings from the Financial Ombudsman Service which upheld car loan complaints to judicial review, adding to uncertainty over what might happen next

Today, the FCA issued a reminder over preparations for possible payouts : “We have observed firms taking different approaches to account for the potential impact of previous use of DCA on their financial resources,” adding:

“We want to provide certainty to consumers and firms as soon as possible. However, that relies on receiving comprehensive data promptly from a range of firms, and potentially, the speed and outcome of any litigation.”

FTSE 100 nears 8000 on oil and mining strength, Fresnillo up 7%

Friday 12 April 2024 08:27 , Graeme Evans

The FTSE 100 index is back near a record high after oil and mining stocks drove a surprise improvement of 0.8% or 61.44 points to 7985.24.

BP lifted 11.3p to 531.3p and Anglo American by 5.5p to 2179p, while Mexico-based miner Fresnillo jumped another 7% or 41.5p to 620p thanks to the ongoing strength of the gold price.

The trio were joined by housebuilders, with Taylor Wimpey up 3.3p to 133.5p and Persimmon ahead by 33p to 1298.5p after JPMorgan unveiled improved price targets of 150p and 1510p respectively.

A shortened fallers board was led by Prudential, which retreated 11p to 705.6p.

Mid-cap stocks also experienced a strong end to the week, with the FTSE 250 index up 175.98 points at 19,962.85. Strong performers included Trainline, which added 4.8p to 364p.

Half of consumers ‘cut back on non-essential spending in first quarter of year’

Friday 12 April 2024 09:14 , Daniel O'Boyle

Half of consumers have cut back on their non-essential spending so far this year, with eating out the most likely cull from budgets, a survey suggests.

Just 3% of consumers say that they have been able to spend more on non-essentials in the first quarter, with 52% cutting back, according to the KPMG Consumer Pulse survey.

Eating out was the most common discretionary spending cut, listed by 72% of those who are scaling back, followed by clothing purchases (62%) and takeaways (58%).

Read more here

Campaign against Nationwide takeover of Virgin Money puts pressure on board

Friday 12 April 2024 09:46 , Daniel O'Boyle

A rearguard action by members of Nationwide Building Society to block its £2.9 billion takeover of Virgin Money is gathering steam, though the society insists it has no chance of success.

Mikael Armstrong, organiser of the campaign to give 16 million members a say on the controversial deal, has collected a petition of 1000 names who say it should go to a vote.

Armstrong has accused the society, the biggest building society in the world, of strong arm tactics.

Read more here

FTSE 100 above 8000

Friday 12 April 2024 09:49 , Daniel O'Boyle

The FTSE 100 is above the 8000 mark again, and just a few points away from what would be a record close.

London’s top flight hit as high as 8024 earlier this morning, and currently sits at 8009.

The all-time intradar high is 8046, while the record close is 8014. Both were achieved in February 2023.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

“The second monthly GDP increase in a row for the UK has triggered a ticker tape parade from investors as they become more hopeful the country will come out of recession.”

FTSE 100 near record close on commodity rally, Taylor Wimpey up 4%

Friday 12 April 2024 10:28 , Graeme Evans

The FTSE 100 index was today back over 8000 and in record territory after a resurgence fuelled by stronger mining, oil and housebuilding stocks.

The jump of 1.2% or 98.46 points to 8022.26 — above February 2023’s closing bell high of 8014 — represented a swift turnaround after the jitters caused by a hot US inflation reading.

Last night’s rally by Wall Street heavyweights set the tone for today’s strong London session, with big name commodity stocks higher on elevated prices of copper, oil and gold.

They included Shell, which stood at a record 2901p after adding another 2% or 45.5p, and BP after extending gains for the past month to 12% with a rise of 12.8p to 532.7p. Their momentum came with Brent Crude above $90.

And with copper prices near a 15-month high, the FTSE 100 leaders board also featured advances of 3% for Glencore, Antofagasta and Anglo American.

Fresnillo, which is the world’s leading silver producer and one of Mexico’s largest gold firms, led the risers board after gold traded above $2390 an ounce for the first time. Shares gained another 27.5p to 606p, continuing the recovery from a 15-year low of 445p in March.

The advance for gold due to safe haven and central bank buying has continued despite the negative impact of tight US monetary policy on the appeal of non-interest bearing bullion.

The uncertain outlook for mortgage rates also failed to dent housebuilding stocks after Taylor Wimpey rose 4% or 5.3p to 135.5p and Persimmon added 41.5p to 1307p.

Their progress followed today’s reassuring GDP reading and JP Morgan’s improved price targets of 150p and 1510p respectively.

On a shortened fallers board, Prudential fell 7.4p to 709.2p after sentiment towards the Asia-facing insurer was impacted by a 2.2% slide for Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index.

Mid-cap stocks experienced a strong end to the week, with the FTSE 250 index up 166.85 points to 19,953.72. Hochschild Mining rose 4p to 147p and the construction firm Morgan Sindall improved 65p to 2330p.

Petition against Nationwide deal grows

Friday 12 April 2024 10:33 , Simon English

A rearguard action by members of Nationwide Building Society to block its £2.9 billion takeover of Virgin Money is gathering steam, though the society insists it has no chance of success.

Mikael Armstrong, organised of the campaign to give 16 million members a say on the controversial deal, has collected a petition of 1000 names who say it should go to a vote.

Armstrong has accused the society, the biggest building society in the world, of strong arm tactics.

He said: “I started the petition to give Nationwide members a say on the proposed takeover of Virgin Money. At various stages along the way, I have been gagged or ignored - just like other Nationwide members.”

The society, led by Debbie Crosbie, thinks the deal will be good for members. It intends to run Virgin Money separately for the first four years before a proper integration begins.

read more here

Oxford Street rebound continues as NBA Store moves to new three-storey flagship, on former candy store site

Friday 12 April 2024 10:57 , Daniel O'Boyle

The NBA’s official merchandise store opened a new three-storey UK flagship on Oxford street today, at a location once occupied by an American candy shop, in latest sign of revival for London’s main retail throughfare.

The 9,000 square foot store replaces the previous, smaller NBA flagship location Foubert’s Place. It will include screens showing basketball highlights and measurements and handprints of NBA greats.

The site, at 267-269 Oxford Street near Oxford Circus, had been occupied by JD Sports until 2015, but in the years since it had been occupied by sweet shops American Candy and NY Candy. Westminster Council has taken steps to crack down on the candy shop “curse”.

Read more here

Gatwick ranked worst airport in UK for flight issues with average delay of 27 minutes

Friday 12 April 2024 11:18 , Daniel O'Boyle

Gatwick was the worst airport in the UK for flight delays last year, an investigation has found.

Departures from the West Sussex airport were an average of nearly 27 minutes behind schedule in 2023, according to analysis of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) data by the PA news agency.

The airport, which is the second-busiest in the UK, was badly affected by air traffic control (ATC) staff shortages across Europe last year, and repeatedly suffered the same problem in its own control tower.

Read more here

BP shares rise after reports UAE oil company had pondered takeover

Friday 12 April 2024 11:42 , Daniel O'Boyle

Shares in BP jumped on Friday after reports that the state-owned, United Arab Emirates oil company was considering, but had ruled out, a bid for the London-listed energy firm

BP’s shares had gained about 3.1% by mid-morning on Friday, in a day where other companies also fared well as the FTSE 100 pushed close to an all-time high. BP’s rival, Shell, also rose 2.1%.

Reuters reported on Thursday evening that the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) had decided that ultimately BP was not the right fit and would not match its strategy.

Read more here

Bernanke's Bank of England review imminent

Friday 12 April 2024 11:56 , Daniel O'Boyle

In five minutes, we’ll get former Fed chair and Nobel Prize winner Ben Bernanke’s review of the Bank of England’s forecasting methods.

Michael Brown, Senior Research Strategist at Pepperstone, says likely recomendations include:

The publication of forecasts for the future interest rate path, rather than the current approach of basing projections on both the market rate curve, and a constant rate over the forecast horizon

Increased use of economic scenarios, to explain the aforementioned high levels of uncertainty, and to replace the MPC’s ‘fan charts’

A switch to the Bank’s economic forecasts being produced by Bank staff, and a move away from the current ‘best collective judgement’ of the MPC

Petition against Nationwide deal grows

Friday 12 April 2024 12:10 , Simon English

A rearguard action by members of Nationwide Building Society to block its £2.9 billion takeover of Virgin Money is gathering steam, though the society insists it has no chance of success.

Mikael Armstrong, organised of the campaign to give 16 million members a say on the controversial deal, has collected a petition of 1000 names who say it should go to a vote.

Armstrong has accused the society, the biggest building society in the world, of strong arm tactics.

He said: “I started the petition to give Nationwide members a say on the proposed takeover of Virgin Money. At various stages along the way, I have been gagged or ignored - just like other Nationwide members.”

The society, led by Debbie Crosbie, thinks the deal will be good for members. It intends to run Virgin Money separately for the first four years before a proper integration begins.

read more here

Bernanke recommends "alternative scenarios"

Friday 12 April 2024 12:11 , Daniel O'Boyle

Ben Bernanke’s recommendations for the Bank of England include “the ongoing updating and modernisation of software,” “ a revamped forecasting framework”, “alternative scenarios” alongside central forecasts and a de-emphasis of central forecasts.

The Bank said: “The Bank welcomes and is committed to action on all 12 of the Review’s recommendations. The recommendations are wide ranging and interconnected. As such, the Bank will need to consider the design and associated implementation options in depth and will provide an update on proposed changes by the end of the year.”

GoCardless taps shareholders for £131 million after losses widen

Friday 12 April 2024 12:14 , Simon Hunt

London fintech GoCardless has tapped shareholders for another £131 million in funding after it reported a deepening in losses.

The Google-backed business said it had completed a £90 million equity raise from its parent company, as well as a £41 million cash advance. It was not clear how the company’s valuation was impacted by the fresh funding, but the firm warned of “reduced appetite to invest in later-stage growth companies.”

GoCardless reported a loss of £78 million in the year to June 2023, a 24% increase on the previous year as the firm bemoaned a higher rate of customer cancellations “partly due to merchants that had gone into administration...an impact of the wider economic environment.”

Read more here

Bank told to shape-up by Bernanke

Friday 12 April 2024 12:51 , Simon English

THE Bank of England was today handed 12 recommendations to improve its forecasting skills by former US Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke.

The Bank, which sets interest rates and aims to control inflation, came under fierce criticism for being too slow to recognise how quickly prices would rise after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Many City experts insisted it was obvious the Bank, on Threadneedle Street in the City, should have moved more quickly to put rates up.

It asked Bernanke to review its procedures, a report that has just been released.

That report found “serious problems” in the “deficiencies of the Bank’s forecasting infrastructure”.

Key software is out of date and insufficient resources are used to update models.

The Bank’s fixes to this issue have been “makeshift”, Bernanke said.

The Bank also needs more “detailed models of the financial sector, the housing sector and other key components of the UK economy”.

Read more about Bernanke’s review of the Bank here

Bank of England errors 'inevitable', Bernanke says

Friday 12 April 2024 12:54 , Daniel O'Boyle

Ben Bernanke says the Bank of England’s forecasting has ‘worsened’ in recent years, but that this was a trend across most UK forecasters.

His review says: “While the accuracy of the Bank’s economic forecasts has deteriorated significantly in the past few years, forecasting performance has worsened to a comparable degree in other central banks and among other UK forecasters.

“In short, given the unique circumstances of recent years, unusually large forecasting errors by the Bank during that period were probably inevitable. It is nevertheless important for the Bank to draw what lessons it can from the experience, including lessons regarding how it uses its forecasts, as other central banks will certainly do.”

Read more here

FTSE within a few points of record

Friday 12 April 2024 12:57 , Daniel O'Boyle

The FTSE 100 is even closer to a record high, now sitting at 8,035.50.

The highest mark reached during a day by the index was 8047.06.

Barring a disappointing afternoon, it should be set for a record close.

City Comment: There’s finally some optimism in the City. Will it last?

Friday 12 April 2024 13:09 , Jonathan Prynn

Well, there was certainly a big dollop of of feelgood Friday around in the City today. Perhaps it is the very long overdue arrival of proper spring weather.

Growth in February may only have been 0.1% but that did not stop the equity markets gambolling around like new-born lambs in a field.

The FTSE 100 finally got its act together to make that push through the 8000 mark and it seems only a matter of time before new all-time highs are set.

Read more here

Quoted motor insurance premiums ‘jump by 56.4% in year to February’

Friday 12 April 2024 13:39 , Daniel O'Boyle

The average quoted price of car insurance jumped by 56.4% in the year to February but there were some signs of a slowdown, according to an index.

In February, drivers most commonly received a quote between £500 and £749, insights firm Consumer Intelligence said.

The latest annual rise is lower than the 67.2% recorded in the year to the end of November, it added.

Read more here

FTSE 100 slips back, still on for record close

Friday 12 April 2024 13:46 , Daniel O'Boyle

The FTSE 100 has slipped a little bit further away from intraday record territory, but it remains within sight.

And a record close is still on the cards.

Having hit 8044.39 - less than three points from the all-time - it has slipped back slightly to 8,025.74.

That’s still up 102 points for the day, and ahead of the record closing figure of 8014.

Morgan Stanley on the hunt for British fintechs

Friday 12 April 2024 13:54 , Daniel O'Boyle

Morgan Stanley is poised to get its hands on a British fintech firm — but which one?

Read all about it from City Spy here

FTSE 100 drops 40 points in afternoon, no longer on for record close

Friday 12 April 2024 14:13 , Daniel O'Boyle

The FTSE 100 is barely above 8000 and no longer on for a record close after an afternoon slide.

It’s still well up for the day, but at 8,000.62 it’s off the highs seen in February 2023.

Big fallers include airlines EasyJet and IAG, as well as JD Sports.

Questions for Amigo as new adviser abandons interview

Friday 12 April 2024 14:18 , Daniel O'Boyle

Amigo Loans has stumbled on to stay as a listed entity, despite not having had a single customer for months.

It tried to restart its lending business last year, but gave up. It then (bizarrely) had a go at turning itself into a music and video streaming business, but plans were quickly abandoned.

In its latest roll of the dice, the company has hired Scottish billionaire Jim McColl to act as an adviser. 72-year-old McColl is a seasoned turnaround specialist, having previously transformed the fortunes of small London-listed business Clyde Blowers into a big multinational turning over £1.3 billion.

Could he pull off the same trick with Amigo?

Find out what happened when City Spy tried to have a chat

JP Morgan 'a victim of its own success'

Friday 12 April 2024 14:21 , Daniel O'Boyle

Kathleen Brooks, research director at BTX, says expectations were too high for JP Morgan Chase.

Results were strong, but shares in America’s biggest bank are still set to fall.

Brooks says: “JP Morgan is a victim of its own success, and the bar was high for these results. The market is nervous, since the next leg of the global stock market rally is hinging on whether corporations can deliver on profit growth. Today’s results from JPM suggest that nothing less than perfect will do, even though there was some promising news around charge offs and credit loss provisions. JPM, a notoriously conservative bank, set aside fewer reserves for loan losses than the market expected.

“The glitch in these earnings was the net interest income estimate for 2024. The bank still expects to make $90bn in net interest income, this was less than the $90.72bn the market had expected. Why is the market treating these results as a mini disaster, when the difference between net interest income forecasts is within the margin of error? This is where psychology comes in. The market is getting used to seeing blowout earnings and nice upside surprises, after the likes of Nvidia and JPM have posted amazing results in recent quarters. Anything less than a blow out quarter is a disappointment, even though JP Morgan has once again showed its prowess in generating revenue and still has a ‘fortress balance sheet’.”

Geopolitical concerns keeping FTSE from record high?

Friday 12 April 2024 14:33 , Daniel O'Boyle

The FTSE 100 still remains close to a record close, though further from an all-time intraday high.

Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown, says geopolitical concerns may have played a part in the afternoon dip.

Streeter said: ‘’The FTSE 100 has been tantalisingly close to breaching an all-time intraday record before a frustrating retreat in afternoon trade. The blue-chip index regained its mojo, as prospects brightened for the UK economy, while geopolitical tensions pushed up commodity prices, boosting miners and energy giants.

“Gold has touched fresh record highs amid concerns about an escalation of conflict in the Middle East, while Brent Crude jumped above $91 a barrel. However, warnings about an imminent attack by Iran on Israel appeared to have sparked nervousness among investors and saw the FTSE 100 slip further away from record levels.”

US stocks down

Friday 12 April 2024 14:37 , Daniel O'Boyle

US stocks have opened lower today, despite the big rise in the City, with banks falling despite stellar-looking results.

The S&P 500 is down 0.6% at 5,167.73, while the Dow Jones is also down 0.6%, to 38,245.07. The Nasdaq is down 0.8% to 16,314.10.

Big fallers include JPMorgan Chase, down 3.7% after its results last night.

FTSE 100 on for record close again

Friday 12 April 2024 14:40 , Daniel O'Boyle

The FTSE 100 is back on course for a record close again after a mini-surge as US stocks opened.

Despite the falls on Wall Street, the FTSE 100 rose a little further and now sits at 8,025.09.

Fresnillo continues to hold a familiar position atop the risers board, boosted by demand for gold. It’s up 40% in a little over three weeks.

Record close continues to be touch-and-go

Friday 12 April 2024 15:05 , Daniel O'Boyle

The FTSE 100 has dipped back below the mark that would mean a record close, as it looks like it will be a close call whether London’s top flight finishes at an all-time high.

It currently sits just three points short at 8,011.75.

UK 'can lead the charge' on space regulation, Viasat president says

Friday 12 April 2024 15:24 , Daniel O'Boyle

The president of satellite communications business Viasat says UK should “lead the charge” on regulating the space sector, as it opened its international HQ in London.

Viasat’s new base at Finsbury Square near Moorgate opened yesterday, in a vote of confidence for London as a centre for cutting-edge industries. At the office, engineers will work on 10 satellites that provide communications for shipping, internet for remote regions that currently have no connectivity and on-board wifi for planes.

Read more here

US consumer confidence dips

Friday 12 April 2024 15:42 , Daniel O'Boyle

US consumer confidence dipped in April, amid renewed inflation concerns.

The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index, released Friday in a preliminary version, slipped to 77.9, compared to 79.4 for March.

The index had been at historically low levels for much of 2023, even as inflation came back under control, before a dramatic recovery at the turn of the year.

US shares fall further

Friday 12 April 2024 15:46 , Daniel O'Boyle

Wall Street shares are even lower today following the decline in consumer confidence.

The S&P 500 is now down more than 1% to 5,144.87. The Dow Jones is down 0.9% at 38,104.68. The Nasdaq is down 1.3% at 16,225.11.

FTSE back below 8000, further from record

Friday 12 April 2024 15:54 , Daniel O'Boyle

The FTSE 100 is further from record territory again after US shares plunged when trading opened on Wall Street.

At 7,998.70, an all-time high close may be unlikely.

Asos to reveal sales slump amid turnaround efforts

Friday 12 April 2024 16:04 , Daniel O'Boyle

Supply chain challenges and weak consumer sentiment are expected to contribute to a decline in sales at Asos.

Many UK fast fashion retailers have suffered a difficult year or two amid significant pressure on household budgets, as well as tough competition from global rivals such as Shein and Temu and online marketplaces.

Shares in Asos are around 50% lower than the same period last year as a result.

Read more here

Poundland has no plans to revert all prices to £1, Pepco boss says

Friday 12 April 2024 16:21 , Daniel O'Boyle

Poundland won’t be going back to its pre 2019 pledge to sell all items for £1 any time soon, its boss has confirmed.

Pepco, a £5billion Polish company, owns the high street chain which started selling products between 50p and £5 five years ago. It has not confirmed any lowering of prices.

The Standard reported in 2021 that economic conditions had led the retailer to price one in ten products at more than £1 - although some were now less than the figure.

Read more here

What is the Bernanke review and what did it find?

Friday 12 April 2024 16:27 , Daniel O'Boyle

Former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has recommended that the Bank of England makes a series of changes to how it makes economic forecasts.

Here we explore why this review was called, what the changes are and how the Bank currently runs its forecasts.

No record as FTSE 100 closes up 0.9% at 7,995.58

Friday 12 April 2024 16:37 , Daniel O'Boyle

The FTSE 100 closed at 7,995.58 today, up 0.9% but short of the records it appeared set to break earlier in the day.

London’s top flight was as high as 8044.39 in the early afternoon, only three points off the all-time high, and 30 points above the record close.

But a poor reaction to US bank earnings and a disappointing consumer confidence survey in the country both hit stocks back in London.

Miners continued to make up the top risers, led by Fresnillo again.

EasyJet, IAG and JD Sports were among the fallers.