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FTSE 100 Live: FCA money laundering allegations, easyJet profit boost, Aviva reveals cost of cold snap


These are all people. Tomorrow: Diageo

This concludes our blog post today after easyJet raised its earnings guidance following stronger-than-expected flight demand ahead of Christmas.

The Evening Standard City Desk will return tomorrow at 7am where we will cover the trade news from Diageo, owner of Guinness Gin, Tanqueray and Smirnoff Vodka.


FTSE 100 Closes 12 Points: Evening Summary

The FTSE 100 closed down 12 points to 7745 at the end of the London afternoon trading session, further dampening hopes that the index could hit a record high before the end of the month.

Industrial stocks fell the most, averaging 1.15%, while Ocado performed the worst, down 4.94%.

However, it was a better day for the pound, which rose about half a cent against the dollar as the dollar weakened amid fears that Germany sending tanks to Ukraine would escalate war with Russia.


Sales of over £5m London mansions reach record high

A record number of mansions were sold in London in 2022, showing that the metropolitan’s super-wealthy are shrugging off the economic downturn to get their hands on seven-figure luxury properties.

Over 600 homes were sold in the capital last year, valued at over £5 million, the highest level of real estate business Savills has seen since listing began in 2006.

Read more here


New York stocks open lower on disappointing tech earnings and escalating war in Ukraine

Shares tumbled in the first minutes of trading on Wall Street as investors worried about a combination of disappointing earnings from key tech companies and fears that Germany would send tanks to Ukraine, tantamount to an escalating war with Russia.

The Nasdaq fell 1.7% while the S&P fell 1.2% and the Dow fell 0.8% immediately after the first bell.

Microsoft shares fell 3.3% after a warning about the future of its cloud division, in addition to ongoing server issues that appear to be affecting users worldwide today.


City comment: More London businesses are closing than opening. This should be alarming

My God, what a treasure trove of information (useful and useless) is The State of London, the GLA’s annual statistical survey of urban intelligence, which was released this week.

Among all this actual junk and garbage, one piece of information really caught my attention. For the first time since the start of accounting (although this is only 2017), the number of opened businesses in the capital is consistently ahead of the number of closed ones.

A chart illustrating this trend shows business births hovering between 20,000 and 25,000 per annum, while closings are well below 20,000. Then, as Covid takes over in 2020, the closing line begins to rise rapidly. , overtaking the birth rate at the beginning of last year. It is alarming that over the past 12 months London has seen an average of over 5,000 businesses closing per quarter.

It’s no secret that London’s economy has been hit harder by Covid than any other region as its lifeblood of daily commuters and tourists has dried up. It is now rapidly recovering, but large parts of central London, such as the City, are still markedly quieter than before the hybrid revolution changed the way we operate forever. During the week, transport networks are still about 15% quieter than pre-Covid and traffic has yet to fully recover. And of course the endless strikes don’t help.

For many smaller and more vulnerable retailers, catering establishments such as pubs and other businesses in London’s vast ecosystem, all of this can make the difference between life and death. And you will miss them when they are gone.


FCA says five people charged with conspiracy to commit insider trading and money laundering

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) opened a criminal case against five people on suspicion of conspiracy to commit insider trading and money laundering.

The FCA alleges that Redinel Corfusi, Horta Corfusi, Yva Spahiou, Rogério de Aquino and Dema Almesiade conspired to commit insider trading between December 17, 2019 and March 25, 2021.

The FCA alleges that Mr. Corfusi used confidential insider information, which he gained access to as an analyst in his former position at Janus Henderson, to ensure timely and profitable trading in 49 companies through accounts owned by his co-conspirators.

In each case, the defendants used a derivative product called “Contracts for Differences” on each of these companies, betting that the value of the shares would decline after the announcement. In doing so, they were able to make a profit of around £1.5 million.

All five also face money laundering charges related to more than 170 cash deposits totaling around £200,000.

The case has been formally referred to Southwark Crown Court where the defendants will appear on 22 February 2023 for a plea hearing and adjudication of the case. All defendants pleaded not guilty.

The FCA said Janus Henderson cooperated fully with the FCA investigation.


Australian startup belatedly launches rescue operation for collapsed Britishvolt

An Australian startup has submitted an 11-hour bid to save the collapsed Britishvolt electric battery business.

Recharge Industries said it filed a takeover bid late Tuesday for a firm that planned to build a £3.8bn gigafactory to make batteries in Northumberland.

It comes a week after Britishvolt collapsed into administration and laid off most of its roughly 300 employees.

The company appointed administrators at EY after failing to raise enough money for its research and development of its Cambois site.

read more here


Shares as owner Cannes Lions Ascential announces portfolio split

Ascential has announced plans to split its business, leaving its events arm behind the Cannes Lions ad festival to remain on London’s list, but other units to be sold or relocated.

The events and data firm provided an update to its strategic outlook and also reported a 49% rise in sales to £520m in 2022 and adjusted underlying profit of £118m, beating the upper end of analysts’ expectations.

The FTSE 250 firm currently proposes a series of actions that “improve each business’s position to self-drive and achieve its growth ambitions, and realize the greatest short- and long-term shareholder value.”

Shares rose more than 21%, or 45.2 pence, to 253.2 pence.

Read the full story here.


Aviva Forecast Raises Stocks, FTSE 100 Higher

Aviva calmed investors’ nerves today after saying that an expected £50m loss from the December cold snap is unlikely to affect its dividend.

Shares jumped 3%, or 13.2p, to 454.5p as Aviva’s general insurance division stuck to its 2022 guidance, dispelling fears that had been piling up in the insurance sector after Direct Line stopped paying dividends. due to a sharp rise in weather claims.

Aviva’s resilience did little to boost sentiment for Churchill’s owner Direct Line, which fell 3.1p to 172.6p as it also suffered a downgrade by Berenberg analysts.

FTSE 250-listed Direct Line said this month that weather claims nearly doubled initial expectations, adding to continued pressure from auto claims inflation.

Aviva said today it will cost around £50m to support its customers during and after the December freeze, but its weather conditions in 2022 have been broadly in line with long-term averages.

The company’s dividend and return on equity guidance has not changed: it recently said it expects to pay around 31p per share, equivalent to £870m, in 2022.

The recovery in Aviva’s share price was accompanied by a 1% gain for Lloyds Banking Group and NatWest, as the FTSE 100 rose 7.84 points to 7765.20. Blue chip stocks came under pressure, including BT Group, which fell 1.85p to 129.2p.

The FTSE 250 Index outperformed, climbing 64.98 points to 19,920.29 after sentiment was bolstered by some encouraging trading news.

Among them was electronics supplier DiscoverIE, which rose 3%, or 23p, to 815p after record third-quarter sales beat its full-year earnings guidance. Broker Peel Hunt has confirmed its price target of 1000 after the update.

Guardrail maker Hill & Smith also impressed investors by adding 14p to 1,274p after a brief update showed 2022 earnings should be at the top of City’s forecasts.

On AIM, construction supply chain Lords Group Trading jumped 8.5p to 85.5p as it said it aims to generate £500m in revenue by 2024, helped by its latest sales and ahead of forecast earnings. .


FTSE 100 higher, Ascential up 24% in FTSE 250

Shares of IAG, owner of British Airways, topped the FTSE 100 index today as the airline’s value recovery received another boost from easyJet’s improved earnings outlook.

Shares of IAG rose 4%, or 5.9p, to 172.2p, while easyJet jumped 9%, or 42p, to 510p and Wizz Air rose 199p to 3,089p in the FTSE index. 250.

The FTSE 100 added 10.81 points to 7768.17 and Aviva added 3%, or 11.7 pence, to 453 pence after reassuring investors they would weigh the impact of cold weather announcements. Conversely, shares in competitor Direct Line fell another 1.5 pence to 174.4 pence under pressure.

The FTSE 250 rose 89.30 points to 19,944.61 and the Ascential rose 24%, or 50.8 points, to 258.8 after the events and data group announced plans to split its portfolio.

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