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FTSE 100 Live 17 June: Index fades, London retakes stock market lead

FTSE 100 Live (Evening Standard)
FTSE 100 Live (Evening Standard)

London has overtaken Paris to retake its crown as Europe’s biggest stock market.

The change was revealed on a day of resilient trading for both markets, albeit with the continued focus on political uncertainty in France.

London’s performance was held back by the reaction of mining stocks to disappointing industrial figures from China.

FTSE 100 Live Monday

  • London retakes stock market crown

  • Home REIT in refinancing update

  • B&Q owner Kingfisher's CFO to go

James Watt to launch influencer marketing venture after BrewDog exit

Monday 17 June 2024 13:10 , Daniel O'Boyle

BrewDog founder James Watt is launching a new influencer market venture, a month after stepping down as chief executive of the craft beer giant.

On Monday, Mr Watt announced plans for Social Tip, a new app platform which he said is designed to allow normal consumers to become influencers.

The business will allow Britons who post on social media about brands they like, which are signed up to Social Tip, to be rewarded with money based on the level of engagements.

Read more here

Market snapshot: FTSE 100 flat

Monday 17 June 2024 12:40 , Daniel O'Boyle

The FSTE 100 is now flat for the day as early gains disappear.

Take a look at our latest market snapshot:

Macron gives France its own ‘Truss moment’

Monday 17 June 2024 11:36 , Daniel O'Boyle

What is it about Liz Truss and the French?

A few years ago she plunged Anglo-French relations into the deep freeze by saying the jury was out on whether France was Britain’s friend or foe. French officials then looked on with glee when her Chancellor’s September 2022 mini-budget threw British capital markets into chaos.

Now the French financial establishment is asking whether it is in the middle of “un moment Liz Truss” with stocks plunging and bond yields soaring after President Macron’s shock decision to test the electorate’s love for the far-Right with full-scale parliamentary elections.

Read more here

Small businesses 'emerging from survival mode' as lending grows

Monday 17 June 2024 10:37 , Daniel O'Boyle

Business lending in the UK recovered in the first quarter of 2024 as small businesses “emerge from survival mode”, but is still well below 2022 levels, new figures show.

According to UK Finance, businesses borrowed a little over £4 billion in the first three months of the year, the highest amount since 2022, after rising interest rates made borrowing challenging last year.

However, that’s still almost £1 billion short of the figures two years ago.

UK Finance said: “The turnaround in gross lending, with higher approvals signalling that a further quarter of growth is likely, may indicate that some SMEs are now emerging from survival mode and looking to the future.”

Weaker miners impact FTSE 100, Ascential higher in FTSE 250

Monday 17 June 2024 10:27 , Graeme Evans

Shares in Cannes Lions host Ascential were today 4.5p higher at 335p on the opening day of the advertising festival on the French Riviera.

With City investors due to hear from the FTSE 250-listed company in Cannes on Wednesday, Ascential revealed that its marketing division is on track for revenue growth in excess of 10%.

This includes strong growth from Lions delegates and sponsorship. The former EMAP business, which also hosts fintech events, added that its overall half-year performance is in line with forecasts.

The wider FTSE 250 index rose 27.40 points to 20,147.76, in line with the FTSE 100 as London’s top flight edged up 7.35 points to 8154.21.

Mining stocks held up the performance, with Glencore off 3.3p to 451.25p on the back of lower copper prices.

Sentiment towards Burberry was also impacted by figures from China’s economy, including the biggest drop in new home prices since 2015.

On the risers board, Legal & General recovered 2.3p to 227p after last week’s poor run.

UBS offers to reimburse former Credit Suisse customers 90% of Greensill funds

Monday 17 June 2024 10:15 , Daniel O'Boyle

Swiss banking giant UBS has offered to pay former Credit Suisse customers 90% of the funds they invested with failed specialist finance firm Greensill Capital.

UBS said the offer, which was launched on Monday, will remain open until July 31 and that it would put by 900 million US dollars (£710 million) in the second quarter to cover costs.

It stressed the provision would have no material impact on UBS.

Read more here

FTSE 100 higher as BT Group run continues, SSP downgrade hits shares

Monday 17 June 2024 08:55 , Graeme Evans

The FTSE 100 index is 0.4% or 31.20 points higher at 8178.06, despite a weaker session for mining stocks.

Rio Tinto fell 56p to 5163p and Anglo American by 9p to 2379.5p after China’s industrial production figure for May came in below expectations.

Legal & General shares rallied after last week’s weakness to lead the FTSE 100 index, up 4.7p to 229.4p.

The insurer was followed by BT Group, with the latest rise of 2.5p to 142.05p extending gains since Wednesday afternoon to 10%.

Homebuilding stocks also fared well as Taylor Wimpey improved 2.65p to 150.95p and Persimmon added 23.5p to 1443.5p.

The FTSE 250 index lifted 120.87 points to 20,241.23. Airport and railway catering firm SSP posted the biggest fall, dropping 2% or 3.2p to 165.4p after Goldman Sachs introduced a “Sell” stance with 160p target price.

Market snapshot: FTSE 100 edges up

Monday 17 June 2024 08:48 , Daniel O'Boyle

The FTSE 100 is a little higher this morning. Take a look at our latest market snapshot.

London back on top of France, at least on the stock market

Monday 17 June 2024 07:54 , Simon English

London had regained its crown as Europe’s biggest stock market, just two years after losing that status to Paris.

French stocks have suffered from the shock election called by President Emmanuel Macron last week which hit bank shares in particular.

Meanwhile, London shares after a long period in the doldrums are showing renewed signs of life with bankers saying clients are looking to get deals moving again, leading to floats and share price boosts.

The FTSE 100 is up 7% in the last year and opens today at 8147.

Investors say that stability – steady inflation and interest rates and the clear likelihood of a Labour victory in the coming election – at least give them some confidence about what is coming next,.

Bloomberg first reported the shift this morning.

“We like UK stocks for valuation reasons but also as a portfolio diversifier given their attractive sector profile,” said Ulrich Urbahn, head of multi-asset strategy and research at Berenberg. “On top of that, the political uncertainty seems to be higher elsewhere, at least for the moment.”

More trouble for Home REIT as it fails to refinance debts

Monday 17 June 2024 07:51 , Daniel O'Boyle

Troubled affordable housing investment trust Home REIT says it has failed to secure refinancing, and must now sell properties to repay its debts.

The business announced in February that it had started a refinancing process. However today it said “the Board has now concluded that it will not be able to secure a re-financing of the existing facility with the company's lender, Scottish Widows, on terms that it could recommend to shareholders, despite extensive and advanced discussions with a potential lender”.

Home REIT said it was continuing to engage with Scottish Widows, which is seeking “repayment of the loan balance in the short term”.

It will aim to repay the balance “in a timely manner” by selling more properties.

Home REIT had £131.8 million of borrowings as of 31 May, but this is set to decline to £105 million after recently agreed property sales close. The trust owns 1,765 properties, worth £314.1 million.

Home REIT has struggled since floating in 2020, amid misses rent payments from its tenants. Trading in its shares has been suspended for more than a year.

Bank of England rates decision on Thursday

Monday 17 June 2024 07:51 , Graeme Evans

The UK’s interest rate is set to be kept at 5.25% when Bank of England policymakers conclude their latest two-day meeting on Thursday.

The Bank is likely to want to see more evidence that services inflation and wage growth are slowing. The meeting also comes in the backdrop of the UK election campaign.

Economists at Bank of America expect a 7-2 decision, with August the most likely date for the first of two rate cuts in 2024.

Australia’s central bank makes its latest decision tomorrow followed by the UK, Switzerland and Norway on Thursday.

B&Q owner Kingfisher's CFO to go

Monday 17 June 2024 07:27 , Michael Hunter

Kingfisher, the owner of the B&Q home improvement chain, announced the departure of its chief financial officer this morning.

Bernard Bot will “retire” and his successor will be  Bhavesh Mistry, who is currently the CFO of British Land and was deputy CFO of Tesco between 2018 and 2021.

Bot was appointed to the job in 2019. After a surge in sales during the pandemic, B&Q has struggled with a string of profit warnings, putting pressure on management, including Thierry Garnier, its chief executive.

He said today: “Bernard has been integral to the transformation of our business ... and played a key role in leading us through the challenges of the pandemic.”

Bot said: “t has been a privilege to serve as CFO and I would like to thank Thierry and the Board for their confidence and support. ... There is still a lot to do in the coming months and I look forward to my remaining time at Kingfisher and supporting a smooth transition to Bhavesh in due course."

Mistry said: “The pace of change at Kingfisher in recent years has been impressive and I am looking forward to working with its talented teams.”

FTSE 100 seen higher but Nikkei 225 slides nearly 2%

Monday 17 June 2024 07:20 , Graeme Evans

Japanese stocks took a hit today as traders weighed up the outcome of last Friday’s central bank meeting,

Policymakers kept rates near 0.1% but said they would use next month’s meeting to consider whether to scale back their bond purchases.

The Nikkei 225, which topped 40,000 as recently as late March, fell 1.8% to 38,102 near the end of today’s session. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was broadly flat.

In London, the FTSE 100 index is forecast to follow last week’s 1.2% decline by opening about 44 points higher at 8190.

Oil prices have started the week slightly lower, with Brent Crude trading at $82.27 a barrel this morning.

Recap: Friday's top stories

Monday 17 June 2024 07:12 , Simon Hunt

Good morning from the Standard City desk.

About 33 years ago Robert Maxwell fell off his boat. (Or jumped, or was pushed, if you prefer.)

The human pain he left in his wake was quite something, and continues.

After he died, one of the things that emerged was that he had embezzled hundreds of millions of pounds from the pension funds of his publishing empire.

Back then, the rules on pensions were, erm, a bit slack.

They have since been tightened, rightly, but perhaps too much, in ways that are now hurting the economy and that can’t all be blamed on Ján Ludvík Hyman Binyamin Hoc (Maxwell’s original name).

His frauds were part of what pushed regulators into making pension funds play safe. They had to show that their assets could meet their liabilities at short notice.

In 2000 an accounting change, aimed at safety, pushed big pension funds out of shares and into UK bonds.

That hasn’t been all bad, since it created a massive market for government debt at a time when the government needed to borrow like almost never before.

Perhaps it is time to move on. Archie Norman, the chair of M&S thinks so.

Pension funds avoiding the stock market has just led to a dearth of capital for entrepreneurial companies of all sizes and increased pension deficits, since the return on bonds is bound to be lower than that from shares, in the long run, which is what pensions are all about.

“Most large corporate pension funds are invested for low risk and low return,” he notes. The situation in Europe is different, where funds are willing to invest for the longer term “creating a deep pool of capital, a thriving stock market and the growth of private companies”.

That sounds like a good thing to have. How about it Keir?


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