ADVFN Morning London Market Report: Friday 15 November 2019

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London open: Stocks start higher on US-China trade hopes


London-listed stocks edged higher at the end of the week after a top White House official told reporters that a US-China trade deal was “near”, assuaging investors’ concerns of a potential ‘false dawn’ in negotiations.

Nonetheless, in remarks made overnight, following an event at the US Council on Foreign Relations, America’s national economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, also said that the US President was not yet ready to ‘sign off’ on an agreement.

Against that backdrop, as of 0853 GMT the Footsie was trading higher by 16 points to 7,308.38 and the FTSE 250 was up by 45.47 points at 20,276.68.

Gains for London’s top-flight index came despite Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn’s announcement of his plans to nationalise BT Group’s fixed line network, purportedly so as to give all Britons free access to full-fibre broadband, financed by a tax on technology giants and via a Green Transformation fund.

To take note of as well, in a letter sent to the US Federal Communications Commission the day before, US attorney general, William Barr, warned that Chinese telecommunications equipment makers, Huawei and ZTE, were not trustworthy.

Early gains for shares in London followed a mixed session on Wall Street due precisely to investors’ caution regarding the most likely endgame to trade negotiations between the two economic powers.

Commenting on Thursday’s price action, Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “Sentiment also took a knock due to apparent disagreements between the US and China over a failure to agree on specifics when it comes to agricultural purchases, and also pointed to the difficulties in trying to square the circle of an agreement.

“Essentially, we appear to be back where we were a few weeks ago, with the only difference being there doesn’t appear to be any desire to make things worse between the two parties for the time being.”

For later in the session, the spotlight was expected to be on a spate of economic releases scheduled for later in the session, including readings on US industrial production and retail sales for the month of October.

Across the Channel meanwhile, the market spotlight would be on euro area consumer price data for that same month.

No major economic reports were scheduled in the UK.

BT hit by nationalisation threat

Shares of BT Group were in the red but had come off their worst levels despite a pledge from Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to nationalise the carrier’s fixed-line arm, Openreach. BT chief, Philip Jansen, said that Corbyn’s plans – including a pledge to offer full fibre to all households – carried a price tag of roughly £100.0bn.

AstraZeneca announced on Friday that the European Commission has approved ‘Qtrilmet’ – metformin hydrochloride, saxagliptin and dapagliflozin – modified-release tablets to improve glycaemic control in adults with type-2 diabetes. The FTSE 100 pharmaceuticals giant said the approval was based on data from five phase 3 trials, which evaluated combinations of ‘Forxiga’ – dapagliflozin – and Onglyza on a background of metformin in patients with inadequately controlled type-2 diabetes.

PHE Hotel Group on Friday said it was making some changes to its board after a shareholder revolt at May’s annual meeting against two board members. The company said deputy chairman Kevin McAuliffe was stepping down from his posts on the audit and remuneration committees as he was “no longer deemed to be an independent director”, but would stay on in his main role overseeing corporate governance. It added that Nigel Jones would retire from the board before the 2020 annual general meeting.

Future reported that its full year profits almost tripled, rising by 189% to £12.7m on the back of a 70% leap in revenue. The publisher said the surge in turnover was largely due to the performance of its higher margin media division, which saw its online audience grow by 44%, or 31% in terms of its like-for-like portfolio


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