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TOP NEWS SUMMARY: UK House Sales Stronger In August - Rightmove

(Alliance News) - The following is a summary of top news stories ...

Alliance News 19 August, 2019 | 11:11AM
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(Alliance News) - The following is a summary of top news stories Monday.
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COMPANIES
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Standard Chartered could face a fine of more than GBP10.0 million for failing to prevent sanctions breaches, Sky News reported on Saturday. The Office of Financial Sanctions has notified Standard that it intends to impose the penalty in the coming weeks but the banking group is expected to appeal the fine. Earlier this year, the bank was fined more than GBP800.0 million in London and New York for violating sanctions against Iran.
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ConvaTec Group said it appointed John McAdam as chair, with effect from September 30, when Karim Bitar will join as chief executive officer. Also, the FTSE 250-listed medical products provider said, at the end of September, Rick Anderson will step down from his current interim role as executive chair to resume his role as a non executive director. McAdam has recently stepped down as chair of FTSE 100-listed firm Rentokil Initial and is due to retire as chair of blue-chip energy company United Utilities Group at the end of 2019, having taken up the role of chair of both companies in 2008.
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Mitie Group said it has agreed to sell its catering & hospitality business to CH&CO for up to GBP85 million in cash. As part of the deal, the outsourcing and energy services company said it will also enter into a strategic partnership with contract catering company CH&CO, ensuring that the Gather & Gather catering offer remains exclusive to Mitie's clients. The decision to sell Mitie Catering follows a strategic review of Mitie's business, it said, focusing in particular on how to ensure that the company's clients benefit from the "very best" in catering choice and competitive pricing. This concluded that Mitie Catering's long-term future would be better served by being part of a larger specialist catering group, rather than being self-delivered by Mitie.
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MARKETS
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London shares were higher amid hopes that Germany will announce a stimulus package, and that China is looking into reforming its lending system. Oil prices were higher, benefitting from the latest US-China trade developments. Wall Street was pointed to a higher open.
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FTSE 100: up 0.7% at 7,170.07
FTSE 250: up 0.7% at 18,951.53
AIM ALL-SHARE: up 0.3% at 862.79

GBP: down at USD1.2121 (USD1.2147)
EUR: up at USD1.1104 (USD1.1095)

GOLD: down at USD1,497.70 per ounce (USD1,509.11)
OIL (Brent): up at USD59.00 a barrel (USD58.56)

(changes since previous London equities close)
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ECONOMICS AND GENERAL
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Boris Johnson will tell Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron that there must be a new Brexit deal when he makes his first trip abroad as UK prime minister. Johnson will make clear to the French president and German chancellor that Britain will leave the EU on October 31 with or without a deal. The prime minister, who is heading to Berlin on Wednesday and Paris on Thursday, is expected to say Parliament will not and cannot cancel the outcome of the EU referendum. He will insist there must be a new deal to replace Theresa May's thrice-defeated Withdrawal Agreement if Britain is to leave with a settlement on October 31. However, Number 10 said it expects there will be "very little discussion" of Brexit during the visits, predicting that each side would state its position and then move on to other topics. Instead, it is thought the discussions will revolve around next weekend's G7 agenda - with topics including foreign policy, security, trade and the environment likely to dominate. Johnson will meet world leaders at the summit in Biarritz, France, where he will seek to spread the message of the UK's "renewed global reach".
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Eurozone inflation slowed more than expected in July, data from Eurostat showed, slipping further away from the European Central Bank's target of 2.0%. Inflation in the eurozone came in at 1.0% in July from 1.3% in June, which had been revised up from the initial 1.1% rate reported. July's reading was below the flash reading of 1.1% as well as consensus, as cited by FXStreet, of 1.1%. In July, the highest contribution to the annual euro area inflation rate came from services, followed by food, alcohol & tobacco, non-energy industrial goods and energy prices. Eurozone core inflation - which excludes energy, food, alcohol & tobacco prices - slowed to 0.9% from 1.1% seen in June.
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The price of new properties on the market declined to a lesser extent than usual in August, the Rightmove Monthly Housing Price index showed Monday, pushing the annual rate to a nearly one-year high. The price of newly marketed property fell by an average of 1.0% in August, Rightmove showed, as new-to-the-market sellers at this time of year tend to have a more pressing need to sell, and price more cheaply to attract holiday-distracted buyers. However, Rightmove noted that buyers seem much more focused on securing a property this year in contrast to recent summers. The online property portal described August as delivering a "better performance than usual", with the highest number of sales agreed in August for four years.
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Washington and Beijing are working actively to revive negotiations aimed at ending the trade war that has rattled world markets, President Donald Trump's chief economic advisor said Sunday. If teleconferences between both sides' deputies pan out in the next 10 days "and we can have a substantive renewal of negotiations," Larry Kudlow said on "Fox News Sunday," "then we are planning to have China come to the USA and meet with our principals to continue the negotiations." That left it uncertain, however, whether a Chinese delegation would be coming to Washington next month, as a White House spokesperson predicted after US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin left a round of trade talks in Shanghai in July.
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China has lashed out at Taiwan over its offer of political asylum to participants in Hong Kong's pro-democracy protest movement, a day after hundreds of thousands of people marched peacefully in the latest massive demonstration in the Chinese territory. The government of Taiwan, a self-ruled island that China considers its own territory, strongly supports the protests, and Hong Kong students in Taiwan held events over the weekend expressing their backing. Taiwan's president made the asylum offer last month, though it is not clear if requests have been received. On Monday, Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the Chinese Cabinet's Taiwan Affairs Office, said Taiwan's offer would "cover up the crimes of a small group of violent militants" and encourage their "audacity" in harming Hong Kong and turn Taiwan into a "heaven for ducking the law".
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An Iranian oil tanker held for six weeks in Gibraltar is on its way towards Greece, according to maritime tracking website marinetraffic.com. The Adrian Darya 1, formerly the Grace 1, was captured on July 4 off Gibraltar over suspicions it was carrying Iranian oil to war-torn Syria in violation of EU sanctions, and subsequently became the subject of a diplomatic dispute. The destination port is registered as Kalamata and the supertanker is due to arrive there on Sunday, according to the website. It is not clear however if this is the vessel's final destination. Iran's ambassador to Britain, Hamid Baeidinejad, confirmed in an Instagram post early on Monday that the tanker had left Gibraltar - a British overseas territory - "for international waters after 45 days." Iran has insisted the tanker is not going to deliver its oil to Syria, the Greek authorities said.
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