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TOP NEWS SUMMARY: Oil Prices Surge As Trump Threatens Iran Again

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

Alliance News 16 September, 2019 | 11:36AM
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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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Direct Line Insurance Group said it has appointed the former deputy chief executive of mutual insurer Royal London Group as chief financial officer from October 1. Tim Harris will succeed Penny James, who was promoted to chief executive officer after being chief financial officer for a year since March 2018. The London-listed insurer appointed Deputy Chief Financial Officer Neil Manser as interim CFO following the promotion of James to the top job in May. Harris was deputy CEO and group finance director of Royal London Group until July 12. He joined Royal London as group finance director in May 2014 and was additionally appointed as deputy CEO in January 2018. Previously, he worked at insurer Aviva and accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing will try to appeal directly to shareholders after London Stock Exchange Group rejected its bid, the Financial Times reported. HKEX has organised a round of meetings with shareholders and regulators in an effort to persuade the LSEG board to soften its stance, according to the FT. LSEG has turned down the GBP29.6 billion bid over what it sees as "fundamental flaws", including possible issues with regulation and a belief that the amount offered was too low, calling it "substantially short of an appropriate valuation".

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Man Group said it has promoted Independent Non-Executive Director John Cryan to chair, with effect from January 1, 2020. He will replace Ian Livingston, who will step down at the FTSE 250 investment management firm after three years in the role since 2016. Cryan has been part of Man Group's board for four years since 2015, and his most recent executive role was as chief executive officer at German lender Deutsche Bank, for two years from 2016 to 2018.

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Tullow Oil has made another oil discovery on the Orinduik block in Guyana, the FTSE 250 firm announced. Drilling at the Joe-1 exploration well confirmed 14 metres of net oil pay in the Upper Tertiary age. This is the first discovery in the Upper Tertiary, Tullow said. Tullow and partners will now look at the Joe-1 data alongside that from the Jethro-1 discovery made in August. The "significant" discovery at Jethro found 55 metres of net oil pay in the Lower Tertiary.

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MARKETS

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London shares were lower amid rising tensions in the Middle East, although the FTSE 100's losses were limited by gains for oil majors Royal Dutch Shell and BP, which were tracking a dramatic rise in crude prices. The pound was lower against the dollar ahead of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's first meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Wall Street was pointed to a lower open.

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FTSE 100: down 0.7% at 7,354.68

FTSE 250: down 0.6% at 20,082.63

AIM ALL-SHARE: down 0.3% at 883.70

GBP: down at USD1.2435 (USD1.2455)

EUR: soft at USD1.1061 (USD1.1078)

GOLD: up at USD1,502.63 per ounce (USD1,496.00)

OIL (Brent): up at USD65.74 a barrel (USD60.32)

(changes since previous London equities close)

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ECONOMICS AND GENERAL

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Oil prices made their biggest jump since the Gulf War after President Donald Trump warned that the US was "locked and loaded" to respond to attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure that Washington blamed on Iran. It is the first time the president has hinted at a potential American military response to the drone attacks, which slashed Saudi oil production by half and led both the kingdom and the US to announce they may tap their strategic reserves. "Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!" Trump tweeted. China on Monday urged the US and Iran to "exercise restraint...in the absence of a conclusive investigation or verdict". The Tehran-backed Huthi rebels in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war, claimed Saturday's strikes on two plants owned by state energy giant Aramco.

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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will stress his "no ifs, no buts" commitment to an October 31 Brexit in his first face-to-face talks with EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker. The PM said he believes "passionately" that a new Brexit deal can be struck with Brussels ahead of his meeting with the European Commission president. Johnson will use the meeting in Luxembourg to underline his opposition to delay to Britain's departure - despite the legislation passed by Parliament requiring him to seek an extension in order to avoid crashing out without a deal on Halloween. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Johnson said he was working "flat out" to reach an agreement, but reiterated that he would take the UK out of the bloc even if a deal cannot be reached at the European Council summit next month. The PM will also hold talks with Luxembourg's prime minister Xavier Bettel and the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Monday.

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The price of new properties on the UK market fell in September, as normally eager buyers hesitate due uncertainty caused by the looming Brexit deadline, according to Rightmove. The Rightmove Monthly House Price index revealed that the price of newly marketed property fell by an average of 0.2% in September from a year before. The number of sales agreed dropped by 5.5% from a year before, compared to an increase of 6.1% in August, as all regions saw declines. The number of newly marketed properties was down by 7.8% in September compared to the same period a year before, with all regions down. In particular, London saw a drop of more than 20% in new properties coming to market, as some owners wait for a clear Brexit outcome.

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