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UK TOP NEWS SUMMARY: Labour Pledges To Nationalise Part Of BT

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

Alliance News 15 November, 2019 | 11:22AM
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(Alliance News) - The following is a summary of top news stories Friday.

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COMPANIES

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Labour has promised a British Broadband public service that will deliver free full-fibre internet to every home and business by 2030, if it wins the general election. The party intends to bring parts of BT Group into public ownership under plans it said will result in a massive upgrade in the UK's internet infrastructure. The multibillion-pound plan - one of the major announcements of the election campaign so far - will aim to put an end to patchy and slow coverage, boosting 5G connectivity across the country. Jeremy Corbyn will make the announcement in Lancaster on Friday and describe the new free public service as central to Labour's plans to transform the country and economy, bringing communities together in an "inclusive and connected society". BT's arms-length Openreach division maintains most of the UK's broadband infrastructure.

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Fellow broadband provider TalkTalk Telecom Group said it swung to first-half profit and affirmed its guidance for the full-year. In the six months to September 30, revenue fell 3.6% to GBP792.0 million from GBP822.0 million last year, on declining carrier revenues and the firm exiting mobile virtual network operations, a measure it announced in May 2017. The company swung to a pretax profit of GBP1.0 million from a GBP4.0 million loss last year. TalkTalk recommended an interim dividend of 1.00 pence, flat year-on-year.

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Chinese technology giant Alibaba confirmed its plans to list on the Hong Kong stock exchange, in an initial public listing aiming to raise up to USD13.8 billion. The enormous IPO will give Hong Kong's financial authorities a huge boost as the city is battered by pro-democracy protests that have tarnished its image for security and hammered the Hang Seng Index. Alibaba shares will be offered at a maximum of HKD188 per share, the ecommerce giant said in a statement. The company is offering 500 million shares plus an over-allocation option, meaning the sale could be worth as much as USD13.8 billion. It would be one of the biggest IPOs in Hong Kong for a decade, after insurance giant AIA garnered USD20.5 billion in 2010.

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Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto said it will take part in and underwrite a fundraise by investee Energy Resources of Australia. ERA, which is listed in Sydney, is looking to clean up and close the Ranger uranium project area in the Northern Territory of Australia. Rio Tinto owns a 68% stake in ERA. ERA has been looking to raise AUD476 million, or USD323.4 million, to go towards the plan, but the firm has been unable to secure third-party underwriting support, so Rio Tinto will step in to "ensure ERA has the funds it needs".

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MARKETS

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London shares were mostly lower, with housebuilder Berkeley Group the worst blue-chip performer, down 3.0% after being downgraded by Goldman Sachs. BT was down 2.3%. Wall Street was pointed to a higher open on US-China trade optimism.

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FTSE 100: down 0.3% at 7,267.75

FTSE 250: down 0.1% at 20,215.15

AIM ALL-SHARE: up 0.5% at 891.32

GBP: firm at USD1.2875 (USD1.2855)

EUR: firm at USD1.1027 (USD1.1000)

GOLD: flat at USD1,464.95 per ounce (USD1,465.47)

OIL (Brent): down at USD61.80 a barrel (USD62.95)

(changes since previous London equities close)

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ECONOMICS AND GENERAL

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Inflation in the euro area eased slightly in October, eurostat reported, while the bloc's trade surplus grew. The annual inflation rate for the euro area was 0.7% in October, slowing from 0.8% the previous month. In October 2018, inflation stood at 2.3%. Inflation in October in the full EU28 was 1.1%, easing from 1.2% the prior month. The annual rate a year earlier was 2.3%. The highest contribution to the annual euro area inflation rate, eurostat said, came from services, food, alcohol, & tobacco, non-energy industrial goods, and energy.

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The European Commission launched legal action against Britain on Thursday for breaching its EU obligations, after London said that it would not nominate an EU commissioner ahead of a snap general election next month. London's decision, announced in a letter late Wednesday, cast doubt on commission president-elect Ursula von der Leyen's plans to take up office on December 1. Delays in approving her top team had already pushed back the initial November start date. The commission should be composed of one top official from each EU member state. Nonetheless, von der Leyen's team announced Thursday that she planned to stick to the December schedule. "The aim of president-elect von der Leyen remains to have the new college take office on December 1," a spokesman said, adding: "We are currently assessing carefully the next steps." London now has until next Friday, November 22, to respond to the EU infringement procedure, the commission said. Under the process, the EU's executive can refer Britain to the European Court of Justice.

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The US economy is a global standout at the moment, showing none of the signs of trouble that have preceded other recessions, at least not yet, Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell said Thursday. On a day when Germany and China each reported growth in the latest quarter of just 0.1%, Powell said, "the US economy is the star economy these days" with growth of about two percent. And "there is no reason to think that cannot continue," he told the House Budget Committee, quickly adding that he was worried about "jinxing" the outlook. In the final day of back-to-back appearances before Congress, Powell noted that while US manufacturing is in recession – partly due to lingering trade tensions – the consumer remains strong.

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Top US White House adviser Larry Kudlow said that the long-awaited mini trade deal with China was on track as part of a wider pact. "The deal is not complete but we've made enormous progress," he told reporters, adding that the talks were "coming down to the short strokes". His comments follow a week of unease about the much-vaunted talks, after US President Donald Trump dismissed Chinese claims of a plan to roll back tariffs as the negotiations progress, while reports said Beijing was uneasy about some aspects of the developing deal. And on Thursday, China's commerce ministry had said the US lifting of tariffs was a "condition" to reaching the preliminary deal – suggesting it was not imminent.

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Protesters who have barricaded themselves in a Hong Kong university partially cleared a road they were blocking and demanded the government commit to holding local elections on November 24. One lane of the Tolo Highway was cleared in both directions on Friday morning, but the road remained closed after workers sent to clean up shattered glass and other remaining debris were threatened by protesters with bows and arrows and hard objects, authorities said. The protesters at the Chinese University of Hong Kong said the road would be blocked again and warned of other unspecified consequences if the government didn't meet their demand within 24 hours.

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The BRICS group of emerging nations - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - reiterated their support for multilateralism and free trade, but slammed protectionism. In a joint declaration at the close of a two-day summit in Brasilia, the BRICS countries underscored "the fundamental importance of a rules-based, transparent, nondiscriminatory, open, free and inclusive international trade."

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Copyright 2019 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security Name Price Change (%) Morningstar
Rating
BT Group PLC 190.18 GBX -0.29

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