UK TOP NEWS SUMMARY: EU Chief Warns Hopes Of Brexit Trade Deal Fading

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

Alliance News 16 September, 2020 | 11:02AM
Email Form

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

----------

COMPANIES

----------

Rome-based Eni and London-based BP have announced a new gas discovery in the Great Nooros area, located in the Abu Madi west development lease, offshore Egypt. Eni, through its subsidiary IEOC, holds a 75% stake in the license of Abu Madi, while BP holds the remaining 25% stake. The operator is Petrobel, an equal joint venture between IEOC and state company Egyptian General Petroleum. The oil and gas companies said the new discovery is located in 16 meters of water depth, 5 kilometres from the coast and 4 kilometres north from the Nooros field, discovered in July 2015. The preliminary evaluation of the well results, together with the recent discoveries performed in the area, indicates that the Great Nooros area gas in place can be estimated in excess of 4 trillion cubic feet. Eni said it, together with its partner BP, and in coordination with the Egyptian Petroleum Sector, will begin screening the development options of this new discovery.

----------

Hitachi said it will end business operations on its nuclear power plant construction project in the UK that was suspended in January 2019. Hitachi said it has made this decision given that 20 months have passed since the suspension, and the investment environment has worsened due to Covid-19. The Tokyo-based company said the Horizon project is a proposal by Horizon Nuclear Power Ltd, which Hitachi acquired in November 2012, to develop nuclear power stations comprising of two units in north-west Wales. Hitachi decided to suspend the project in January 2019 because it was clear that further time was needed to decide on a financing structure for the project and on the conditions for building and operating the nuclear power stations. This decision to end business operations on the Horizon project is not expected to have significant impact on Hitachi's business results as Hitachi already took an impairment loss and other expenses of JPY294.6 billion, about USD2.80 billion, in its financial 2019, due to the suspension of the project.

----------

Redrow reported a plunge in earnings for financial 2020 but said trading activity since the start of the new financial year has been encouraging. For its financial year ended June 30, Redrow posted pretax profit of GBP140 million, a 66% drop from GBP406 million recorded the year prior. The fall in profit was blamed on the Covid-19 pandemic as well as costs and impairments in connection with the scaling back of the London business. Revenue fell 37% to GBP1.34 billion from GBP2.11 billion, with completions also down 37% from 6,443 units due to the lockdown. No dividend was proposed in an effort to conserve cash. However, the Chester-based company said it expects to resume payouts in 2021, following its decision in March to cancel its interim dividend. For comparison, a final dividend of 20.5p was paid for financial 2019, taking the total payout to 60.5p. Looking ahead, Redrow noted it has seen encouraging trading since the start of the new financial year, with a record order book of GBP1.42 billion, up from GBP1.02 billion a year ago.

----------

Plus500 said it is confident in its outlook after an "outstanding performance" so far this year. The operational momentum achieved during the first half has continued into the second half to date, the contracts for difference technology platform said. Revenue, in particular Customer Income, has remained strong in the second half thus far, while a "high level of new customers" have been onboarded. "While market conditions remain uncertain, macroeconomic and sector-specific newsflow continue to provide significant trading opportunities for customers. Therefore, the board remains very confident about the outlook for Plus500, particularly given the company's outstanding performance so far this year," said Plus500 in its annual general meeting statement. The FTSE 250-listed company added that it is well placed to deliver a sustainable growth in future years due to its technology, flexible and scalable business model, strong financial position and a track record of delivery against key performance metrics.

----------

MARKETS

----------

London stocks remained subdued on Wednesday with all eyes now on the US Federal Reserve as the central bank unveils its latest interest rate decision after the European market close. Wall Street was pointed to a higher start ahead of the open, with the Dow Jones pointed up 0.3%, the S&P 500 up 0.5% and the Nasdaq up 0.6%.

----------

FTSE 100: up 0.1% at 6,111.73

FTSE 250: down 0.3% at 17,768.01

AIM ALL-SHARE: up 0.5% at 973.35

GBP: higher at USD1.2930 (USD1.2858)

EUR: higher at USD1.1878 (USD1.1847)

GOLD: higher at USD1,964.10 per ounce (USD1,951.10)

OIL (Brent): higher at USD41.40 a barrel (USD40.16)

(changes since previous London equities close)

----------

ECONOMICS AND GENERAL

----------

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen complained that hopes of a post-Brexit trade deal are fading and warned Britain that its attempts to modify its withdrawal agreement are illegal. "With every day that passes, chances for a timely agreement do start to fade," the president of the European Commission said in her annual State of the EU address. "Negotiations are always difficult, and we are used to that...But talks have not progressed, as we would have wished. And that leaves us very little time."

----------

The UK government's Eat Out to Help Out dining discount scheme helped to push down inflation in August, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed. The annual inflation rate slowed sharply to 0.2% in August from 1.0% in July. Month-on-month, prices fell by 0.4% in August after 0.4% growth in July. The ONS noted that the government's Eat Out to Help Out scheme - which ran in August and discounted meals out up to a maximum of GBP10 per person - pushed down prices in restaurants and cafes, while other downwards contributions came from air fares and clothing prices. Prices at restaurants and cafes fell 2.6% in the year to August, after growth of 3.4% in July. Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician for Economic Statistics at the ONS, said: "The cost of dining out fell significantly in August thanks to the 'Eat Out to Help Out' scheme and VAT cut, leading to one of the largest falls in the annual inflation rate in recent years."

----------

The eurozone's trade surplus with the rest of the world increased year-on-year, as a fall in imports outstripped a decline in exports, data from Eurostat showed. July exports from the euro area fell 10% from a year ago to EUR185.2 billion, while imports to the bloc amounted to EUR157.3 billion, down 14% on a year prior. As a result, the single currency bloc's surplus stood at EUR27.9 billion in July, up from EUR23.2 billion in July a year ago. Seasonally-adjusted, the eurozone's trade balance stood at EUR20.3 billion in July, up from June's EUR16.0 billion. Exports increased 6.5% month-on-month on a seasonally-adjusted basis, while imports rose by just 4.2%.

----------

Japan's parliament elected Yoshihide Suga as prime minister, with the former chief cabinet secretary expected to stick closely to policies championed by Shinzo Abe during his record-breaking tenure. Suga, 71, won an easy victory, taking 314 votes of 462 valid ballots cast in the lower house of parliament, where his ruling Liberal Democratic Party holds a commanding majority. He bowed deeply as lawmakers applauded following the announcement, but made no immediate comment. "According to the results, our house has decided to name Yoshihide Suga prime minister," lower house speaker Tadamori Oshima announced after the votes were counted. Suga is expected to announce his cabinet later Wednesday, with local media reporting he will retain a number of ministers from Abe's last government. Suga, who on Monday was elected leader of the LDP, is viewed as a continuity candidate and has said his run was inspired by a desire to pursue Abe's policies.

----------

US President Donald Trump said Tuesday that a coronavirus vaccine may be available within a month – an acceleration of even his own optimistic predictions – but added that the pandemic could go away by itself. "We're very close to having a vaccine," he told a town hall question-and-answer session with voters in Pennsylvania aired on ABC News. "We're within weeks of getting it you know – could be three weeks, four weeks," he said. Democrats have expressed concern that Trump is putting political pressure on government health regulators and scientists to approve a rushed vaccine in time to help turn around his uphill bid for reelection against challenger Joe Biden on November 3. Experts including top US government infectious diseases doctor Anthony Fauci say vaccine approval is more likely toward the end of the year.

----------

Copyright 2020 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

Email Form

About Author

Alliance News

Alliance News provides Morningstar with continuously updating coverage of news affecting listed companies.

Audience Confirmation


By clicking 'accept' I acknowledge that this website uses cookies and other technologies to tailor my experience and understand how I and other visitors use our site. See 'Cookie Consent' for more detail.

  • Other Morningstar Websites
© Copyright 2020 Morningstar, Inc. All rights reserved.

Terms of Use        Privacy Policy        Cookies