London Stock Exchange has best quarter for two years

The London Stock Exchange’s FTSE 100 managed to record its best quarterly performance for two years.

London Stock Exchange has best quarter for two yearsHowever the three months run ended on a downbeat note as investors seized the opportunity to cash in some of their profits.

Overall the FTSE 100 finished the day down 118.39 points at 6773.04., with worries about the lack of resolution over Greece’s problems, uncertainty over US interest rates and, closer to home, pre-election jitters after the campaign began in earnest on Monday.

But over the first quarter it rose 4.93%- its biggest increase since the three months to March 2013. During the course of the three months it also hit a new closing peak of 7037 just over a week ago.

European stock markets also performed well during the quarter, but badly today as well.

The gains followed the European Central Bank’s decision to introduce – finally – quantitative easing in an attempt to boost the eurozone economy and combat the threat of deflation. The FTSEurofirst 300 rose almost 16% over the quarter, its best first quarter since 1998, while Germany’s Dax was the star performer, up 22%.

In the US it was a different story. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down around 120 points by the time London closed, on course for just a small rise on the quarter, taking a breather after record breaking runs last year.

Elsewhere the oil price came under pressure, with Brent crude down nearly 2% at $55.81 ahead of a resolution to the nuclear talks with Iran which – if they end favourably – could see a new supply of oil hit world markets.

Meanwhile, new Chinese stimulus measures proved a disappointment, providing little support for the commodity sector.

Individually, Meggitt fell 14.5p at 548.5p as Exane BNP Paribas began coverage of the engineering group with an underperform rating and 475p price target.

B&Q owner Kingfisher jumped to the top of the FTSE 100, up 15.8p to 380.6p as it announced plans to return £200 million to shareholders and shut 60 underperforming UK stores.

Among the mid caps, Mitie dropped nearly 6% to 276p after the outsourcing group said full year profits were likely to be lower than expected, due to cuts in local government spending on home care and social housing.

Finally Findel fell 19.75p to 232.25p after the home shopping and educational supplies business said full year results would be ahead of last year but slightly below market expectations. It blamed a poor final quarter performance from its education division, with the prospect of further spending cuts per pupil whichever of the two main political parties gains control following the election

March 31, 2015  Tags: , , , , , , ,   Posted in: Business Growth, Business Services, Business Win, Global Businesses, Growing Business, Growing Economy, Share Floatation, Uncategorized, Winning Businesses  No Comments

FTSE breaks 7,000 record

Britain’s benchmark FTSE 100 share index has risen above the psychologically important 7,000 level for the first time.

FTSE breaks 7,000 recordThe FTSE 100 has broken through the 7,000 level for the first time in its history, propelled by investor hopes that interest rates will stay at record lows and signs that Greece will stave off a deeper financial crisis.

Britain’s benchmark index of shares climbed 60.19 points to finish on Friday at 7,022.51, a 0.9pc gain that took the index to its highest ever close. A new intraday record was also set, with the index touching 7,024.21 during the afternoon.

It was a landmark moment for the index, as the 7,000 level is seen as psychologically important. The FTSE 100, which was launched in 1984, first breached the 6,000 mark in 1998 and it has taken another 17 years to surpass the next milestone.

The blue chip index has set a number of all time highs in recent weeks, having finally overcome its dotcom bubble peak last month after a wait of more than 15 years.

As with stock markets on the continent and on Wall Street, investors in British shares have been buoyed by the economy boosting measures taken by central banks around the world.

The European Central Bank’s £700 billion quantitative easing programme, which began earlier this month, has been a major driver of the stock market’s rally.

The US Federal Reserve has also helped. On Wednesday, a statement from the US central bank suggested its first interest rate hike since 2006 was months away, easing concerns that a tightening of monetary policy was imminent.

UK wage growth data released the same day and a relatively cautious set of minutes from the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee also prompted investors to push back their forecasts for a rate rise on this side of the Atlantic.

The QE programmes undertaken by the Fed and the Bank of England, combined with record low interest rates, have seen investors pile into shares in recent years, a trend that is now being encouraged by the ECB’s own bond-buying.

Whilst this is great news for UK investors, other stock markets have also been breaking new records.

In the US, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average have regularly hit record highs over the past two years. Germany’s DAX, which includes dividends, hit a new peak of 12,167 on Monday after surging 22.8pc since the start of the year. Similarly, the CAC 40 in France has jumped 19.1pc in 2015 to its highest level since 2008.

March 23, 2015  Tags: , , , , , ,   Posted in: Business Finance, Business Growth, Business Win, Finance Business, Global Businesses, Growing Businesses, Growing Economy, Share Floatation, Uncategorized, Winning Businesses  No Comments

FTSE 100 closes at new record level

The Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 100 share index has hit a new high- passing through the previous record set on 30 December 1999.

FTSE 100 closes at new record levelThe FTSE closed at a new peak of 6,949.63. The previous record close was 6,930.2, set at the height of the dotcom boom.

Earlier in the week, the index also set a new intra day high of 6,958.89- which surpassed the previous figure of 6,950.6, also set on 30 December 1999.

Shares rose after eurozone finance ministers approved reform proposals submitted by Greece.

The proposals were a condition for a four month extension of Greece’s bailout- which also had an impact on Greek stocks, with the benchmark Athex index ending the day 9.8% higher.

Stock markets around the world have been buoyed by economic stimulus programmes put in place by central banks after the global financial crisis that hit in 2008.

Whilst the growth of the FTSE 100’s rise is good news- it has been slower than those of stock markets in the US and Germany. Both the US’s S&P 500 and Germany’s Dax 30 exceeded their millennial year peaks in 2007 and they are now about 45% and 65% higher respectively

As such it is hardly impressive that, more than 15 years later, the FTSE 100 has finally breached its previous record close.
Savers switch

Analysts say that low interest rates for savers have encouraged people to invest in the stock market.

The FTSE 100 advanced for a record six straight years after it was launched in 1984.

One of the rockiest periods in its history was during the financial crisis in 2008 as the FTSE 100 had its worst year on record in 2008, when the crisis wiped 31.3% of the index’s value.

But on 24 November 2008 the index made its biggest one day gain of 9.8% when the US federal reserve stepped in to rescue Citigroup.

The FTSE 100’s biggest one day fall occurred on 19 October 1987, dubbed Black Monday, when ripples from Wall Street’s stock market crash prompted a 12.2% drop.

February 26, 2015  Tags: , , , , ,   Posted in: Business Finance, Business Growth, Business Win, Growing Business, Uncategorized, Winning Businesses  No Comments

Dyson invests £1 billion in UK engineers

James Dyson is to invest £1 billion in research and development in the UK to produce hi-tech exports.

Dyson invests £1 billion in UK engineersThe firm has committed £1 billion to develop 100 new products over four years.

“Export is vital for Britain to create wealth,” said founder and chairman James Dyson. “In order to export you have to have high technology products that are better than those produced elsewhere in the world.”

To boost UK research and development, engineers who come to study in UK universities should be encouraged to work in the UK after their course has finished, Mr Dyson said.

“One important thing we should do is to keep those engineers in Britain. A lot of them come from overseas, in fact, 90% of researchers at British universities come from overseas, and we must encourage them to stay here.”

“I would change our immigration laws to allow the right sort of people to stay here,” he said.

“I think it’s a European Union dominated by Germany, and in our particular field we have these very large German companies who dominate standards setting and energy reduction committees, and so we get the old guard and old technology supported and not new technology.

“I want to keep EFTA – European free trade – and free movement of peoples, but I don’t see that we need to be dominated and bullied by the Germans.”

Dyson’s £1 billion investment plan represents a significant increase in R&D spending at the company, which first made a name for itself selling bagless vacuum cleaners. Since then it has produced fans, heaters and powerful hand dryers for toilets.

Dyson also announced an extra £45 million investment in research at UK universities. The company has already made a commitment to spend £5 million on a robotics lab at Imperial College London, but there was no indication as to which other institutions would receive funding.

In January, the firm said it would invest £250 million to expand its Malmesbury research and development campus, and create 3,000 jobs.

Dyson also announced an investment of £200 million for manufacturing expansion in South East Asia. A proportion of the investment will go to its West Park motor factory in Singapore.

Dyson faced criticism for a 2002 decision to shift its vacuum cleaner manufacturing to Malaysia with a loss of hundreds of jobs.

Mr Dyson said; “We manufacture where our suppliers are in South East Asia and Singapore.”

He added that his family and firm paid UK taxes. In the past there have been reports of schemes being set up in locations including Malta for tax purposes, then wound down.

“It’s quite clear and quite simple,” Mr Dyson said. “Our companies are based here in Britain, I and my family are based here in Britain, and we all pay British taxes. We paid £330 million in the last three years. We have no companies based offshore at all now.”

November 21, 2014  Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,   Posted in: Business Development, Business Exports, Business Jobs, Business Sales, Business Win, Exporting Businesses, Global Business, Growing Business, Technological Businesses, Uncategorized, Winning Business  No Comments

Rugby world cup worth £1 billion to UK economy

Next year’s Rugby World Cup will add £982 million to the UK economy-  says a report commissioned by the tournament’s organising committee.
Rugby world cup worth £1 billion to UK economyThe research, by accountancy firm EY predicts that the tournament will attract a total of 466,000 visitors who will spend as much as £869 million.

The 2015 Rugby World Cup will be hosted in 11 cities across England and Wales.

In terms of single sporting events only the football World Cup brings in more paid spectators, the report added.

Spending on food and drink by ticketholders will generate as much as £32 million in revenue, EY calculated, and a further £13 million will be spent in “fanzones” – city centre shopping attractions with a Rugby World Cup theme.

The report also estimated the benefit to host cities of improved infrastructure, through investment in transport and stadia.

Debbie Jevans, who is in charge of England Rugby 2015, said the report proved that the tournament was “set to create a wide range of economic opportunities across many different sectors”.

She added: “Whether through investment in infrastructure, supporting jobs or generating revenue in ‘fanzones’, the economic benefits will be shared around our 11 host cities and beyond.”

Eleven cities across England and Cardiff have been selected to host matches at Rugby World Cup 2015. These include Brighton, Cardiff, Exeter, Gloucester, Leeds, Leicester, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes and Newcastle.

November 17, 2014  Tags: , , , ,   Posted in: Business Growth, Business Sales, Business Win, Global Business, Growing Business, Growing Sales, Uncategorized, Winning Business  No Comments

Napoleons hat sold for £1.53 million

A South Korean collector has paid £1.53 million at auction for a hat worn by French Emperor Napoleon.
Napoleons hat sold for £1.53 millionThe two pointed hat-  a style widely worn by military officers at the time, was apparently donned by Napoleon during the Battle of Marengo in 1800.

The Battle of Marengo was fought on 14 June 1800 between French forces under Napoleon Bonaparte and Austrian forces near the city of Alessandria, in Piedmont, Italy.

The French overcame General Michael von Melas’s surprise attack near the end of the day, driving the Austrians out of Italy, and enhancing Napoleon’s political position in Paris as First Consul of France in the wake of his coup d’état the previous November.

The hat was later offered as a gift to Napoleon’s veterinarian.

The Monaco royal family put the hat on sale, along with hundreds of other items of Napoleon memorabilia, at the auction in Fontainebleau, near Paris.

The collection was put together by Prince Louis II of Monaco, the great-grandfather of current monarch Prince Albert.

The family are selling the pieces to fund a palace restoration.

The auction house listed the hat with an expected selling price of between £250,000 and £325,000, but experts had predicted the bidding would go far higher.

The South Korean buyer eventually paid £1,200,000, however with added fees bringing the final price almost 1.53 million.

The bicorne is one of only 19 of Napoleon’s hats thought to still exist – the emperor is said to have worn some 120 similar hats during his career.

Although the two-pointed hat was a common feature of military uniform, Napoleon wore his sideways, apparently to make him more visible on the battlefield.

Napoleon declared himself emperor in 1804 and waged war with other European powers, conquering much of the continent, before his final defeat led by Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June 1815. Wellington’s army withstood repeated attacks by the French and drove them from the field while the Prussians arrived in force and broke through Napoleon’s right flank.

November 15, 2014  Tags: ,   Posted in: Business Win, Uncategorized, Winning Business  No Comments

Aldi creating 35000 new UK jobs

Aldi is to create 35,000 new jobs in Britain as it almost doubles the total number of stores over the next eight years.

Aldi creating 35000 new UK jobsThe German discount supermarket aims to have 1,000 stores by 2022 and will open 54 this year and 60 to 65 next year.

Aldi confirmed plans, first announced in September- to invest £600 million as it expanded operations in Britain.

Earlier this year the retailer said it aimed to reach the 1,000 stores milestone by 2021.

Aldi said the new jobs will include a range of management roles, both in-store and within Aldi’s offices, as well as shop floor and distribution centre positions.

Along with its fellow German counterpart Lidl, the chain has been putting the “big four” supermarket chains under pressure with lower prices that have proved popular with consumers.

Aldi has a 4.8% share of the UK grocery market, according to Kantar Worldpanel – higher than Lidl’s 3.5% and closing in on Waitrose’s 5.1% share.

By comparison, Tesco has a 28.8% share and Asda is second with 17.4% for the 12 weeks to September.

Roman Heini, group managing director of Aldi UK, said the company was also buying more locally produced products and expanding its fresh food range. “This approach is helping us to grow our market share and driving our investment in the UK,” he said.

Its UK pre-tax profits rose 65% to £260.9m for the 12 months to 31 December, 2013 on a 35% increase in turnover to £5.27bn.

Aldi has more than 7,000 stores across three continents.

November 8, 2014  Tags: , , , , ,   Posted in: Building Businesses, Business Growth, Business Jobs, Business Sales, Business Win, Global Business, Growing Business, Uncategorized  No Comments

ANZ bank announces record annual profit

One of Australia’s biggest banks ANZ, has announced a record full year net profit of £4 billion- up 15% from a year earlier.
ANZ bank announces record annual profitIn the statement the lender also said its cash profit rose 10% to £3.91 billion during the same period- the cash profit number is the bank’s preferred measure of performance and came in line with expectations.

ANZ attributed its results, in part, to gains in its Asian operations.

The bank’s annual results follow an announcement from rival National Australia Bank (NAB) on Thursday of a 10% fall in annual cash profit, due mainly to problems at its UK operations.

NAB’s £2.47 billion profit result was described as disappointing by its chief executive, Andrew Thorburn.

ANZ and NAB are among the top four banks in Australia, together with Westpac and Commonwealth Bank. ANZ is regarded as the nation’s third biggest bank by market value.

Australia’s banking sector, particularly the so-called top four, is regarded as being highly profitable.

ANZ Chief Executive Mike Smith said it was a good performance from the bank and noted its overseas operations.

“The result also saw continued momentum from our international business in Asia Pacific, Europe and America,” he said, “which now accounts for 24% of group revenues.”

Mr Smith said the annual results provided the bank with more options for growth “without the need to take on more risk”.

“With the phase of high investment in Asia largely complete, we are seeing a greater share of Asia-led revenue growth translate to profit,” he said.

ANZ is not growing revenue enough to offset these issues, he added.

“So for us, we think the next few years will be slightly more challenging and a test for ANZ’s ability to withstand the good times with the bad in Asia.”

Shares in the bank rose on Friday, closing the trading day up more than 0.7%.

The rise follows a suspension from trade on Monday after the lender accidentally published part of its full-year profit results.

November 1, 2014  Tags: , , , , , ,   Posted in: Business Finance, Business Growth, Business Jobs, Business Win, Finance Business, Uncategorized  No Comments

US Federal Reserve ends QE programme

The US Federal Reserve has said that it is ending its quantitative easing (QE) stimulus programme which it began in 2008.

US Federal Reserve ends QE programmeThe Fed said it was confident the US economic recovery would continue, despite a global economic slowdown as the targets for inflation and reduction in unemployment were on track, the Fed said in a statement.

The central bank, which also said it would not raise interest rates for a “considerable time”, has gradually cut back QE since last year.

The statement suggested that although the jobs market is strengthening, it is still not back to normal- which is why interest rates are being held.

“The Committee continues to see sufficient underlying strength in the broader economy to support ongoing progress toward maximum employment in a context of price stability,” the Fed said.

Several analysts seized on the Fed’s comments about slack in the labour market. Previous policy statements have referred to “significant underutilization of labour resources”.

However Wednesday’s statement left out the word “significant”.

QE started in November 2008 amid the financial crisis and fears that the US, and the rest of the world, might be facing another great depression.

The Fed’s traditional ammunition, cutting interest rates, was running low – there was one more cut the following month, taking the main interest rate target down to practically zero.

So the central bank began buying financial assets and creating new money to pay for them.

In total, the Fed has added $3.7 trillion worth of assets to its holdings, about an eightfold increase.

Recent data has pointed to increase spending by consumers and businesses. However, the housing market is still struggling and pay is stagnant.

There is concern about the long-term impact of the US’s persistent low inflation, which risks undermining consumer spending as people delay purchases in the hope that prices will fall further.

October 30, 2014  Tags: , , , , , ,   Posted in: Business Finance, Business Growth, Business Win, Finance Business, Growing Business, Growing Businesses, Growing Economy, Uncategorized  No Comments

UK insolvency rate falls to 8 year low

The rate at which UK citizens are becoming insolvent has fallen to its lowest since before the financial crisis, according to official figures.

UK insolvency rate falls to 8 year lowIn the 12 months to September 2014, just 0.22% of the adult population became insolvent.  This is the lowest rate since the spring of 2006, according to the Insolvency Service.

The number of people going bankrupt was the lowest for 14 years, as people turned to other forms of insolvency.

For many people it is cheaper, and less damaging, to apply for either Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) or Debt Relief Orders (DROs).

The forms of personal insolvency in the UK are:

  • Bankruptcy: The traditional way of escaping overwhelming debt. Ends after one year, but you are likely to lose all your assets, including your house, to pay something to the creditors
  • Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA): A deal between you and your creditors, overseen by an insolvency practitioner. Less stigma, less chance of losing your home, but involves paying some of your debts in one go
  • Debt Relief Orders: Introduced in April 2009, these allow people with debts of less than £15,000 and minimal assets to write off debts without a full-blown bankruptcy.

In particular, DROs have continued to prove popular, rising by 2.7% in the year to September.

DROs were introduced in 2009, and enable people with debts of less than £15,000 to be declared insolvent.

Some debt charities would like that amount raised to a higher level.

“Today’s figures show that the personal insolvency rate is at its lowest level since 2006,” said Graham Horne, the Insolvency Service’s deputy chief executive. “It is still important that people experiencing financial difficulties should seek early advice,” he added.

October 25, 2014  Tags: , ,   Posted in: Business Finance, Business Survival, Business Win, Finance Business, Uncategorized  No Comments