FTSE rises as global stocks hover at record highs – live updates
A commuter walks along the Thames Path in view of skyscrapers in the City of London square mile financial district – Hollie Adams /Bloomberg
UK to lay out trans-Pacific trade deal plans in coming weeks
Britain will publish details of its plans to join a trans-Pacific trading group in the coming, trade minister Liz Truss said today, after the 11 member group agreed to allow the UK to start the process of joining the pact.
Energy and consumer staples boost FTSE 100
London’s FTSE 100 index edged higher today, boosted by gains in heavyweight energy and consumer staples stocks.
The blue-chip index rose 0.5pc, with oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell climbing 0.7pc and 1pc respectively on higher crude prices.
Large dollar-earning consumer staples companies including Reckitt Benckiser Group, Diageo and Unilever made some of the biggest gains on the index.
Bloomsbury Publishing also jumped following a strong earnings update.
The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index advanced 0.3pc, touching a record high.
Oil rally extends
Yesterday’s oil rally is extending today, as Brent crude stays firm after closing above $ 70 a barrel for the first time in two years.
West Texas Intermediate rose yesterday to $ 68.87, its highest since October 2018, while Brent peaked at $ 71.34, before they both pared gains.
The rally followed an upbeat demand assessment from OPEC+ and the waning prospect of a speedy return of Iranian barrels.
FTSE lifts on opening
The FTSE 100 has opened up 0.25pc, trading around 7,098 points.
The FTSE 250 has lifted 0.32pc on opening, after closing at a record high yesterday.
Lockdown reading boosts Bloomsbury to record financial year
Publisher Bloomsbury has reported a record financial year as reading enjoyed a renaissance during pandemic lockdowns.
Revenues at the Harry Potter publisher rose 14pc to £185.1m in the year ending 28 February, up £22.3m than the previous 12 months.
Pre-tax profit was also boosted 22pc and the company has posted a special dividend of 9.78p per share as a result.
“The popularity of reading has been a ray of sunshine in an otherwise very dark year. In an outstanding year for Bloomsbury, we delivered record results,” chief executive, Nigel Newton, said this morning.
“Our diverse consumer portfolio included backlist titles which really struck a chord with readers throughout the pandemic on themes such as humanity, social inclusion, escapism, fantasy, cookery and baking.”
Wizz air swings to £500m loss
A Wizz Air Airbus A320 at Luton Airport – Andrew Boyers /Reuters
Wizz Air swung to a loss of £489m in the last 12 months, from a pre-tax profit of £254m, as the travel industry continues to struggle under the weight of the pandemic.
The budget airline carried just 10.2m passengers in the 12 months to March, a 75pc decrease from the previous year in what chief executive Jozsef Varadi said was “one of the most challenging years for the aviation industry”.
He added: “We expect to fly around 30 per cent of our capacity in the first quarter of F22 and are resuming all cash contributing flying subject to government imposed restrictions.
“Furthermore, unless we see an accelerated and permanent lifting of restrictions we expect a reported net loss during F22. For F23 we see a strong trading environment and we plan to operate our full capacity.”
Wizz Air’s annual revenue was down 73pc
Trans-Pacific trade deal members agree for UK to start joining process
Member nations of a Trans-Pacific trade pact have officially agreed to allow the UK to start the entry process, in a potential boost for Britain’s post-Brexit economy.
Japanese Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said he welcomed Britain beginning the process to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
“I think there’s a big meaning to this from a strategic viewpoint of strengthening economic relations between Japan and the United Kingdom,” Nishimura said.
The United Kingdom’s admission into CPTPP would bring the nominal gross domestic product of the zone covered by the pact almost on par with that of the European Union, he added.
The CPTPP removes 95pc of tariffs between its members: Japan, Canada, Australia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Singapore, Mexico, Peru, Brunei, Chile and Malaysia. Unlike the EU, it does not aim to create a single market or a customs union.
“The commencement of an accession process with the United Kingdom and the potential expansion of the CPTPP will send a strong signal to our trading partners around the world,” CPTPP’s 11 member countries said in a statement.
Britain made a formal request to join the trade pact in February.
FTSE to open flat
Good morning. The FTSE 100 is expected to open mostly unchanged today, following a mixed session overnight in Wall Street and Asia. Global stocks are looking for fresh catalysts and news events as they hover at record highs.
With little economic data expected this week, traders will be waiting for US payrolls data on Friday which should create a steer on the outlook for inflation. There is still concern that the pandemic recovery will cause the economy to overheat and prompt central banks to withdraw policy support earlier than anticipated.
5 things to start your day
1) Wetherspoons boss calls for more EU migration to tackle bar staff shortage: The Brexit-backing boss of JD Wetherspoon has urged Boris Johnson to introduce a visa scheme for EU workers as British pubs and restaurants struggle to recruit staff in the post-pandemic labour market squeeze.
2) China drives rise in coal-fired power plants: The number of coal-fired power stations granted approval globally has risen for the first time since 2015 – with China making up two thirds of all plans for the heavily polluting plants.
3) Shoppers face higher grocery bills as more EU red tape looms: Consumers are facing higher bills for their weekly grocery shop as EU red tape and the commodities boom threaten to push up the cost of food, experts have warned.
4) Virgin Media O2 sparks competition fears over BT investment hints: The newly merged Virgin Media O2 has risked igniting competition concerns by hinting it could support BT’s ultrafast broadband rollout.
5) Jammie Dodgers and Wagon Wheels maker sold to Italy’s Ferrero: Italian confectionery giant Ferrero has snapped up the maker of Jammie Dodgers and Wagon Wheels, taking a larger bite of the biscuit market after Britons stocked up on tea-time classics during the pandemic.
What happened overnight
Asian shares edged up to near three-month highs on Wednesday and global equities held steady near a record as data showing higher US manufacturing activity in May cheered investors looking for signs of a continued rebound in the world’s largest economy.
MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe was flat after setting a record intraday high and close on Tuesday. Its broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan ticked 0.08pc higher, and Japan’s Nikkei added 0.36pc.
Seoul’s Kospi gained 0.36pc and Australian shares rose 0.64pc.
Chinese blue-chips lagged as healthcare firms dropped a day after the sector was lifted by China’s announcement of a third-child policy.
Coming up today
Full-year results: Wizz Air, Bloomsbury Publishing, Schroder Real Estate Investment Trust
Economics: BRC shop price index, mortgage lending, consumer credit, money supply growth data (UK); monthly car sale figures (US)