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LONDON BRIEFING: St James's Place appoints new chief Mark FitzPatrick

13th Sep 2023 07:48

(Alliance News) - Stocks are called to open lower on Wednesday, as traders remain cautious ahead of a highly awaited US inflation report.

The print could impact expectations around the future of interest rates in the world's largest economy.

According to FXStreet-cited consensus, headline CPI is expected to accelerate to 3.6% on an annual basis in August from 3.2% in July.

In the UK, the Office for National Statistics reported that the economy contracted by more than expected in July. The main contributor to July's fall was a contraction in services output, with industrial action by healthcare workers and teachers having taken place during the month.

In company news, BP said that its chief executive Bernard Looney has resigned "with immediate effect". Meanwhile, St James's Place named its new chief as former Prudential executive Mark FitzPatrick.

Here is what you need to know at the London market open:

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MARKETS

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FTSE 100: called down 0.3% at 7,505.50

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Hang Seng: marginally lower at 18,023.61

Nikkei 225: closed up 1.0% at 32,776.37

S&P/ASX 200: closed down 0.7% at 7,153.90

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DJIA: closed down 17.73 points, or 0.1%, at 34,645.99

S&P 500: closed down 25.56 points, 0.6%, at 4,461.90

Nasdaq Composite: closed down 144.28 points, 1.0%, at 13,773.61

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EUR: up at USD1.0736 (USD1.0729)

GBP: down at USD1.2448 (USD1.2477)

USD: up at JPY147.26 (JPY147.13)

Gold: down at USD1,908.81 per ounce (USD1,912.01)

(Brent): down at USD92.05 a barrel (USD92.26)

(changes since previous London equities close)

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ECONOMICS

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Wednesday's key economic events still to come:

11:00 CEST EU industrial production

07:00 EDT US MBA weekly mortgage applications survey

08:30 EDT US CPI

08:30 EDT US real earnings

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The UK economy contracted by more than expected in July, according to the Office of National Statistics on Wednesday. Monthly gross domestic product contracted by 0.5% in July, having grown by 0.5% in June. This came in worse than FXStreet-cited consensus, which had expected just a 0.2% contraction in GDP for July. The main contributor to July's fall was a 0.5% contraction in services output, after growth of 0.2% in June, the ONS explained. Industrial production was also on the back foot in July. On a month-on-month basis, industrial production fell by 0.7%, behind FXStreet-cited consensus of a 0.6% fall. In June, industrial production has grown by 1.8%. On an annual basis, industrial production rose by 0.4%, slightly behind market consensus of 0.5% growth. This was down from a 0.7% annual rise in June.

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BROKER RATING CHANGES

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JPMorgan places Whitbread on 'positive catalyst watch'

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MS raises Marks & Spencer to 'overweight' (equal-weight) - price target 280 (244) pence

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Peel Hunt raises Costain to 'buy' (add)

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COMPANIES - FTSE 100

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BP said Chief Executive Bernard Looney has resigned "with immediate effect", after admitting that he had not been "fully transparent" about historical relationships with colleagues. "Bernard Looney has notified the company that he has resigned as chief executive officer with immediate effect," the company said in a statement, adding that finance chief Murray Auchincloss would act as interim CEO. Looney, 53, is leaving the energy firm after less than four years in the role. BP said that in May last year its board received and reviewed allegations from an anonymous source relating to Looney's conduct "in respect of personal relationships with company colleagues". Looney disclosed "a small number of historical relationships with colleagues prior to becoming CEO" during the review, it added, while noting that no breach of the company's code of conduct was found. However, the board was given his assurances over his disclosures of past personal relationships, as well as his future behaviour, according to BP.

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St James's Place named Mark FitzPatrick as its new chief executive officer. The company said his appointment follows an extensive and robust selection process, considering both internal and external candidates. FitzPatrick will succeed Andrew Croft, who has been with St James's Place since 1993, serving as its chief financial officer from 2004 to 2017 and as CEO since 2018. He will step down as a director of the company on December 1 following an orderly handover and will remain with St James's Place into 2024 to assist the business "as required." FitzPatrick was CEO of Prudential on an interim basis until February this year. Prior to this, he was CFO of Prudential from 2017 to 2022, becoming chief operating officer also in July 2019.

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COMPANIES - FTSE 250

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Redrow said that in its financial year, ended July 2, revenue came in in line with the prior year, at GBP2.13 billion, down slightly from GBP2.14 billion. Statutory pretax profit climbed to GBP395 million from GBP246 million, whilst underlying pretax profit fell to GBP395 million from GBP410 million. It lowered its final dividend per share to 20.0p from 22.0p year-on-year. The company's full year dividend fell to 30.0p from 32.0p. Looking ahead, Redrow said the financial 2024 market is still "challenging" but the firm is well-positioned to respond. It expects to generate between GBP1.65 billion to GBP1.7 billion in revenue.

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OTHER COMPANIES

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Amazon.com's UK Prime customers will be able to buy products from supermarket Iceland through the online giant's website after the two companies signed a deal. Amazon said that the products would initially be available in some parts of Greater Manchester, but will roll out elsewhere in the coming months. The supermarket follows Morrisons and Co-op in making its products available through Amazon. The available range will include Iceland's own-brand fresh and frozen items, as well as products from Greggs, Heinz and others. "Our new partnership with Iceland offers customers an even bigger selection of great value groceries on Amazon, with lots of delivery options available for Prime members," said Amazon's UK country manager John Boumphrey. Iceland's chief customer & digital officer David Devany said: "We're committed to helping our customers shop the way they want and access our great value products whenever they need them most.

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By Sophie Rose, Alliance News reporter

Comments and questions to [email protected]

Copyright 2023 Alliance News Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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