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LONDON BRIEFING: Stocks called up as polls open for general election

4th Jul 2024 07:49

(Alliance News) - Stocks in London are called to open higher on Thursday, as polls open for the UK general election.

The main focus on Thursday will be on which party looks to win the UK general election.

Polling stations up and down the country opened early on Thursday and will close at 2200 BST.

In a last minute blow to the Tory party on Wednesday, Labour has received the backing of tabloid the Sun.

The tabloid said it believes the Conservatives, over the past 14 years, have become a "divided rabble, more interested in fighting themselves than running the country".

It added the Tories "are exhausted" as it switched its endorsement to the Labour Party.

"Labour is walking into this election with more than 20 points advance over the Tories – even the most Conservative parts of the country seem tired of a 14-year Tory rule. The two most likely scenarios are a good Labour majority with 150 seats – which is almost double Boris Johnson’s 80-seat majority in 2019 - or a supermajority. Both will give the Labour a very large margin to pass whatever reforms they want to pass in the coming years," said Ipek Ozkardeskaya at Swissquote Bank.

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

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MARKETS

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FTSE 100: called up 0.2% at 8,183.70

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Hang Seng: up 0.2% at 18,017.19

Nikkei 225: closed up 0.8% at 40,913.65

S&P/ASX 200: closed up 1.2% at 7,831.80

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DJIA: closed down 23.85 points, 0.1%, at 39,308.00

S&P 500: closed up 0.5% at 5,537.02

Nasdaq Composite: closed up 0.9% at 18,188.30

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EUR: down at USD1.0786 (USD1.0806)

GBP: down at USD1.2742 (USD1.2768)

USD: up at JPY161.55 (JPY161.38)

GOLD: down at USD2,355.80 per ounce (USD2,361.74)

OIL (Brent): up at USD86.83 a barrel (USD86.33)

(changes since previous London equities close)

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ECONOMICS

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Thursday's key economic events still to come:

09:30 EDT Canada composite PMI

09:30 CEST eurozone construction PMI

11:00 CEST eurozone European Central Bank Governor Philip Lane speaks

16:15 CEST eurozone European Central Bank executive board member Piero Cipollone speaks

09:30 CEST France construction PMI

09:30 CEST Germany construction PMI

09:00 BST UK new car sales

09:30 BST UK construction PMI

US Independence Day. Financial markets closed.

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Labour has received the backing of The Sun at the UK general election, as the newspaper insisted: "It is time for a change". The tabloid said it believes the Conservatives, over the past 14 years, have become a "divided rabble, more interested in fighting themselves than running the country". It added the Tories "are exhausted" as it switched its endorsement to the Labour Party. It said Labour leader Keir Starmer has "fought hard" to change the party since the days of Jeremy Corbyn, adding it is "still a work in progress".

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Factory orders orders unexpectedly fell on-month in Germany in May, data from the Federal Statistical Office showed Thursday. On a monthly basis, manufacturing orders fell by 1.6% in May, accelerating from a 0.6% contraction a month earlier. April's data was revised. According to FXStreet, a 0.5% rise was pencilled in for May from April. It was the fifth consecutive decline on the previous month, the FSO noted. New orders in manufacturing fell by 8.6% on-year in May, falling from a 1.8% annual drop in April.

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BROKER RATING CHANGES

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HSBC raises Bunzl to 'buy' - price target 3,460 pence

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RBC starts Ibstock with 'outperform' - price target 200 pence

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Berenberg starts Card Factory with 'buy' - price target 154 pence

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COMPANIES - FTSE 100

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Barclays said that Barclays Bank Ireland has agreed to sell its German consumer finance business to BAWAG PSK, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BAWAG Group AG. "Consumer Bank Europe is a diversified retail banking business, with established credit card, consumer loan and deposit franchises serving customers in the German and Austrian markets," Barclays said. Barclays noted that it will be brought for a small premium to net assets. Francesco Ceccato, chief executive of Barclays Europe, said: "The sale of Consumer Bank Europe aligns with our ambition to simplify Barclays. In BAWAG, we believe we have found a strong and committed owner for the business' journey forwards. This transaction will also allow Barclays Europe to focus on its Corporate and Investment Banking and Private Banking businesses."

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Telecommunications provider Vodafone is looking to invest some EUR140 million in artificial intelligence systems this year to improve the handling of customer inquiries, the company said on Thursday. Vodafone said it is investing in advanced AI from Microsoft and OpenAI to improve its chatbot, dubbed TOBi, so that it can respond faster and resolve customer issues more effectively. The chatbot was introduced into Vodafone's customer service five years ago and is equipped with the real voice of a Vodafone employee.

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COMPANIES - FTSE 250

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Victrex updated markets on its third financial quarter, which ran to June 30. In the period, group volume rose 20% to 979 tonnes from 818 tonnes a year earlier. Revenue edged up 2.5% to GBP74.0 million from GBP72.2 million. Jakob Sigurdsson, chief executive, said: "With continued momentum in some end markets, we remain focused on our goal of a better second half year. However, high inventory levels and industry destocking amongst major medical device customers continue to be challenging for our Medical business. At this stage, Medical performance is tracking lower than our expectations for the second half year." Victrex left full year volume guidance unchanged and said it expects low to mid single digit volume growth. Sigurdsson added: "At a profit level, destocking in Medical and ongoing lower asset utilisation continue to be headwinds, with currency rates starting to move adversely in the second half. Unless Medical improves above current run-rates, the opportunity to deliver a slightly better PBT performance in H2 2024, versus H2 2023 - in line with our previous guidance - will be challenging. Cost discipline remains strong."

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Spectris said it has agreed to buy SciAps for up to USD260 million, comprising an up front payment of USD200 million and a deferred payment up to USD60 million. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, SciAps is a provider of handheld instruments leveraging X-ray Fluorescence and Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy techniques for materials analysis. CEO Andrew Heath said: "SciAps is an excellent business and a great addition to Spectris Scientific, bringing complementary technology and strengthening our offering, including our innovative digital solutions. The acquisition will strengthen Spectris' position in a number of key end markets benefiting from long-term, secular and sustainability growth trends, as well as accelerating sales of SciAps and Malvern Panalytical's offerings through each other's sales and distribution channels."

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OTHER COMPANIES

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IntelliAM completes the acquisition of 53 Degrees North Engineering. It said it has issued 2.8 million shares, priced at 94p each, to the founders of 53 North as part of the consideration. The software company, leveraging the power of AI and machine learning in the manufacturing industry, made its debut on the AQSE Growth Market in London on Wednesday. Tom Clayton, the founder & chief executive officer of 53 Degrees North, is also the CEO of IntelliAM.

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Glenveagh Properties updated markets on the six months ended June 30. It said that over 800 units of the 2,700 full year target were completed in the first half of the year, up from 333 a year ago. Looking ahead, Glenveagh said 2024 is a "milestone" year of growth for the company. Full year earnings per share is expected to more than double to 17 cents from 8 cents. "We continue to make excellent progress across our business and are firmly on track to meet our objectives for the year," said CEO Stephen Garvey. "Our performance provides further evidence of our key strengths and capabilities - our planning and design expertise; our skilled and motivated workforce; our state-of-the-art vertically integrated manufacturing operation; and our ability to enhance and accelerate housing delivery at scale through greater standardisation while optimising modern methods of construction."

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By Sophie Rose, Alliance News senior reporter

Comments and questions to [email protected]

Copyright 2024 Alliance News Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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