LONDON BRIEFING: Asos interim CFO departs; Safestore enters Germany

LONDON BRIEFING: Asos interim CFO departs; Safestore enters Germany

Updated: 1 month, 26 days, 23 hours, 54 minutes, 1 second ago

(Alliance News) - Stocks in London are set to open marginally lower on Friday, ahead of US non-farm payrolls later in the day, a piece of data expected to loom large for the US Federal Reserve at its December meeting.

The non-farm payrolls report comes a day after survey results showed US manufacturing suffered a downturn in November.

The S&P Global US manufacturing purchasing managers' index fell to 47.7 points in November from 50.4 in October. Falling beneath the 50.0 no-change mark, it shows the sector is in contraction. The reading was largely in line with a flash estimate of 47.6, however.

In the UK, meanwhile, retail footfall suffered a sharper decline in November, with rail strikes adding to a wall of worry for the sector, which will be hoping for a festive boost this month.

The latest British Retail Consortium-Sensormatic IQ monitor showed retail footfall slid 13% versus pre-virus levels last month, worse than the three-month average fall of just under 12%.

IMF Chief Kristalina Georgieva warned that the chance of global growth dropping below two percent – last seen during the coronavirus outbreak and the global financial crisis of 2009 – is increasing as major economies slow.

Her comments come as the world's biggest economies grapple with fallout from Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which sent food and energy prices soaring, along with a surging inflation and a slowdown in China.

"The probability of growth slowing even further, falling below two percent was one-in-four," said Georgieva at the Reuters NEXT conference Thursday, referring to the fund's recent expectations for 2023.

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

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MARKETS

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FTSE 100: called down just 3.69 points at 7,554.80

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Hang Seng: down 0.3% at 18,681.00

Nikkei 225: closed down 1.6% at 27,777.90

S&P/ASX 200: closed down 0.7% at 7,301.50

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DJIA: closed down 194.75 points, 0.6%, at 34,395.01

S&P 500: closed down 3.54 points, 0.1%, at 4,076.57

Nasdaq Composite: closed up 14.45 points, 0.1%, at 11,482.45

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EUR: higher at USD1.0529 (USD1.0487)

GBP: lower at USD1.2233 (USD1.2266)

USD: lower at JPY134.71 (JPY135.93)

Gold: higher at USD1,799.98 per ounce (USD1,796.43)

Oil (Brent): lower at USD86.83 a barrel (USD88.89)

(changes since previous London equities close)

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ECONOMICS

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Friday's key economic events still to come:

08:30 EST Canada labour force survey

09:30 CET EU EuroCOIN indicator of economic activity

11:00 CET EU producer price index

08:45 CET France industrial production  

14:30 CET Germany Deutsche Bundesbank President Joachim Nagel speaks  

08:00 CET Germany foreign trade price indices

09:00 CET Spain unemployment

09:30 GMT UK BoE external business stats

09:15 CST US Fed Chicago President Charles Evans speaks 

08:30 EST US employment report for November

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Cities across China further unwound Covid restrictions, loosening testing and quarantine rules in the wake of nationwide protests calling for an end to lockdowns and greater political freedoms. Anger and frustration with China's hardline pandemic response spilled out onto the streets last weekend in widespread demonstrations not seen in decades. In the wake of the unrest across China, a number of cities have begun loosening Covid restrictions, such as moving away from daily mass testing requirements, a tedious mainstay of life under Beijing's stringent zero-Covid policy. At the same time, authorities are continuing to seek to contain protests with heavy security on the streets, online censorship in full force, and surveillance of the population heightened. As of Friday, the southwestern metropolis of Chengdu will no longer require a recent negative test result to enter public places or ride the metro, instead only requiring a green health code confirming they have not travelled to a 'high risk' area.

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BROKER RATING CHANGES

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Goldman Sachs raises AB Foods to 'neutral' ('sell') - price target 1,900 (1,460) pence

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Morgan Stanley reinitiates Tesco with 'equal-weight' - price target 263 pence

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JPMorgan cuts THG to 'underweight' ('neutral') - price target 54 (42) pence

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COMPANIES - FTSE 100

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Pharmaceutical firm GSK said the European Medicines Agency has accepted a marketing authorisation application for momelotinib, its treatment for myelofibrosis, a rare blood cancer. The firm also announced positive headline results from a trial investigating Jemperli with standard-of-care chemotherapy followed by Jemperli when compared to chemotherapy plus a placebo in adults with primary advanced or recurrent endometrial cancer. GSK said the trial met its primary endpoint of progression free survival and showed statistically significant and clinically meaningful benefit.

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COMPANIES - FTSE 250

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Self-storage firm Safestore said it has entered into the German self-storage market through a new joint venture with investment firm Carlyle. The joint venture has acquired the seven-store myStorage business as well as a freehold site in Rotterdam. Safestore's initial investment in the joint venture is around EUR2.2 million for a 10% share. It will earn a fee for providing management services to the joint venture. Safestore added it expects to earn an initial return on investment of 15% for the first full year, before transaction-related costs, reflecting its share of expected joint venture profits and fees for management services.

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IT infrastructure firm Softcat has appointed Kathryn Mecklenburgh as chief financial officer. She will join the board by "no later than mid-June". The current CFO, Graham Charlton, will become chief executive designate once Mecklenburgh joins. He is set to become the CEO from August 1. Mecklenburgh is currently interim CFO at fast-fashion retailer Asos. She previously served as group financial controller for car dealership Inchape.

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Budapest-based budget airline Wizz Air carried 3.7 million passengers in November, up 70% from 2.2 million the previous year. The load factor increased to 88% from 76% year-on-year. Capacity rose 47% to 4.2 million seats, from 2.9 million seats.

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OTHER COMPANIES

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Ryanair reported a 10% increase in passengers during November. The figure rose to 11.2 million from 10.2 million a year before. The load factor rose to 92% from 87%. During the month, the Dublin-based low-cost airline operated over 64,100 flights.

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Bank of Ireland welcomed the approval of Ireland's minister for finance in regard to its acquisition of the assets and liabilities of KBC Bank Ireland. The minister's approval is the final required for the acquisition. The bank said it continues to work closely with KBC to ensure a "smooth and seamless transfer of customers". Back in April, Bank of Ireland said it entered talks to buy KBC Group's Irish unit, as the Belgian bank looked to exit the country. In May, the bank received clearance from the Irish Competition & Consumer Protection Commission for the acquisition.

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By Heather Rydings; [email protected]

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