FTSE Furthers Gains in Afternoon Trading

Market News: 
 
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Stocks Buoyed by Oil Price Gains

U.S. stocks rose Tuesday as oil hovered around its two-week high.

The Dow Jones added 0.1% to 18552 shortly after the opening bell. The S&P 500 was flat, and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.1%.

U.S. crude gained 0.6% to $43.26 a barrel in choppy trading. A report that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries might consider production freezes sent oil prices rallying on Monday to their highest settlement price since July 25.

 
Top Stories: 
 

U.K. Rate-Setter Hints At Further Cuts

A Bank of England policy maker said Tuesday that further cuts to the central bank’s benchmark interest rate may be needed in the months ahead if the British economy slows as officials expect.

UK Trade Deficit Widened Ahead of Referendum

The U.K.’s trade deficit with the rest of the world widened in June, according to official statistics Tuesday, suggesting trade held back growth in the second quarter, ahead of the country’s referendum on remaining in the European Union.

Traffic Slows at European Airports in Second Quarter After Attacks, Brexit

Europe’s airports have seen a slowdown in passenger traffic growth in the second quarter following terrorist attacks and expect further headwinds for the rest of the year also from a dent to consumer confidence after Britain voted to leave the European Union.

Statoil Submits Plan to Develop Utgard Discovery in North Sea

Statoil ASA (STL.OS) and its partners have submitted a plan to the Norwegian and U.K. authorities to develop the Utgard gas and condensate discovery in the North Sea, and expect the wells to start producing toward the end of 2019, the Norwegian energy company said Tuesday.

 
Companies News: 
 

Rank, 888 Consortium Submit GBP3.6B Formal Offer to William Hill

Rank Group PLC (RNK.LN) and 888 Holdings PLC (888.LN) have submitted a 3.6-billion-pound ($4.67 billion) formal offer to bookmaker William Hill PLC (WMH.LN), the FT reports, citing two people briefed on the plans.

Boohoo.com Sees FY Results Above Views

Shares in boohoo.com PLC (BOO.LN) rose on Tuesday after the online fashion retailer said results for the current year will be above expectations.

STM Shares Gain on Rise in New Business Numbers for QROPS

Shares in STM Group PLC (STM.LN) rose after the cross border financial services provider announced that July new business numbers for its core product, QROPS, saw a 28% increase over those of June.

Tri-Star Shares Rise on Progress at Antimony Project in Oman

Shares in Tri-Star Resources PLC (TSTR.LN) rose Tuesday after the metals company said its 40%-owned Strategic & Precious Metals Processing LLC has placed its first major furnace-equipment order for its antimony project in Oman.

Motif Bio Postpones Proposed US Listing

Shares in Motif Bio PLC (MTFB.LN) dropped on Tuesday after the biopharmaceutical company said it has postponed its proposed listing on Nasdaq in the U.S.

Standard Life First-Half Operating Profit Beats Expectations

Standard Life PLC (SL.LN) reported on Tuesday an 18% rise in underlying operating profit for the first half of 2016, beating market expectations, but said it foresees high uncertainty in the near future.

Wm Morrison Supermarkets in New Pact with Online Grocer Ocado

Wm. Morrison Supermarkets PLC (MRW.LN) on Tuesday said it has finalized an agreement with online grocer Ocado Group PLC (OCDO.LN) that will enable Morrisons.com to utilize Ocado’s technology.

AstraZeneca Says Lung Cancer Phase III Trial Didn’t Meet Endpoint

AstraZeneca PLC (AZN.LN) said on Tuesday the Phase III trial of an inhibitor, selumetinib, in combination with docetaxal chemotherapy to treat lung cancer, didn’t meet its main endpoint and that the inhibitor didn’t have “significant effect” on overall survival.

ScS Posts 14.8% Rise in Comparable Sales Order Intake

ScS Group PLC (SCS.LN), a retailer of upholstered furniture and floorings, on Tuesday said that total like-for-like sales order intake increased by 14.8% for the 53 weeks ended July 30.

Savills Says Brexit Uncertainty Hit 1H Commercial Transactions

Savills PLC (SVS.LN) said Tuesday there were fewer U.K. commercial transactions in the first half of 2016 due to Brexit uncertainty, but added that commercial activity has improved and the diversification of its business has helped soothe earnings overall.

Legal & General First-Half Headline Profit Jumps 9.6%

Legal & General Group PLC (LGEN.LN) Tuesday reported a 9.6% rise in its headline adjusted operating profit for the first half of 2016, and said its five long-term growth drivers remain unaffected by volatile financial markets and political uncertainty.

Alba Mineral: Brockham Drilling to Start by 2016 End

Alba Mineral Resources PLC (ALBA.LN) said Tuesday that drilling of a side track well at Brockham oil field located in Surrey, southern England, is expected to commence by end of the current year.

 
Market Talk: 
 

Taste for Wm Morrison Returns After Ocado Deal

1352 GMT Wm Morrison shares rise 2.2% to 192p with the confirmation of a new deal with online grocer Ocado. Bernstein analyst Bruno Monteyne says the new deal is significantly better in every way for Morrison. Mr. Monteyne adds the previous deal was strongly in favour of Ocado because the previous Morrison management was trying to turn around the company’s fortunes by striking easy deals. Says the deal will come as a relief to Morrison which, despite being well run, lacks a unique selling point in a crowded U.K. discount food market. He adds the deal will also allow Ocado to offer better terms to foreign partners who had previously rejected deals similar to the Morrison’s. Ocado shares climb 5.4% higher at 291.2p.

William Hill Shares Climb on Bid Speculation

1329 GMT Shares of William Hill are up 4% at 340.5p on speculation Rank Group and 888 Holdings have submitted a GBP3.6 billion formal offer for the bookmaker. Earlier Tuesday the FT reported that the consortium had made a 364 pence a share offer for William Hill, citing two people briefed on the plans. No-one was immediately available from Rank Group or 888 to comment on the report when contacted by the Wall Street Journal. A spokesperson for William Hill declined to comment.

EasyJet Shares Rise; Passenger Numbers Help

1319 GMT Shares in easyJet rise 3% at 1070p, rebounding a touch after the sharp selloff in the wake of the U.K. vote to leave the EU. Weak crude prices undoubtedly help, but investors seem to be looking at the airline’s share price as having most of the bad news already factored in. After all, easyJet was trading above 1500p on June 23 when the U.K. voted. Goodbody analyst Jack Diskin also points to strong July traffic figures released last week. With passenger volumes up 6.5% and seat capacity up 5%, the analyst highlights a decent utilisation rate. However, he adds, these figures account for a pre-referendum, pre-Turkish troubles period, and August and September may well see a slackening in the numbers.

BHP Hybrid Bonds Outshine Seniors, CDS

1302 GMT If investors look for a 300 bps pick-up to BHP Billiton’s senior bonds and credit default swaps, they don’t even have to search away from the company, says Hermes Investment Management, highlighting BHP hybrid bonds. The asset manager likes BHP’s commitment to a strong credit rating, strong capital markets reputation and investors’ expectation of dividends from a mining company, which makes coupon deferrals unlikely. BHP hybrids also seem attractive versus comparable issues from other investment grade corporates, Hermes adds.

Vodafone Scraps Line Rental Charges; Wakes Competition

1137 GMT Vodafone stepped up competition in the U.K. media sector after it abolished line rental charges for some of its fiber-optic broadband Internet packages. The firm is fighting rivals for subscribers in the U.K.’s expanding telecommunications, Internet and pay-television markets. “It represents a great opportunity for Vodafone to steal a march on its rivals, ” said CCS Insight analyst Paolo Pescatore. “While others have tinkered with line rental pricing, we believe this is the first time a provider has decided to ditch it altogether.” Shares trade up 0.2% at 234 pence.

Low Rates May Create More Negatives Than Positives

1128 GMT The positive effects of low interest rates in boosting demand may diminish over time, says Scott Mather, chief investment officer for U.S. core strategies at Pacific Investment Management Co. “The theory has always been that there’s a linearity where, as interest rates fall, people spend,” he says. “But perhaps there’s a crossover point and if you push rates below it, the negative effects outweigh the positives.” Central banks cut rates to pull forward demand, but there is a diminishing return if low rates are relied on for an extended period. “Monetary policy cannot create real economic outcomes. It can serve as a bridge… but it’s hard to believe that over long periods of time it has much of an impact.”

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