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FTSE Falls, Retail Sales Slow as Pandemic, Brexit Weigh

09/24/2021 | 08:55am EST

UK Retail Sales Slow as Pandemic, Brexit Weigh

U.K. retail sales rose at the weakest pace since March 2021 in the year to September as supply and labor shortages caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the U.K.'s exit from the EU weighed, a survey showed. Internet sales growth slowed in the year to September and growth in orders placed with suppliers also eased, according to the latest Confederation of British Industry monthly distributive trades survey of 126 companies, including 45 retailers. "Low stock adequacy remains a concern across the distribution sector. Survey respondents have told us they don't expect the transport and production issues causing these shortages to ease significantly until at least next year and, in some cases, beyond," CBI economist Ben Jones says.

 
Companies News: 

Ecotricity Brings Forward Unconditional Date for Good Energy Offer

Ecotricity Group Ltd. on Friday bought forward the unconditional date for its improved 69.9 million pound ($95.9 million) takeover of Good Energy Group PLC by two days to Oct. 8, citing the continuing uncertainty in the energy market.

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Nmcn Secures Equity Extensions for Refinancing, Proposes Listing Change

Nmcn PLC said Friday that it has secured extensions to its equity subscription and to an existing uncommitted overdraft as it seeks to refinance and proposed a change of listing.

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Tintra Shares Rise on Conversion of Loan Stock Announcement

Shares in Tintra PLC rose on Friday after the company said that Tintra Acquisitions Ltd. issued a conversion notice in relation to 50,000 pounds ($68,595) of its convertible loan stock on Thursday.

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Peel Hunt to Raise GBP112 Mln via Share Placing

Peel Hunt Ltd. said Friday that it expects to raise 112 million pounds ($153.7 million) via an oversubscribed share placing that attracted strong support from high quality institutional and retail investors.

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Iofina 1H Pretax Profit, Revenue Rose

Iofina PLC said Friday that pretax profit rose in the first half of the year on increased revenue, but that iodine production in the period was hurt by extreme winter weather and lower brine supply from its oil-and-gas partners.

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Chaarat Gold Appoints Mike Fraser as CEO

Chaarat Gold Holdings Ltd. said Friday that it has appointed Mike Fraser as chief executive officer.

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Amte Power Appoints James Hobson as its New Finance Chief

Amte Power PLC said Friday that it has appointed James Hobson as chief financial officer designate, replacing Adam Westcott.

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Judges Scientific 1H Pretax Profit Rose; Expects Full Year to Beat Market Views

Judges Scientific PLC on Friday posted a rise in first-half pretax profit on the back of higher revenue, and said it expects to perform ahead of consensus expectations for the full year.

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Shell Completes Sale of Egyptian Assets to Cairn, Cheiron

Royal Dutch Shell PLC said Friday that it has completed the sale of its Western Desert assets onshore Egypt to Cairn Energy PLC and Cheiron Petroleum Corporation for up to $926 million.

 
Market Talk: 

Next's 1H Earnings Seen to Upgrade Sentiment

1230 GMT - Next's strong online sales, profit-forecast upgrades and payment of special dividends--with the promise of more to come--are all helping sentiment toward the stock ahead of its first-half results, say AJ Bell's Investment Director Russ Mould and financial analyst Danni Hewson. Analysts and shareholders will also be looking look out for CEO Simon Wolfson's take on the value of High Street stores, the addition of third-party brands to the website and issues linked to input costs, raw materials and freight capacity and pricing, AJ Bell says. "It should be particularly informative to hear Next's views on pricing, given how the firm benchmarks itself on the basis of full-price sales," AJ Bell adds. Shares are up 0.3% at 8242.00 pence.

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Monetary Policy Pivot Caps Upside for Corporate Bond Markets

1054 GMT - Major central banks have signaled that they plan to scale back on pandemic-era stimulus, which is likely to cap further gains in investment-grade corporate bonds, says Bank of America. This week the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of England prepared markets for the reversal of their ultra-loose monetary policies, with the latter indicating that it could raise interest rates even if bond purchases hadn't finished. There have been almost 40 net rate interest rate rises so far this year, marking one of the fastest periods of monetary tightening ever, analysts at the bank say. "As the tide goes out, we see no upside anymore for investment-grade credit," they add.

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Judges Scientific Strong 1H Prompts EPS Forecast Upgrades

1035 GMT - Judges Scientific's strong first-half performance reflects a recovering environment and a return to secular growth trends, Shore Capital says. Positive cash generation metrics remain a key feature in the scientific-instrument maker's investor profile and investment case, and has prompted Shore to raise its adjusted earnings-per-share estimate for fiscal 2022 by 7% to 235 pence, and for fiscal 2023 by 5% to 247 pence. These can be upgraded further as the environment continues to improve, the investment group says. "With further recovery to come Judges' robust balance sheet, and the strong cash generation track record, underpin prospects for the group as it emerges to meet strategic growth opportunities," Shore says. Shares are up 7.1% at 7,500 pence.

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Shell Expects Gas Market to Remain Tight Through 2025

1010 GMT - Shell has oriented the business to benefit from attractive gas-market fundamentals, but current conditions are more extreme than expected, the company's integrated gas director said at its annual management event, according to Jefferies. The energy company expects the global gas market to remain tight through 2025, Jefferies says. According to Shell, the price environment for long-term contracts is improving and gas is "a seller's market again," as buyers realize the importance of stable, reliable long-term gas supply, the investment bank says.

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Higher Sterling Hedging Costs Would Make Long-Dated Gilts Unattractive

0925 GMT - Hedging costs for foreign investors in sterling are poised to rise, making long-dated U.K. government debt relatively less attractive, Mizuho says. Traders have brought forward their bets on the timing of the first rate increase after the Bank of England signaled concerns about rising inflation, which is set to lift the cost of hedging in sterling. "With the market now pricing in hikes so soon, [the] 3-month SONIA [Sterling Overnight Index Average swap] will start to rise, making FX hedging costs for foreign investors in GBP more expensive," they say, adding that long-end gilts will therefore look very unattractive compared to Treasuries.

Contact: London NewsPlus, Dow Jones Newswires; Write to Sarka Halas at sarka.halas@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

09-24-21 0854ET

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