Toys R Us files for personal bankruptcy in US and Canada

has declared personal bankruptcy protection in america and Canada after accumulating $5bn (£3.7bn) of financial obligations and battling to compete in age online shopping.

The world’s largest toy store chain stated it’d declared Chapter 11 to restructure its financial obligations and exercise a sustainable path because of its finances that will let it purchase lengthy-term growth.

The Nj-based company, which employs 64,000, stated most its 1,600 stores all over the world were lucrative, adding that it is companies outdoors The United States, such as the United kingdom, weren’t affected.

The group’s history dates towards the 1950s in america. It showed up within the United kingdom, where it employs greater than 2,500 people, in 1985. It’s 110 stores in great britan in addition to a website launched in 1996.

The audience confirmed it had been opening further shops within the United kingdom, with four planned before Christmas in High Wycombe, Sunderland, Blackburn and Craigleith in Scotland. It’s also revamping its flagship shops in Bristol and Brent Mix shopping center in north London.

“Today marks the beginning of the new trend at , where we predict the financial restrictions which have held us back is going to be addressed inside a lasting and efficient way,” stated Dave Brandon, the chairman and leader.

“Together with this investors, our objective is to utilize our debtholders along with other creditors to restructure the $5bn of lengthy-term debt on the balance sheet, that will give to us greater financial versatility to purchase our business, still enhance the customer experience of our physical stores an internet-based, and strengthen our competitive position within an more and more challenging and quickly altering retail marketplace worldwide.”

The 60-year-old company, which faces about $400m of debt repayments in 2018, stated it’d guaranteed about $3bn of financing from various lenders, together with a JP Morgan-brought bank syndicate, to help keep its stores open as always because it approaches its key Christmas selling period.

Brandon stated: “As christmas ramps up, our physical and web stores are open for business, and we people all over the world expect to ongoing to place joy on children’s faces. We thank our vendors for his or her ongoing support through this important season and beyond.”

Analysts repeat the company’s large network of retailers are an costly burden at any given time when online giants Amazon . com and Walmart are discounting toys to steal their shoppers.

“The demise of in The United States can come very little surprise within an atmosphere where mortar and bricks retail is ongoing to have a problem with high debt levels and also the havoc being wreaked by e-commerce,” stated Jon Copestake, chief retail and consumer goods analyst in the Economist Intelligence Unit. “Toys R Us has shown to be particularly susceptible to online competition that provides greater choice and convenience, frequently in a better cost.

“There is room in physical retail for toy stores because the queues outdoors Hamleys and Lego stores will testify but success has become more prone to originate from stores that reinvent themselves as destinations offering encounters or as niche outlets for hardcore collectors. The ‘pile them high’ major approach is just no more relevant.”

stated that included in its proceedings it’d searched for approval to carry on having to pay staff wages and benefits, honor customer programmes, and pay suppliers as always.

Moving Stone, rock’n’roll magazine switched liberal cheerleader, up for purchase

It’s the magazine that described investment bank Goldman Sachs as “a great vampire squid wrapped round the face of humanity”, George W Plant because the “worst president in history” and featured a photograph of the naked John Lennon curled around Yoko Ono on its first page.

But after almost half a century of seminal covers and epoch-shifting articles, the proprietors of Moving Stone have place the title up for purchase among financial hardships.

Founded by Jann Wenner in 1967 as he would be a 21-year-old hippy student in California, Wenner now runs the rock’n’roll magazine switched liberal cheerleader together with his boy Gus, president from the family publishing company.

On Sunday, the happy couple announced these were intending to sell their remaining stake within the title which has ruthlessly skewered politicians and helped to produce the careers of these influential creatives as professional photographer Annie Leibovitz and also the gonzo journalist Hunter S Thompson.

pricey libel fight, and financial deals by using the advantage of hindsight seem like foolish have emerged to prompt the Wenners to think about their options.

Jann Wenner states he wants to locate a buyer that understands Moving Stone and it has “lots of money”. The 71-year-old stated: “Rolling Stone has performed this type of role within the good reputation for our occasions, socially and politically and culturally. You want to retain that position.” Both Wenners want to stay associated with playboy after it’s offered.

Rolling Stone magazine founder and publisher Jann Wenner. Moving Stone magazine founder and writer Jann Wenner. Photograph: Tracey Nearmy/Environmental protection agency

Jann Wenner founded Moving Stone like a student at Berkeley alongside Rob J Gleason, a columnist and jazz critic in the Bay Area Chronicle who shared the love for music. Lennon made an appearance around the cover from the first issue.

Playboy still involves music, film and television, but has additionally become famous for in-depth features and interviews upon us culture that are presently news themselves.

Included in this are Matt Taibbi’s evisceration people investment bank Goldman Sachs in ’09 because the world reeled in the worst economic crisis since 1929. Taibbi famously described how Goldman alumni wound up in effective government positions all over the world, writing from the bank: “The world’s most effective investment bank is a superb vampire squid wrapped round the face of humanity, non-stop jamming its bloodstream funnel into something that has the aroma of money.”

Moving Stone’s liberal ideology has additionally become certainly one of its hallmarks. It’s printed high-profile interviews with Bill Clinton and Obama, both conducted by Jann Wenner themself, as well as in August it place a photo of Canadian pm Justin Trudeau on its cover using the headline: “Why can’t he be our president?”

It’s been a continuing critic people president Jesse Trump and pilloried George W Plant with satirical cartoons on its first page, including one headlined: “The worst president ever?Inches

The coverage of Moving Stone frequently carries provocative images and starring on its cover remains a searched for-after honor for musicians and actors. Leibovitz was behind a lot of Moving Stone’s most memorable early covers, such as the photo of Lennon and Ono almost 30 years ago. Lennon was shot dead just hrs following the photograph was taken.

Other celebrated contributors towards the magazine include Thompson and Tom Wolfe. Thompson’s novel Fear and Loathing in Vegas was serialised by Moving Stone and finally was adapted right into a film, with The Actor-brad Pitt playing Thompson.

Jann Wenner with singer-songwriter Bette Midler at the premiere of the Rolling Stone Covers Tour in 1998. Jann Wenner with singer-songwriter and actor Bette Midler in the premiere from the Moving Stone Covers Tour in 1998. Photograph: Kathy Willens/AP

However, the magazine’s status – and finances – were badly broken if this retracted a 2014 story a good alleged gang-rape in the College of Virginia, having a review discovering that Moving Stone didn’t undertake fundamental newspaper procedures to ensure the details. Playboy was this past year purchased to pay for $3m (£2.2m) in damages within the article following a high-profile trial.

Jann Wenner stated within an interview using the Protector this season the College of Virginia article was his greatest mistake while at Moving Stone. He stated it absolutely was printed after “one of individuals perfect storms of errors”.

Wenner’s decision to purchase back a 50% stake in magazine US Weekly for $300m in the year 2006 may be considered a mistake. He’d offered the stake to Wally Disney just for $40m 5 years earlier and purchasing it back left the household writer saddled with debt.

His boy attempted to handle the financial pressures on the organization captured by selling US Weekly and Men’s Journal, another of Moving Stone’s sister titles, to American Media. BandLab Technologies, a Singapore-based music company, also purchased a 49% stake in Moving Stone this past year.

Both American Media – writer of supermarket tabloids such as the National Enquirer – and BandLab are noticed as contenders to seize control of Moving Stone. If American Media buys the title, it might mark a clear, crisp alternation in owners’ ideologies. The tabloid empire is brought by David Pecker, an ardent Trump ally.

“The Runaway General” by which he and the aides are quoted as critical from the president and the approach.

2013: Jann Wenner appoints his boy, Gus, as mind of Rollingstone.com, an indication the more youthful Wenner has become influential in the household media business.

2014: A Moving Stone article makes allegations in regards to a gang rape in the College of Virginia. After commentators question the content and also the Washington Publish highlights factual inaccuracies, playboy commissions an analysis by Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, that is damning from the feature. Moving Stone eventually pays out $3m in damages.

2016: Singapore music company BandLab buys 49% of Moving Stone.

Mediator: Facebook Knows Much More About Russia’s Election Meddling. Shouldn’t We?

Mediator

By JIM RUTENBERG

Here’s what we should know, to date, about Facebook’s recent disclosure that the shadowy Russian firm with ties towards the Kremlin produced a large number of ads around the social networking platform that ran before, after and during the 2016 presidential election:

The ads “appeared to pay attention to amplifying divisive social and political messages over the ideological spectrum,” including race, immigration and gun legal rights, Facebook stated.

You who purchased the ads were fakes. Mounted on assumed identities, their pages were allegedly produced by digital guerrilla marketers from Russia hawking information designed to disrupt the American electorate and sway a presidential election.

A number of individuals ads were pressed to very specific areas, presumably for optimum political effect. Facebook has identified some 2,000 other ads that might have been of Russian provenance, although, as CNN reported a week ago, it can’t eliminate that there can be way over that.

Here’s what we should have no idea, a minimum of in a roundabout way from Facebook:

• What all individuals ads appeared as if

• What specific information – or disinformation — these were distributing

• Who or exactly what the accounts pretended to become

• The number of Americans interacted using the ads or even the fake personae

We have no idea what geographical locations the alleged social networking saboteurs were targeting (The standard listing of swing states and counties? Or even the most politically flammable fringes?). Facebook states more of individuals ads ran in 2015 compared to 2016, although not the number of more.

Nor has Facebook reported whether those who were targeted were from specific demographic or philosophical groups — which means we actually have no idea the entire extent from the duping on Facebook, and perhaps Facebook doesn’t either.

Facebook states it’s trying to prevent a repeat. Also it was hardly the only real platform that Russia is presumed to possess accustomed to disrupt the political debate in the usa there have been others within the mix too, particularly Twitter, that has divulged even under Facebook has.

But, as a whole, there is a stunning insufficient public specificity a good alleged foreign campaign to help our domestic politics. It had been an attempt that involved “the American firms that basically invented the various tools of social networking and, within this situation, didn’t stop them from being switched into engines of deceptiveness and propaganda,” because the Times’s Scott Geebet noted in the penetrating analysis earlier this year.

Mr. Shane’s report helped complete some blanks as he unearthed some of the phony accounts, like this of 1 Melvin Redick, a professed Pennsylvanian. On his Facebook page, Mr. Redick seems to become a loving father of the adorable young girl, but actually he doesn’t really exist. That account was early to place and promote DCLeaks, the website that grew to become a receptacle for hacked details about prominent Americans.

After which a week ago The Daily Animal uncovered a campaign for any supposed “Citizens before refugees” rally in Twin Falls, Idaho, in August of 2016. Because the independent (and embattled) Russian news organization RBC reported in March, the supposed group behind that rally, SecuredBorders, was the development of the web Research Agency, that is suspected to be behind the Facebook ads under consideration here.

So an image begins to emerge. But it’s a spotty one, only just like the journalism that’s working hard to fill the canvas, and also the scraps we’re getting from police force and also the social platforms themselves.

Facebook is cooperating to different levels with efforts in Washington to experience how it may have been utilized by Russian influence agents. Because The Wall Street Journal first reported late a week ago, Facebook handed evidence associated with the advertising campaign to the special prosecutor investigating the Russia allegations, Robert S. Mueller III.

After I requested Facebook why it couldn’t become more forthcoming using the public, the organization responded having a statement saying, “Due to federal law, and also the ongoing analysis in to these issues, we’re limited in regards to what we are able to disclose openly.”

Facebook is talking about its obligations underneath the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the government law that prohibits the federal government from unduly stalking our electronic communications.

Facebook, which didn’t elaborate, seems to become saying it’s legally restricted in the willy-nilly handing-over of knowledge about its users towards the government or, for instance, the general public. And it is certainly challenging for Facebook to determine in which the lines are between discussing vital information regarding its use within a plot like election meddling, and exposing personal information about its legitimate users.

On Friday, I requested Marc Rotenberg, obama from the Electronic Privacy Information Center, or Epic, an advocacy group, where he was around the question.

“The best situation for that’s the First Amendment protects anonymous speech,” he stated. “And when the U . s . States government were to try and know the identities of questionable loudspeakers, we’d be on the leading lines saying the federal government does not have the authority to do this.Inches

However in this situation, “We’re speaking about non-U.S. persons participating in political speech in U.S. elections, and it is a stretch to increase that sort of protection to this kind of activity,” he stated.

Ryan Calo, legislation professor in the College of Washington, explained the electronic communications privacy law didn’t extend protections to advertisements or published messages which were readily available to the general public.

That’s not saying that Mr. Mueller’s participation doesn’t increase the sensitivity for Facebook. It will. But at some point Facebook owes it towards the public to supply still more detail concerning the ads. Also it owes it to the users to inform them should they have directly interacted with the same as digital spies delivered to influence them.

Then there’s democracy itself, and also the new problems the social platforms are coming up with for this.

The American electoral system features a complicated campaign finance regime which was devised to help keep Americans accustomed to who finances the press messages made to sway them.

The machine is imperfect. And it is been badly weakened through the years. However it still requires, for example, that television stations keep careful logs from the ad time they offer to candidates and political groups around elections, making them open to the general public. It’s also illegal for foreign interests to invest profit our campaigns.

The Russian effort could elude individuals laws and regulations through social networking, in which the system has clearly — and essentially — damaged lower.

“We now realize that foreign interests can run campaign ads — sham issue ads — within this country without anybody getting any understanding of who had been behind it, which essentially violates a fundamental idea of campaign finance laws and regulations,” stated Fred Wertheimer, a longtime advocate for greater regulating political spending through his group Democracy21.

Facebook’s announcement concerning the Russian ads motivated calls from Senators Mark Warner of Virginia and Martin Heinrich of Boise State Broncos for any new law requiring that social networking ads get the same regulatory scrutiny as television ads (“I’m Vladimir Putin and that i approve this message!”).

As of this moment, we have no idea the entire extent that the Russian ads violated the present legal needs. That’s something Mr. Mueller will be able to determine. But Facebook along with other platforms want to get more details available openly, too, therefore the necessary discussion about potential remedies does not have to wait for a Mueller analysis to summarize. Hopefully they’ll.

That much ought to be obvious: Arguments that sites like Facebook are just open “platforms” — and never “media companies” which make editorial judgments about activity within the digital worlds they produced — fall woefully flat with regards to meddling within our democracy.

The platforms have grown to be incredibly effective inside a almost no time. With great power originates great profit, that they are just too pleased to embrace the truly amazing responsibility part, not necessarily a lot.

“Given the function they performed within this election, they are in possession of a significant responsibility to assist solve this issue,Inches Mr. Wertheimer stated.

In the end, the 2018 midterms are coming.

FTSE 100 snaps losing streak as the pound slips from hike hope highs

  • FTSE 100 rebounds as the pound’s momentum slows on the currency markets
  • BAE Systems jumps 2.9pc on Qatar Typhoon jet order; gold producers Fresnillo and Randgold Resources fall as precious metal prices continue to retreat
  • Pound slips from highs recorded last week after the Bank of England gave its strongest hint yet that interest rates will rise before the end of the year; Mark Carney speech (4pm) could lift sterling if he reaffirms the MPC’s plans for a hike
  • House prices nudged down a further 1.2pc in September, according to Rightmove

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3:44PM

US indices hitting highs pulls up European stocks; pound mixed ahead of Carney speech

Mark Carney could move sterling in his speech at the top of the hour

European stocks have been supported this afternoon by the bright start across the Atlantic, according to Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.

He said on this afternoon’s action:

“A record-breaking open from the Dow Jones kept the European indices feeling positive this Monday afternoon.

“The Dow only needed to rise 0.3% after the bell to hit a new 22300-plus high; the S&P 500 followed suit, climbing above 2500 for the first time in its history. The recent surge from the US indices has lined up with the dollar’s September decline against the pound, where it has shed nearly 5% in the last 18 days.

“Over in Europe the US open allowed the FTSE to widen its gains once again. The UK index is now up half a percent, putting some distance between it and its sub-7200 low last Friday.” 

Just a reminder that we’ll be bringing you the latest updates from Mark Carney’s IMF speech at 4pm. Ahead of the appearance, the pound is putting in a patchy performance, nudging down against both the dollar and euro but moving higher against the currency markets’ laggard today, the Japanese yen.

3:13PM

Bell Pottinger scandal widens as Rentokil director who introduced the PR firm to the Guptas steps down

Bell Pottinger’s London office

The scandal surrounding public relations firm Bell Pottinger has deepened as the man who introduced the company to the billionaire Gupta family, Chris Geoghegan, has stepped down from his role at Rentokil.

Mr Geoghegan, BAE Systems’ former chief operating officer, reportedly earned a six-figure sum for brokering the controversial deal between Bell Pottinger and the Guptas, which ultimately led to the firm’s administration last week.

Cleaning and hygiene firm Rentokil has announced that Mr Geoghegan will be stepping down with immediate effect.

As a result, he also steps down as chairman of the firm’s remuneration committee and senior independent director. He had been on the board for just over a year, having been joint chief operating officer at BAE Systems from 2002 to 2007.

Read Rhiannon Bury’s full report here

2:48PM

Dow Jones on course for another record close

The Dow Jones is on course for another record close

US stocks have nudged up early on and the Dow Jones is on course for another record close with the Federal Reserve’s latest policy decision now in the sights of investors.

ING’s chief international economist James Knightley believes that that the markets are underestimating the chance of a fasted paced hiking cycle and that Wednesday’s meeting may not be the non-event some believe it will be.

He added that investors should give more credence to the Fed’s forecasts on interest rates:

“With just one hike priced in by the end of 2018, the market’s view on interest rates is still worlds apart from the Fed’s June projections, which pencilled in 100bp of rate hikes over the next 18 months. 

“Some market scepticism is understandable. The Fed has signalled higher interest rates on numerous occasions over the past couple of years, only to then subsequently not follow through with them. But also with several measures of inflation well below 2%, there is a sense that there is little need for tighter policy. 

“This latter point, in particular, may see some officials becoming less aggressive on their expectations for the path of interest rates. As such, we would not be surprised to see the dot diagram move closer to our forecast of three rate hikes rather than the four previously indicated.”

Given the rollercoaster the ECB and Bank of England has given the markets in the last few weeks, it would be naive to rule out any other shocks from the central banking top tier one would think.

2:14PM

Britain braces for higher energy prices this winter  

Winter electricity in the UK market is already 16pc higher than it was at this time last year

Energy bills in the UK could be set to rise this winter after the cost of power jumped well above last year’s prices.

The wholesale cost of winter electricity in the UK market is on average 16pc, or around £7 per megawatt-hour, higher than it was this time last year.

The price rises could spell trouble for British bill payers who faced a flurry of tariff hikes over the spring following last winter’s volatile energy trading.

Last year market prices surged higher due to safety concerns across almost a fifth of EDF’s 58-strong French nuclear reactor fleet.

This year, energy prices are climbing due to ongoing concerns around France’s nuclear plants as well as Germany’s reliance on power from coal, which is trading 50pc higher than last year.

Read Jillian Ambrose’s full report here

1:59PM

Mark Carney speech preview

Former BoE governor Mervyn King said that central bankers can use tricks and bluffs to manipulate markets

Interest rate forecast revisions have been flooding in since the Bank of England surprised the markets last Thursday by taking a hawkish turn but some have raised doubts that the latest rhetoric coming out of the central bank is little more than monetary policy dark arts.

The theory goes that the MPC’s hawkish rhetoric is designed to lift the pound, which will in turn bring down inflation without having to resort to the blunter tools at the central bank’s disposal.

Can Mark Carney reassure any doubters this afternoon in his speech at the IMF?

The markets have been here twice before with Mr Carney and the ‘Maradona theory’, the idea proposed by former governor Mervyn King that the markets can be manipulated by central bankers in the same way that Maradona could beat five defender by walking in a straight line through shoulder shifts and bluffs, could be wearing a little thin if rates aren’t raised before the end of the year.

Investec’s Philip Shaw, who like HSBC this morning and many others, has revised his forecasts since the latest twist believes the BoE is serious this time, however.

He said:

“The MPC’s latest prognosis has not come out of the blue. Indeed its concerns over tight labour markets and the prospects for inflationary pay increases have been evident since the spring. Accordingly unless the UK is hit by a negative demand shock over the next six weeks, we view the prospect of a 25bp increase in the Bank rate to 0.50% in November as our new baseline case. 

1:20PM

Study engineering at university if you want to become a billionaire, report suggests

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and the second richest person in the world, studied engineering at university

Students who study engineering or business at university are more likely than their peers to become billionaires, a new study suggests.

Those who have already entered the job market and are either in a sales career or stock trader role are also among the most likely to become part of the world’s richest people club.

The findings are based on a study by the recruitment agency Aaron Wallis, which looked into the richest 100 people in the world to see if there was any correlation between their first careers and how wealthy they became.

It found that the most common first job among the top billionaires – who started in an organisation that wasn’t their own, as opposed to entrepreneurs who started their own company or those employed in a family business – was that of a salesperson.

Read Sophie Christie’s full report here

12:55PM

Lunchtime update: Pound comes off highs ahead of Carney speech

Bank of England governor Mark Carney is due to speak at the IMF at 4pm later today

The FTSE 100 has snapped its losing streak and rebounded back into positive territory this morning as the pound’s rally on currency markets cools.

Ahead of Bank of England governor Mark Carney’s speech at the IMF this afternoon, sterling has dipped slightly, coming off the highs it hit at the end of last week as hopes of an interest rate hike before the end of the year were reignited by the central bank.

A dearth of economics and corporate news means London is devoid of any big stock movements this morning. 

Engineer GKN has jumped 3.2pc to the top of the FTSE 100 on a bullish broker note while defence specialist BAE Systems securing the sale of 24 Typhoon jets to Qatar has lifted it 2.9pc.

At the other end, tobacco stocks are reacting negatively to the FDA changes to its e-cigarette requirements, which broke as trading was closing in Europe on Friday, while gold producers Fresnillo and Randgold Resources trail the blue-chip index as the precious metal’s price continues to retreat. 

It could be the calm before the storm, however. Attention on the markets is beginning to shift to the US Federal Reserve’s key policy decision on Wednesday with investors itching for clues over the US’s own interest rate hiking plans.

Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell gave this preview of the US session:

“Looking to this afternoon, and while there’s no data on the cards it still could be a memorable US session. Even something as meagre as a 0.2% is enough for the Dow Jones to hit a fresh high, with the index on track to open above 22300 for the first time in its history.

“Given it wasn’t too long ago that it was fretting about North Korea, as well as Donald Trump’s (in)ability to deliver on his tax and infrastructure promises – issues that are still very much on the table – it’s remarkable that the Dow has risen so aggressively in the past week or so.”

12:20PM

Interserve hires finance director days after devastating profit warning

Interserve has recently won a five-year contract to provide spectator seating for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Support services group Interserve has appointed a new finance director just days after it issued a crippling profit warning.

Mark Whiteling will join the company at the beginning of next month, having recently held a number of non-executive roles at firms including Hogg Robinson and Connect Group.

Shares in Interserve rallied during Monday morning’s trading on the back of the news, climbing as much as 18.71pc to 96.75p.

Mr Whiteling had previously held senior roles at technology firm Premier Farnell. He was also finance director of marketing business Communisis and group finance director of logistics company Tibbett and Britten.

Read Rhiannon Bury’s full report here

Interserve
12:09PM

Yen falls as Japanese PM considers calling a snap election

Shinzo Abe could call a general election to take advantage of a weaker opposition 

Another little interesting side-note on the forex markets is the Japanese yen, which has plunged into the red against all the leading currencies ahead of the Bank of Japan’s own decision on monetary policy on Thursday.

The currency is under pressure after weekend reports that the country’s prime minister Shinzo Abe is considering to do a “Theresa May” and call a snap election to take advantage of a weakened opposition.

If Mrs May did give the Japanese PM any sage advice on snap elections during her recent state visit, he’s obviously ignored it.

12:00PM

Sterling comes off highs; attention begins to shift towards Fed meeting 

All eyes will be on Fed chair Janet Yellen at her press conference on Wednesday evening

Sterling has slipped slightly on the currency markets this morning as it comes off the highs it hit on Friday following dovish Bank of England policymaker Gertjan Vlieghe’s speech backing the Monetary Policy Committee’s plan to hike interest rates to curb inflation if current economic trends continue.

The pound could be in for another bumpy ride this week against the dollar with Mark Carney due to speak later today and the US Federal Reserve’s meeting on Wednesday to dictate the dollar’s performance on the currency markets later in the week.

The Fed is expected to announce that it will begin to unwind its huge $4.5tn balance sheet but investors will be equally as interested in the central bank’s thoughts on sluggish inflation, which is weighing on the chance of an interest rate hike across the Atlantic before the end of the year.

11:31AM

Petra Diamonds misses targets as Tanzanian worries worsen

Petra recently suspended operations at its mine in Tanzania as the East African country looks to take more control of its mining sector

Shares in Petra Diamonds have slumped 7pc after the FTSE 250 miner reported a disappointing set of results and warned that legal challenges in Tanzania could mean it breaches its debt covenants once again.

The stock slid to 77.50p in early trade after Petra warned that failure to resolve a dispute with the Tanzanian government over diamond exports may result in it breaching two of its covenant measures.

The company said it would “monitor the situation very closely and take decisive action if required”.

Petra had already warned in June that it was in talks with its lenders after suffering a six-month delay at one of its major projects, resulting in it missing production guidance for the year.

Read Jon Yeomans’ full report here

Petra Diamonds
11:23AM

HSBC reverses position on sterling; revises 2017 forecast from $1.20 to $1.35 against the dollar

“We were very wrong.”

That’s how HSBC’s forex team started this morning’s note on sterling to clients, its tail between the legs as the currency smashed the bank’s forecast.

Its strategist David Bloom said that the Bank of England’s “unexpected hunger” to join the ECB and Federal Reserve in beginning to tighten monetary policy had lifted sterling above its estimates, adding that the pound has “happily ignored the political intrigue of Brexit”.

After forecasting the currency to plunge to $1.20 against the dollar by the end of the year, it now believes that it will remain around its current level of $1.35.

The bank does, however, believe that the pound is “likely to weaken in 2018 as the market questions the merit of rate hikes and politics belatedly gets a grip on it”.

10:44AM

Eurozone inflation takes small step in the right direction

Eurozone inflation picked up to 1.5pc in August, Eurostat has confirmed this morning, reversing the downward trend concerning officials at the European Central Bank.

The ECB has been reluctant to signal a shift in monetary policy until inflation starts to rise back towards its 2pc target. After three months of decline or stagnation, the headline figure has finally started to rise again, jumping 0.2 percentage points in the latest estimate. 

Rising prices for transport fuel and accommodation services lifted the headline figure most while Ireland and Greece weighed heaviest on figures in the currency bloc.

The headline rate could begin to fall again in the coming quarters, however, according to Pantheon Macro eurozone economist Claus Vistesen.

He argued: 

“The inflation data in the Eurozone will be driven by two separate stories in the next three-to-six months. The headline likely will fall significantly as base effects push energy inflation lower. The ECB published an estimate earlier today to suggest that headline inflation could fall to 0.9% in the first quarter of 2018. That sounds a little too drastic to us, but we agree with the direction.

“If this forecast is right—and it will be unless oil prices soar—it will create an odd backdrop for the expectations of tighter monetary policy. Core inflation, however, likely will rise slightly providing cover for the ECB to reduce the pace of QE. In particular, we think non-energy goods inflation will increase in Q4 as a lagged response to higher PPI inflation. By contrast, risks are then tilted to the downside in Q1. Services inflation also should edge higher, albeit less so. We look for core inflation in France and Italy to deliver the main upside surprises.” 

10:24AM

Mark Carney speech could help kick-start the pound’s momentum once again

Arch dove Gertjan Vlieghe backing a rise last Friday was seen as an important step towards the Bank of England hiking interest rates

Sterling’s momentum on the forex markets has slowed to a stop this morning but a speech from Bank of England governor Mark Carney this afternoon could kick-start the currency’s recent rally once again.

The pound was lifted to its highest post-EU referendum level against the dollar on Friday after a speech from Gertjan Vlieghe, who is considered the most dovish member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, supported raising interest rates if current economic trends continue.

The Bank of England’s statement on Thursday alongside its decision to hold rates at 0.25pc said that a majority of the central bank’s policymakers backed hiking rates to curb inflation in the coming months and the backing of an arch dove like Mr Vlieghe was seen as an important step towards the MPC voting for a rise.

This morning’s gains on the FTSE 100 could be short-lived if Mark Carney’s speech cements the MPC’s position, according to IG chief market analyst Chris Beauchamp.

He said:

“While sterling’s weakness is giving it some much-needed respite, the gains could well prove fleeting if Mark Carney delivers further remarks this afternoon that follow up on last week’s hawkish turn. 

“Having seen such heavy losses at the end of last week there were bound to be plenty of candidates for dip buying on the index, and with UK stocks still broadly out of favour among institutions this rally could easily have legs,  especially with Q4’s seasonality just weeks away. However, it will all depend on Mark Carney today.”

9:47AM

House prices continue to be dragged down by London 

London continued to drag down the national average

London houses continued to plunge in value in September, dragging down the national average a further 1.2pc in September, fresh data from Rightmove has revealed today.

Only the North East, Yorkshire and the East Midlands saw an increase in prices while London prices fell by 2.9pc compared to the previous month. 

Rightmove said that the number of sales agreed was higher than a year ago, showing that demand remains strong.

House prices reaching their limit after rising for the last six years will be “unavoidable”, said Rightmove director Miles Shipside.

However, he did manage to pick out this silver lining in today’s figures:

“Interest rates cannot realistically drop any further to help buyer affordability, but the potentially good news for buyers’ finances, which have been under attack for years, is that there is some relief from the wage-rise cavalry.

“Average wage rises are now running at nearly double the annual rate of property price rises, and the longer any meaningful differential is maintained then the greater the improvement in buyer affordability.”

9:30AM

Hiscox braces for £110m of Hurricane Harvey claims

Chief executive Bronek Masojada said that the industry can cope with the costs from the two hurricanes

Hiscox said the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Harvey on the United States will cost the insurer $150m (£110m) in claims.

The FTSE 250 firm said the estimate was within the modelled range for a disaster of that scale and was based on an insured market loss of $25bn (£18bn).

It came as the company warned that “natural catastrophes” would run up a big bill for the insurance industry this year, but assured that the sector would be able to cope.

Alongside the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, America is also grappling with the impact of Hurricane Irma, which made a devastating sweep through the Caribbean before slamming into Florida.

Read the full report here

9:21AM

Ryanair dives after ‘messing up’ pilot holidays

Ryanair has plunged this morning after announcing the cancellations 

The fall-out from Ryanair cancelling 40-50 flights every day for the next six weeks after it bungled its pilots’ holiday schedule has sent its shares diving 3.5pc this morning.

The company’s marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said that the airline had “messed up” their pilots’ holiday schedule but added that less than 2pc of its flights will be cancelled.

Rebecca O’Keeffe, head of investment at Interactive Investor said that the error will be “truly damaging” for the company.

She commented:

“Ryanair is notorious for not caring about what sort of headlines they get, working on the basis that all publicity is good publicity – but not this time. Previously, the carrier was happy to suggest that you get what you pay for and despite negative press lots of flyers embraced the fact that they knew the score and were happy to fly without the frills.

“However, the current situation is truly damaging, with flyers left high and dry with last minute cancellations or apprehensive that they might be affected. Is this a planning issue with Ryanair or is it a shortage of pilots? If the former, then it suggests some truly poor processes. If the latter, then we may see wages rise to fill the gaps. Either way, it’s not good news for Ryanair.”

9:04AM

Global stocks nudge up to fresh all-time high

The rally on European stock markets following a positive session in Asia has lifted the MSCI World Index to a fresh all-time high as investor sentiment continues to normalise and attention shifts to the US Federal Reserve’s latest policy decision on Wednesday.

Let’s take a quick look at the big movers in London this morning.

A quiet morning on the corporate front means engineer GKN and insurer Admiral being lifted by broker notes is enough to take them towards the top of the FTSE 100 leaderboard. BAE Systems’ rise on a Typhoon jet order from Qatar still leads the index early on, however, while HSBC has clawed back some of the ground it lost last week.

Gold’s retreat as risk appetite continues to return to normal has pulled precious metal producers Fresnillo and Randgold Resources to the bottom of the FTSE 100. After jumping to $1,347 per ounce on geopolitical worries two weeks ago the price has retreated back down to $1,315 with the markets giving a muted response to the latest escalation on the Korean Peninsula.

Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell commented on this morning’s rebound:

 “Having been battered in the wake of last week’s sterling super surge, the FTSE is using a quiet Monday morning to claw back some of its losses.   At one point last Friday the UK index hit 7195, its worst price since the end of April. Now it’s trying to push on to 7250, sitting a few points shy of that target after rising around half a percent.

“As for the pound, it has had little reason to really move just yet, instead opening relatively flat against both the dollar and the euro. Not to worry though – that means cable is just below last week’s $1.36-crossing 1 year peak, while against the euro sterling is sitting pretty at a 2 month high.”

8:27AM

Agenda: FTSE 100 rebounds as sterling’s momentum slows

BAE Systems leads the blue-chip index early on

The FTSE 100 has rebounded into positive territory this morning as sterling’s dominance on the currency markets eases, pulling the index off the four-month low it plunged to on Friday as the pound jumped to its highest post-EU referendum level.

BAE Systems is leading the rally early on after Qatar signed a letter of intent to buy 24 Typhoon jets from the defence specialist while engineering firm GKN is following shortly behind after being lifted by a broker note.

Only a handful of stocks have retreated early on with Randgold Resources dropping furthest as gold begins the new week in the red.

There’s little of note on the economics calendar today after last week’s action-packed diary. House prices continued to nudge down, retreating a further 1.2pc in August compared to the previous month, according to Rightmove’s latest data.

This morning, the pound has held onto the strong gains it made at the end of last week after the Bank of England’s MPC gave its strongest hint yet that interest rates will rise this year. Against the dollar, sterling is in flat territory at $1.3575 while against the euro, it has edged up to €1.1374, a two-month high,  ahead of final eurozone CPI figures due at 10am.

Interim results: M. P. Evans Group, Secure Income Reit, Concurrent Technologies, Learning Technologies Group, Ergomed, Medica Group

Full-year results: Bluefield Solar Income Fund, Green Reit, Finsbury Food Group, City of London Investment Group, Petra Diamonds 

Trading statement: Dairy Crest Group

AGM: Ormonde Mining

Economics: Rightmove HPI m/m (UK), NAHB Housing Market Index (US), Final CPI y/y (EU)