Beijing-backed fund to purchase Imagination Technologies in £550m deal

Chinese-backed fund Gorge Bridge has swooped on Imagination Technologies in £550m deal which looks set to check Theresa May’s pledge to intervene in foreign takeovers.

Late on Friday, Imagination stated it’d decided to a takeover by Gorge Bridge, which, although located in Plastic Valley, is funded by government bodies in Beijing. Canyon’s curiosity about Imagination, that is located in Herts, was initially reported by The Daily Telegraph in This summer. 

Its offer cost, of 182p per share, is 42pc greater than Imagination’s closing cost on Friday. However, shares within the group are nearly 50pc underneath the level these were buying and selling at just before news captured that Apple would stop having its graphics technologies within the iPhone. 

The offer will probably reignite the controversy within the vulnerability of British companies to asset strippers, in comparison with peers in america and Europe, where there’s more protection for thus-known as ‘national treasures’. 

Earlier this year, the federal government voiced its concern within the potential takeover of Imagination by Gorge, with officials considered to have contacted bankers focusing on the auction concerning the Chinese interest.

In front of the announcement from the deal on Friday, British microchip designer ARM had apparently been circling Imagination with the hope of snatching a good deal, although sources acquainted with ARM’s thinking stated it had been reluctant to go in a putting in a bid war.

On saying yes the offer, Gorge stated it’s “no intends to make any changes towards the ongoing employment of employees and management, nor does plan to alter the principal locations of Imagination’s places of economic, or redeploy any fixed assets of Imagination”.

Canyon’s commitments consume a United kingdom decision now to tighten the Takeover Code to improve the amount of disclosure needed from foreign bidders and wish these to create a report into when they have been stuck to promises over intentions around the location of headquarters and also the changes to staff. 

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Can Google and HTC crack the Apple-Samsung smartphone duopoly?

Bing is partnering with HTC’s Pixel division in order to shore up Google hardware. (Reuters)

Google late Wednesday announced it would pay $1.1 billion for workers from HTC’s smartphone unit, prompting waves upon waves of speculation by what might come next out of this partnership.

However I get one hope: that Google’s clout and HTC’s design can provide us something to challenge Apple and Samsung.

Now, allow me to be obvious. I am not against either Apple or Samsung — both of them make nice phones. I am also not to imply there’s not other smartphone companies available, since there are. But while you will find firms doing interesting things — Essential, LG, even Google’s former acquisition Motorola — it certainly seems like this really is Apple’s and Samsung’s market and we are all just residing in it.

Getting more players can also be great for innovation. “Two is preferable to one. But three is preferable to two,” stated Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy.

Yes, both Apple and Samsung face pressure globally from smartphone makers, specifically in China, where cheaper smartphones from companies for example Huawei are becoming better. But it is still not to say Apple and Samsung are at the very top when, combined, they create up 74 percent from the U.S. smartphone market, based on comScore, in addition to  94 percent from the global industry’s profits, based on Strategy Analytics.

Many have attempted and unsuccessful to a minimum of be a viable third player for that smartphone world. Microsoft and Nokia connected and, for some time, released interesting phones that ultimately did not capture consumers’ hearts. Google’s purchase of Motorola would be a obvious attempt to defend myself against the iPhone and Samsung. As well as HTC appeared as if it’d a go at being a viable third player, with unique phone designs and quality that made its phones stick out from the fairly boring pack of black (or silver) slabs.

But, obviously, it wasn’t intended to be. HTC only agreed to be not large enough, after attempting to shore up sales by getting into the growing market of low-finish smartphones, it lost a number of its sheen around the high-finish.

Google has additionally unsuccessful to create a major dent looking for hardware generally. It will good enough using its own phones — first the Nexus, the Pixel — however they aren’t a primary focus for the organization and haven’t damaged out beyond a far more limited market of Android enthusiasts. Google’s transfer to hardware using its Nest acquisition continues to be effective somewhat, but additionally fraught with insider drama. There has been newer successes, like the Chromecast and also the Google Home, but they’re more the exception compared to rule.

An optimist could see this partnership, which puts a large number of HTC’s engineers underneath the supervision of Google’s hardware heavyweight Ron Osterloh, and state that getting these lenders together will permit them to concentrate on an item and iterate rapidly. With Google’s checkbook and also the secrets of the Android operating-system, there’s possibility of an Apple-like unification of software and hardware design.

A pessimist could state that there is no need to believe that these businesses, which happen to be cooperating on Pixel, can accomplish an objective neither have accomplished individually.

To succeed at cracking Apple’s and Samsung’s grips will need a transfer of Google’s priorities like a company — and we have had some indications of this, but we have been lower this road before. As Richard Windsor of Edison Investment Research stated inside a Thursday note to investors, Google’s “hardware acquisitions seem like undesirable orphans which have no enterprise being a member of Google. Google has yet to exhibit any sign it is familiar with in the mistakes, but better late than never.”

Purchase of nick pioneer Imagination raises China fears

The Government has expressed concern more than a potential takeover from the British iPhone microchip designer with a private equity finance firm supported by China.

Officials make informal connection with bankers focusing on the auction of Imagination Technologies about interest from Gorge Bridge Capital Partners, that is located in Plastic Valley but funded by Beijing government bodies. It’s not obvious if the Government would make an effort to block a purchase over security concerns, using its participation to date explained a resource as “lots of bluster and absolutely nothing very helpful”.

Imagination has put itself up for purchase after Apple pulled the plug around the lengthy-standing graphics technology deal that’s been the foundation of their business, delivering the shares tumbling 70pc.

The very first iPhone to depend on microchips developed in-house through the Plastic Valley giant was unveiled a week ago.

The Sunday Telegraph revealed the approach from Gorge Bridge in This summer. The firm is dealing with advisors at Citigroup on the potential bid. Security fears have previously disrupted Gorge Bridge’s microchip ambitions within the U . s . States.

President Trump a week ago blocked an agreed $1.3bn (£0.96bn) takeover of Lattice Semiconductor, a hi-tech manufacturer located in Or.

Steven Mnuchin, US treasury secretary, stated the move was in conjuction with the administration’s “commitment to consider all actions necessary to guarantee the protection people national security”.

The organization used to be worth nearly £2bn

It sparked rage in Beijing, in which the communist party makes worldwide growth and development of china ­microchip industry a main plank of their economic plans. Officials stated “security checks on the sensitive investment is really a nation’s legitimate right, however it shouldn’t be utilized for a protectionist tool”.

It was certainly one of a number of occasions within the last 30 years when presidential authority has been utilized to bar an overseas takeover.

So that they can avoid Trump scrutiny over Imagination, Gorge Bridge is described as centered on a possible bid that will exclude its US unit.

The Herts-based company, once valued on the stock exchange at nearly £2bn, compensated $100m for that business this year within an ill-fated make an effort to expand beyond graphics technology and challenge ARM looking for general mobile processors. The planned takeover will be a test of Theresa May’s determination to subject foreign takeovers in key sectors from the economy to more study.

The Conservative manifesto guaranteed new forces to ensure that “the Government can need a bid to become stopped to permit greater scrutiny”.

However, Mrs May’s weak showing in the general election meant the proposals didn’t come in the Queen’s Speech.

Gorge Bridge could yet face an adversary bid from your industry player for example Rambus, an american memory microchip giant trying to diversify. ARM has eliminated an offer, based on sources acquainted with its plans.

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Chips Off the Old Block: Computers Are Taking Design Cues From Human Brains

SAN FRANCISCO — We expect a lot from our computers these days. They should talk to us, recognize everything from faces to flowers, and maybe soon do the driving. All this artificial intelligence requires an enormous amount of computing power, stretching the limits of even the most modern machines.

Now, some of the world’s largest tech companies are taking a cue from biology as they respond to these growing demands. They are rethinking the very nature of computers and are building machines that look more like the human brain, where a central brain stem oversees the nervous system and offloads particular tasks — like hearing and seeing — to the surrounding cortex.

After years of stagnation, the computer is evolving again, and this behind-the-scenes migration to a new kind of machine will have broad and lasting implications. It will allow work on artificially intelligent systems to accelerate, so the dream of machines that can navigate the physical world by themselves can one day come true.

This migration could also diminish the power of Intel, the longtime giant of chip design and manufacturing, and fundamentally remake the $335 billion a year semiconductor industry that sits at the heart of all things tech, from the data centers that drive the internet to your iPhone to the virtual reality headsets and flying drones of tomorrow.

“This is an enormous change,” said John Hennessy, the former Stanford University president who wrote an authoritative book on computer design in the mid-1990s and is now a member of the board at Alphabet, Google’s parent company. “The existing approach is out of steam, and people are trying to re-architect the system.”

The existing approach has had a pretty nice run. For about half a century, computer makers have built systems around a single, do-it-all chip — the central processing unit — from a company like Intel, one of the world’s biggest semiconductor makers. That’s what you’ll find in the middle of your own laptop computer or smartphone.

Now, computer engineers are fashioning more complex systems. Rather than funneling all tasks through one beefy chip made by Intel, newer machines are dividing work into tiny pieces and spreading them among vast farms of simpler, specialized chips that consume less power.

Changes inside Google’s giant data centers are a harbinger of what is to come for the rest of the industry. Inside most of Google’s servers, there is still a central processor. But enormous banks of custom-built chips work alongside them, running the computer algorithms that drive speech recognition and other forms of artificial intelligence.

Google reached this point out of necessity. For years, the company had operated the world’s largest computer network — an empire of data centers and cables that stretched from California to Finland to Singapore. But for one Google researcher, it was much too small.

In 2011, Jeff Dean, one of the company’s most celebrated engineers, led a research team that explored the idea of neural networks — essentially computer algorithms that can learn tasks on their own. They could be useful for a number of things, like recognizing the words spoken into smartphones or the faces in a photograph.

In a matter of months, Mr. Dean and his team built a service that could recognize spoken words far more accurately than Google’s existing service. But there was a catch: If the world’s more than one billion phones that operated on Google’s Android software used the new service just three minutes a day, Mr. Dean realized, Google would have to double its data center capacity in order to support it.

“We need another Google,” Mr. Dean told Urs Hölzle, the Swiss-born computer scientist who oversaw the company’s data center empire, according to someone who attended the meeting. So Mr. Dean proposed an alternative: Google could build its own computer chip just for running this kind of artificial intelligence.

But what began inside data centers is starting to shift other parts of the tech landscape. Over the next few years, companies like Google, Apple and Samsung will build phones with specialized A.I. chips. Microsoft is designing such a chip specifically for an augmented-reality headset. And everyone from Google to Toyota is building autonomous cars that will need similar chips.

This trend toward specialty chips and a new computer architecture could lead to a “Cambrian explosion” of artificial intelligence, said Gill Pratt, who was a program manager at Darpa, a research arm of the United States Department of Defense, and now works on driverless cars at Toyota. As he sees it, machines that spread computations across vast numbers of tiny, low-power chips can operate more like the human brain, which efficiently uses the energy at its disposal.

“In the brain, energy efficiency is the key,” he said during a recent interview at Toyota’s new research center in Silicon Valley.

Change on the Horizon

There are many kinds of silicon chips. There are chips that store information. There are chips that perform basic tasks in toys and televisions. And there are chips that run various processes for computers, from the supercomputers used to create models for global warming to personal computers, internet servers and smartphones.

For years, the central processing units, or C.P.U.s, that ran PCs and similar devices were where the money was. And there had not been much need for change.

In accordance with Moore’s Law, the oft-quoted maxim from Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, the number of transistors on a computer chip had doubled every two years or so, and that provided steadily improved performance for decades. As performance improved, chips consumed about the same amount of power, according to another, lesser-known law of chip design called Dennard scaling, named for the longtime IBM researcher Robert Dennard.

By 2010, however, doubling the number of transistors was taking much longer than Moore’s Law predicted. Dennard’s scaling maxim had also been upended as chip designers ran into the limits of the physical materials they used to build processors. The result: If a company wanted more computing power, it could not just upgrade its processors. It needed more computers, more space and more electricity.

Researchers in industry and academia were working to extend Moore’s Law, exploring entirely new chip materials and design techniques. But Doug Burger, a researcher at Microsoft, had another idea: Rather than rely on the steady evolution of the central processor, as the industry had been doing since the 1960s, why not move some of the load onto specialized chips?

During his Christmas vacation in 2010, Mr. Burger, working with a few other chip researchers inside Microsoft, began exploring new hardware that could accelerate the performance of Bing, the company’s internet search engine.

At the time, Microsoft was just beginning to improve Bing using machine-learning algorithms (neural networks are a type of machine learning) that could improve search results by analyzing the way people used the service. Though these algorithms were less demanding than the neural networks that would later remake the internet, existing chips had trouble keeping up.

Mr. Burger and his team explored several options but eventually settled on something called Field Programmable Gate Arrays, or F.P.G.A.s.: chips that could be reprogrammed for new jobs on the fly. Microsoft builds software, like Windows, that runs on an Intel C.P.U. But such software cannot reprogram the chip, since it is hard-wired to perform only certain tasks.

With an F.P.G.A., Microsoft could change the way the chip works. It could program the chip to be really good at executing particular machine learning algorithms. Then, it could reprogram the chip to be really good at running logic that sends the millions and millions of data packets across its computer network. It was the same chip but it behaved in a different way.

Microsoft started to install the chips en masse in 2015. Now, just about every new server loaded into a Microsoft data center includes one of these programmable chips. They help choose the results when you search Bing, and they help Azure, Microsoft’s cloud-computing service, shuttle information across its network of underlying machines.

Teaching Computers to Listen

In fall 2016, another team of Microsoft researchers — mirroring the work done by Jeff Dean at Google — built a neural network that could, by one measure at least, recognize spoken words more accurately than the average human could.

Xuedong Huang, a speech-recognition specialist who was born in China, led the effort, and shortly after the team published a paper describing its work, he had dinner in the hills above Palo Alto, Calif., with his old friend Jen-Hsun Huang, (no relation), the chief executive of the chipmaker Nvidia. The men had reason to celebrate, and they toasted with a bottle of champagne.

Xuedong Huang and his fellow Microsoft researchers had trained their speech-recognition service using large numbers of specialty chips supplied by Nvidia, rather than relying heavily on ordinary Intel chips. Their breakthrough would not have been possible had they not made that change.

“We closed the gap with humans in about a year,” Microsoft’s Mr. Huang said. “If we didn’t have the weapon — the infrastructure — it would have taken at least five years.”

Because systems that rely on neural networks can learn largely on their own, they can evolve more quickly than traditional services. They are not as reliant on engineers writing endless lines of code that explain how they should behave.

But there is a wrinkle: Training neural networks this way requires extensive trial and error. To create one that is able to recognize words as well as a human can, researchers must train it repeatedly, tweaking the algorithms and improving the training data over and over. At any given time, this process unfolds over hundreds of algorithms. That requires enormous computing power, and if companies like Microsoft use standard-issue chips to do it, the process takes far too long because the chips cannot handle the load and too much electrical power is consumed.

So, the leading internet companies are now training their neural networks with help from another type of chip called a graphics processing unit, or G.P.U. These low-power chips — usually made by Nvidia — were originally designed to render images for games and other software, and they worked hand-in-hand with the chip — usually made by Intel — at the center of a computer. G.P.U.s can process the math required by neural networks far more efficiently than C.P.U.s.

Nvidia is thriving as a result, and it is now selling large numbers of G.P.U.s to the internet giants of the United States and the biggest online companies around the world, in China most notably. The company’s quarterly revenue from data center sales tripled to $409 million over the past year.

“This is a little like being right there at the beginning of the internet,” Jen-Hsun Huang said in a recent interview. In other words, the tech landscape is changing rapidly, and Nvidia is at the heart of that change.

Creating Specialized Chips

G.P.U.s are the primary vehicles that companies use to teach their neural networks a particular task, but that is only part of the process. Once a neural network is trained for a task, it must perform it, and that requires a different kind of computing power.

After training a speech-recognition algorithm, for example, Microsoft offers it up as an online service, and it actually starts identifying commands that people speak into their smartphones. G.P.U.s are not quite as efficient during this stage of the process. So, many companies are now building chips specifically to do what the other chips have learned.

Google built its own specialty chip, a Tensor Processing Unit, or T.P.U. Nvidia is building a similar chip. And Microsoft has reprogrammed specialized chips from Altera, which was acquired by Intel, so that it too can run neural networks more easily.

Other companies are following suit. Qualcomm, which specializes in chips for smartphones, and a number of start-ups are also working on A.I. chips, hoping to grab their piece of the rapidly expanding market. The tech research firm IDC predicts that revenue from servers equipped with alternative chips will reach $6.8 billion by 2021, about 10 percent of the overall server market.

Across Microsoft’s global network of machines, Mr. Burger pointed out, alternative chips are still a relatively modest part of the operation. And Bart Sano, the vice president of engineering who leads hardware and software development for Google’s network, said much the same about the chips deployed at its data centers.

Mike Mayberry, who leads Intel Labs, played down the shift toward alternative processors, perhaps because Intel controls more than 90 percent of the data-center market, making it by far the largest seller of traditional chips. He said that if central processors were modified the right way, they could handle new tasks without added help.

But this new breed of silicon is spreading rapidly, and Intel is increasingly a company in conflict with itself. It is in some ways denying that the market is changing, but nonetheless shifting its business to keep up with the change.

Two years ago, Intel spent $16.7 billion to acquire Altera, which builds the programmable chips that Microsoft uses. It was Intel’s largest acquisition ever. Last year, the company paid a reported $408 million buying Nervana, a company that was exploring a chip just for executing neural networks. Now, led by the Nervana team, Intel is developing a dedicated chip for training and executing neural networks.

“They have the traditional big-company problem,” said Bill Coughran, a partner at the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital who spent nearly a decade helping to oversee Google’s online infrastructure, referring to Intel. “They need to figure out how to move into the new and growing areas without damaging their traditional business.”

Intel’s internal conflict is most apparent when company officials discuss the decline of Moore’s Law. During a recent interview with The New York Times, Naveen Rao, the Nervana founder and now an Intel executive, said Intel could squeeze “a few more years” out of Moore’s Law. Officially, the company’s position is that improvements in traditional chips will continue well into the next decade.

Mr. Mayberry of Intel also argued that the use of additional chips was not new. In the past, he said, computer makers used separate chips for tasks like processing audio.

But now the scope of the trend is significantly larger. And it is changing the market in new ways. Intel is competing not only with chipmakers like Nvidia and Qualcomm, but also with companies like Google and Microsoft.

Google is designing the second generation of its T.P.U. chips. Later this year, the company said, any business or developer that is a customer of its cloud-computing service will be able to use the new chips to run its software.

While this shift is happening mostly inside the massive data centers that underpin the internet, it is probably a matter of time before it permeates the broader industry.

The hope is that this new breed of mobile chip can help devices handle more, and more complex, tasks on their own, without calling back to distant data centers: phones recognizing spoken commands without accessing the internet; driverless cars recognizing the world around them with a speed and accuracy that is not possible now.

In other words, a driverless car needs cameras and radar and lasers. But it also needs a brain.

Apple unveils new items, such as the $1,000 iPhone X

Apple’s new iPhone X will feature facial recognition technology and build a 3-dimensional mathematical map of the face. (Victoria Master/The Washington Publish)

CUPERTINO, Calif. — Apple unveiled three new inclusions in its smartphone selection Tuesday, together with a $999 premium version — a telephone that shows where Apple plans to accept iPhone into its next decade.

The bar for that new phone was high for Apple. Most of their revenue is generated with the smartphone. Overall, analysts appeared to consider the organization hit the objective, but nonetheless wanted a lot of where the organization would go next.

“Apple organized a really competitive group of products because it celebrated the iPhone’s tenth anniversary,” stated Geoff Blaber, research v . p . at CCS Insights. ‘The key question now’s just how much it’ll prioritize software and services because the engine of future growth,” he stated, adding that that may help reinforce Apple’s effective hardware business.

While Apple required time for you to celebrate the iPhone’s background and its late co-founder Jobs, additionally, it made obvious that it is forging a brand new path ahead. For instance, Apple skipped the iPhone 7s name altogether — signaling a cleaner break in the last generation of phones.

The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus have glass backs, by having an aluminum trim which comes in black, grey and gold. The brand new products are speedier with better cameras and improved battery efficiency. The phones may also accommodate wireless charging, an element on competing phones. Apple’s mind of promoting Phil Schiller stated Apple yet others can make charging pad that will appear at partner coffee houses and stores, as well as in newer and more effective cars.

Apple is bumping in the base storage from the iPhone 8 to 64 GB in a cost of $699. The bigger iPhone 8 Plus will begin at $799. Both is going to be readily available for order on Sept. 15 and ship on Sept. 22.

Yet while Apple touted the characteristics from the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, it had been the iPhone X that stole the show. Apple leader Tim Prepare stated the iPhone X — a reputation spoken because the “iPhone 10”— will “set the road for technology for the following decade.”

The iPhone X will begin at $999 — significantly greater than the bottom cost from the other models. It is going to be readily available for pre-order on March. 27th, and ship on November. 3.

The iPhone X comes with an advanced variety of cameras for facial recognition, which enables the telephone to get unlocked simply by searching in internet marketing. The cameras can become familiar with a user’s face and note gradual changes. And you can use it at nite and day.

But Apple guaranteed that it wouldn’t collect the data on all individuals faces. The data would simply be stored around the smartphone, not delivered to Apple servers.

The facial recognition technologies have other applications, too. Apple introduced “animoji” — animated emoji that imitates your facial movements and enables you to record animated messages through texts.

The brand new high-finish smartphone includes a 5.8 inch display that covers the whole top of the phone. Unlike its cheaper brother or sister, the iPhone 10 is available in space gray and silver and sports a “super” retina display, which Schiller stated was much sharper than every other iPhone since it uses OLED display technology.

Particularly, there is also no home button. Users must swipe and employ gestures to shut an application. Calling up Siri is now able to done with a brand new side button.

The iPhone X boasts updated cameras too, and also the battery existence is 2 hrs more than the iPhone 7.

Such as the new iPhone 8, the iPhone X could be billed wirelessly.

Overall, while analysts stated this doesn’t feel as crucial as the very first iPhone, Apple did enough to demonstrate it’s headed within the right direction. “The iPhone X won’t disrupt the smartphone market how a initial iPhone revolutionized mobile and lots of other industries,” stated Thomas Husson, v . p . and analyst at Forrester. “However, along with iOS 11 innovations, it’ll reinforce consumers’ and brands’ loyalty towards the Apple ecosystem in addition to illustrate the evolving role of smartphones within an more and more connected world.”

Apple announced other upgrades and new inclusions in its products line.

The brand new Watch, known as the Series 3, may have its very own cellular connectivity, stated Apple’s chief operating officer, Shaun Johnson, who’s also responsible for Apple’s Watch division. The Timepiece can receive calls — making use of your iPhone’s number — and may support apps including Maps and WeChat. The brand new Apple Watch may also be suitable for Apple Music, meaning technology-not only as an mp3 player by itself.

The Timepiece may have as much as 18 hrs of battery existence across LTE, Bluetooth and Wireless. Beginning Sept. 22, cellular form of the timepiece goes on purchase for $399. Without cellular connection, it’ll cost you $329. The Series 1 Apple Watch’s cost will drop to $249.

Apple can also be creating a big push to produce its very own shows and shore up its position within the family room. The Apple set-top box, Apple TV, has become likely to support 4K HDR video the organization stated. The organization can also be adding live news and live sports sections towards the Apple TV application.

This area is getting faster processors. The organization demonstrated the way it could connect eight people online and ask them to play a relevant video game together.

Versions of flicks and shows filmed in 4K will definitely cost just like HD videos on Apple’s iTunes store. The brand new Apple TV 4K goes on purchase Sept. 15 and ship Sept. 22. It’ll cost you $179. While 4K adoption continues to be slow to obtain began, analysts say it’s starting to achieve a tipping point.

Apple’s stock fell around 2.five percent throughout the event before closing lower just by .40 % to $160.86.

Nordstrom’s intend to attract shoppers: Wine, manicures — but no merchandise

Apple unveils new items such as the $1,000 iPhone]

It’s an identical idea at Nordstrom, which in 2014 spent $350 million on Trunk Club, the internet personal styling service. The organization seemed to be an earlier investor in Bonobos, the men’s e-commerce company which was acquired by Walmart for $310 million earlier this season.

“Nordstrom has not been afraid to test something totally new, and that’s become particularly important within an atmosphere where bricks and mortar is becoming obsolete,” stated Ivan Feinseth, an analyst for Tigress Financial Partners. “Most retailers are battling because other product identity and can’t interact with customers. Nordstrom may be the opposite: It happens to be noted for an advanced of customer support, and today they’re moving further for the reason that direction.”

However, many said it’s not immediately obvious whether Nordstrom’s new idea is going to be effective. One of the challenges the organization could face: greater shipping costs because it mails more products to customers’ homes, and difficulty winning over shoppers who’ve become familiar with shopping at home.

“It’s an assorted bag,” stated Milton Pedraza, leader from the Luxury Institute, an industry research firm. “There are individuals who such as the instant gratification of likely to a store, and you will find other people who such as the ease of ordering at home. This model — well, it type of provides them neither.”

Nordstrom is a rare vibrant place within the retail industry, as longtime shops chains like Macy’s, Kohl’s, Sears and J.C. Penney report declining profits, and announce intends to close countless stores. San antonio-based Nordstrom, however, reported that both revenue and same-store sales — a stride of sales at locations open at least a year — were up during the newest quarter, as increasing numbers of people shopped on the internet and in the stores.

But the organization can also be facing competition from Amazon . com.com, which this season is anticipated to exceed Macy’s because the country’s largest seller of apparel. Amazon . com continues to be strongly accumulating its clothing and footwear companies using its own private-label brands and recently completed its $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole-foods Market, passing on a network of nearly 500 stores round the country. (Jeffrey P. Bezos, the main executive and founding father of Amazon . com, owns The Washington Publish.)

“That’s the large question on everybody’s minds: How can you produce a hybrid between shopping on the web as well as in store?” Pedraza stated. “Nobody has figured it at this time, therefore the stakes are extremely high.”

“It’s not really a slam dunk — it isn’t like anybody says, ‘Oh my God, what a good idea.’ They should’ve carried this out years back,’” Pedraza stated. “But it’s a fascinating idea. And you never know? Maybe it’ll work.”

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Market report

Concerns that Imagination Technologies’ Apple earnings will disappear earlier than expected sent the takeover target sliding as the new iPhone’s delayed release sunk suppliers across the globe.

While some of Imagination’s intellectual property remains in the new iPhone X, Apple stated that it has designed the graphics processing unit (GPU) in the new product, hinting that the company will begin to phase-out its relationship with the Hertfordshire-based company, which had derived around half of its revenues from the Silicon Valley giant.

Nearly £470m was wiped off Imagination’s valuation overnight in April after Apple revealed that it was ditching the company and making its own GPU from 2018.

Decimated by the share price plummet, the company then put itself up for sale with Beijing-backed private equity fund Canyon Bridge Capital Partners rumoured to be in the running. It appears, however, that the world’s largest listed company has fast-forwarded its plans to take full control of its products’ GPU, weakening Imagination 7.3p, or 5.1pc, to 135.8p.

If confirmed, it would mean less per device Apple royalty payments a year earlier than expected, said Stifel analyst Lee Simpson.

The iPhone X’s delayed November release date took the shine off the tech giant’s latest unveiling with unimpressed investors dumping shares in suppliers reliant on a strong Apple sales boost in the fourth quarter of the year.

Tiny Welsh chipmaker IQE, whose share price has tripled since speculation mounted that the company would be integral to the new iPhone’s 3D-tracking technology, was one of Apple’s victims, retreating 10.3p to 136.8p.

Over in the US, Apple continued to fall, shedding another 1pc after the opening bell in New York as traders attempted to decipher the impact of the tech firm’s delayed release on earnings.

Elsewhere, industrial metal producers torpedoed the FTSE 100 as copper slipped to pull down miners Glencore and Rio Tinto 8.9p to 363.6p and 66p to £36.25, respectively.

BP and Royal Dutch Shell ‘B’ climbing 3.5p to 452.4p and 14p to £21.92, respectively, on the price of oil rallying mitigated the blue-chip index’s 20.99-point fall to 7379.70, however. Brent crude prices advanced 1pc to just under $55 per barrel after the International Energy Agency forecast higher demand in 2017 as OPEC’s production begins to ebb, encouraging traders that the oil market is finally beginning to rebalance.

Finally, newspaper publisher Johnston Press popped 0.13p to 12.8p after private equity firm Custos upped its stake in the I and The Scotsman publisher from 5pc to just over 8pc.

5:13PM

Markets wrap: Squeeze on UK households tightens as wage growth figures disappoint

High inflation and stagnant wage growth has muddied Mark Carney and the MPC’s decision 

The squeeze on UK households got a little tighter today after the ONS confirmed that wage growth lags far behind rising inflation, knocking hopes of an early interest rate rise.

While unemployment dropped to a fresh 42-year low at 4.3pc, the tighter labour market couldn’t pull up wages, which stagnated at 2.1pc in the three months to July.

Hawkish hopes of an early rate hike were ignited yesterday when inflation jumped to 2.9pc but sluggish wage growth has added another layer of uncertainty with the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee due to meet tomorrow.

Although no change in policy is expected in tomorrow’s meeting, inflation soaring well ahead of the bank’s 2pc target has cranked up the pressure on Mark Carney and the MPC with chief economist Andy Haldane deemed the most likely to jump ship to the hawks.

The pound coming off a one-year high against the dollar following the job figures couldn’t help the FTSE 100, which has been sunk by miners retreating on the price of copper slipping.

IG market analyst Joshua Mahony explained the miners’ drag on the FTSE 100 today:

“Miners provided a drag upon the FTSE 100 throughout today’s session, as the deterioration in both precious and industrial metals dragged the likes of Antofagasta, Anglo American, Fresnillo and Glencore to the bottom of the leaderboard.

“Copper was today’s big loser amongst a sea of red for metals, while a selloff in gold in the face of equity market weakness saw the precious metal finally trade like a physical commodity rather than just a safe haven asset.”

4:34PM

Hospital drugs firm Clinigen snaps up troubled rival Quantum for £150m

Clinigen supplies drugs to hospitals

One of the largest companies on London’s junior market Aim, hospital drugs supplier Clinigen, has agreed a deal to snap up troubled rival Quantum Pharma for £150m.

The news sent shares in Quantum Pharma up 18pc. However, its suitor, which has a market cap of over £1.1bn, suffered a 3pc fall as investors mulled over the tie-up.

The offer is for 37p in cash and 0.0405 new Clinigen shares per Quantum share.

Shaun Clinton, chief executive of Clinigen, told the Telegraph the move would boost its ability to supply novel drugs to clinicians and enable it to expand further into continental Europe.

He said further acquisitions could be on the cards, saying: “We would consider further bolt-on deals to add speciality pharma products or to extend our geographical footprint.”

Read Iain Withers’ full report here

4:20PM

US markets lose steam after jumping to record closes

Apple and energy shares are engaging in a tug of war in the US

After jumping to record all-time closes yesterday, the Dow Jones and S&P 500 have lost their steam slightly over in the US this afternoon.

Both indices are in flat territory with the tug of war between Apple’s 1.2pc retreat and energy stocks buoyed by stronger prices resulting in a flat finish.

Buyers are running out of steam, according to CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

He commented:

“Stock markets in Europe are experiencing low volatility as the rally that we saw at the start of the week has lost momentum.

“The bullish sentiment on the back of Hurricane Irma not being as severe as predicted, and no new tensions in relation to North Korea, has been replaced with a lacklustre attitude. You could say traders are pausing for breath, after the positive run.”

3:52PM

Blackpool Airport returns to public ownership after 13 years as Balfour Beatty sells stake

Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool Council, said today’s sale would protect the 30 people currently employed by the airport

Balfour Beatty has agreed to sell its majority stake in Blackpool Airport to the council, as the local authority looks to protect the future of the site.

Construction company Balfour agreed the deal to sell 95pc of the airport for £4.25m, saying that it “further simplifies the portfolio, in line with the group’s strategy”.

Blackpool Council had originally owned the airport until 2004, when it sold the stake to a consortium led by City Hopper Airports and Mar Properties for £13m. The council retained the remaining 5pc, while the rest was sold to Balfour Beatty in 2008.

However, falling passenger numbers and a legal dispute with operator Jet2 over the opening hours of the airport led to the site falling into administration in 2014.

Read Rhiannon Bury’s full report here

3:25PM

Jobs growth accelerates but pay disappoints in interest rate dilemma for Carney 

Unemployment tumbled to a new 42-year low in July, with more Britons than ever before in work.

Private and public hiring picked up in the three months to July with employment rising by 181,364, the fastest pace of jobs growth since 2015. More than 31.2m people are now in work, while joblessness dropped to 1.46m, or 4.3pc – a low not seen since mid-1975.

Employers appear keen to keep on hiring as the Office for National Statistics found 774,000 vacancies in August, a modest rise on the month.

The number of public sector workers also rose for the first time in a year to 5.44m.

Read Tim Wallace’s full report here

2:58PM

Galliford Try avoids large infrastructure projects as charge on legacy contracts hits profits  

Peter Truscott, Galliford’s chief executive, said that the company was remaining “cautious” about the impact of political uncertainty and the outlook for the macro economy

The developer and construction company Galliford Try has said it will no longer bid for large fixed-price infrastructure contracts after its profits were hit by a charge on legacy contracts. 

Pre-tax profits fell nearly 60pc to £59m due to the £98m charge it announced in May, relating to problem legacy contracts for the the Queensferry Crossing and part of a road in Aberdeen. But the company posted a 7pc rise in revenues to £2.7bn in the 12 months to June 30, and a 9pc increase in pre-tax profits excluding exceptional items including the charge.

Galliford added that the amount set aside was unchanged and it was making “good progress” on its target to increase profits by 60pc by 2021.

Its housebuilding arm, Linden Homes, and the regeneration division both reported stronger results, with operating profits up 16pc and 27pc respectively, but the construction side suffered, with margins on its underlying business squeezed to virtually nothing. 

Read Isabelle Fraser’s full report here

Galliford Try
2:40PM

Pound and dollar await crucial Thursday

Weak inflation is holding back interest rates rises in the US

Sterling has dipped into the red against the dollar in the last half an hour but today’s movements could be small fry compared to a big day for the two currencies tomorrow.

While sterling has the Bank of England’s Super Thursday to contend with, the US’s own inflation and interest rate hike worries will be the focal point for traders stateside.

Persistently sluggish inflation in the US has dampened hike hopes but a pick-up could reignite expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise rates for a third time in the cycle before the end of the year.

Lukman Otunuga, research analyst at FXTM, said this on tomorrow’s US figures:

“Thursday’s CPI report is a big deal, especially when considering how concerns over stubbornly low inflation rates remain one of the key culprits weighing heavily on US rate hike expectations.

“Price action suggests that dollar bears still remain in control, as investors become increasingly sceptical over the Federal Reserve’s ability to raise interest rates again before the end of the year. A soft inflation figure on Thursday that falls below market estimates is likely to dent the prospect of higher US rates, consequently punishing the vulnerable dollar further.”

2:01PM

Brent crude rallies close to $55 per barrel on upgraded demand forecast

Oil stocks have been boosted by the IEA’s upgraded forecast

Oil demand will pick-up faster than expected this year, the International Energy Agency has forecast today, boosting the price of Brent crude to close to $55 per barrel.

The IEA said that the market is beginning to rebalance as oil demand grows and production among OPEC members begins to fall.

Brent crude jumped 0.8pc to its highest level since late May after the report bumped up its demand growth forecast by 1.6m barrels per day.

Oil stocks have lagged behind crude’s rally in recent months but today the two oil giants on the FTSE 100, BP and Shell, have advanced 0.5pc and 0.6pc, respectively.

1:27PM

UK funds back DNA data miner that can diagnose disease

Sophia Genetics holds a database of 125,000 human genomes

A biotech offering artificial intelligence that can diagnose diseases by mining hundreds of thousands of patients’ DNA data has completed a $30m (£22.6m) fundraising, backed by names including UK venture capital giant Balderton Capital.

Sophia Genetics said it would use the cash to expand its network of hospital tie-ups, which already stands at 330 hospitals in 53 countries, including nine in the UK. The push will be focused on expansion outside Europe.

It will also help fund a move into cancer diagnostics, with the latest therapies from drugmakers increasingly being tailored to suit a patient’s genetic profile.

Swiss-based Sophia Genetics has already analysed the genomic profiles of over 125,000 patients, providing a database that aids doctors in diagnosing a range of conditions from cystic fibrosis and hereditary heart problems.

Read Iain Withers’ full report here

1:02PM

Halfords names Dixons Carphone software boss as new chief executive

Halfords said summer sales had been boosted by a rise in the number of Brits choosing to vacation closer to home

Halfords has appointed the boss of Dixons Carphone’s software business as it new chief executive.

Graham Stapleton has been hired to replace Jill McDonald, who is taking the reigns at Marks & Spencer’s clothing, home and beauty business next month.

Mr Stapleton, who joins the company in January, has previously served as chief executive of Dixons Carphone’s Connect World Services division. Prior to that, he was chief executive of Carphone Warehouse UK & Ireland.

Earlier in his career he held senior positions at Kingfisher and Marks & Spencer.

Read Sam Dean’s full report here

12:48PM

Lunchtime update: Squeeze on households confirmed by stagnant wage growth

The gap between inflation and wage growth has continued to widen

The squeeze on UK households got a little tighter today as the ONS confirmed that wage growth lags far behind rising inflation.

Unemployment dropped to its lowest level in 42 years but the tighter labour market failed to translate to earnings with wage growth stagnating at 2.1pc.

The fall has knocked hawkish hopes of an earlier-than-expected interest rate rise at the Bank of England and the pound has pared its early gains on the currency markets. Sterling remains at a one-year high against the dollar, however, trading at $1.3274.

The FTSE 100’s losses have eased but it is still stuck in the red, bucking the trend on markets. Miners weighed heavily on the blue-chip index as copper slipped to a three-week low while Tesco is the sharpest faller on a broker downgrade.

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

“While sterling’s slide took the edge off the FTSE’s losses it couldn’t fully lift it out of the red. Instead the index is still down 30 or so points, weighed down by its mining stocks. As for the Eurozone, the euro’s bounce against the pound meant there was little for the DAX and CAC to enjoy, instead both indices sitting flat as the morning went on.  

“Looking to this afternoon and for now the Dow Jones seems to have stalled at 22100. The index is set to start the US session flat at that level, with little on the agenda – bar the latest PPI reading – to help it on its way to a fresh all-time high.”

12:26PM

Slow wage growth a global problem

Today’s wage growth figures are proving a bit of a head scratcher for economists. The normal connection between a tight labour market and wage growth just hasn’t been feeding through into the figures recently.

Real wage growth has fallen in almost all sectors with only a handful, including finance and arts, enjoying a rise. 

Looking at the employment figures by region, Northern Ireland lags behind with just 68.2pc of its population in work compared to 79.6pc in the South East.  

Investec economist Philip Shaw points out that slow wage growth is not just a UK problem:

“Both basic economic theory and common sense suggest that pay growth is likely to be bid up as labour becomes scarcer and shortages become more commonplace.

“However, soft wage growth is not just a feature of the UK economy, but an international phenomenon, with the authorities in the US, the euro area and Japan attempting to make sense of similar developments, despite tight, or at least tightening labour markets there.”

Ashurst employment partner Crowley Woodford believes that confidence is key to sluggish wage growth:

“There is still a lack of confidence amongst employers with regards to the longer term future whilst workers still feel insecure in their jobs. This dampens the pressure on employers to offer higher pay and employee representative bodies to demand it.”

11:57AM

Apple’s iPhone X unveiling pulls down European suppliers

The iPhone X will be released in November and cost £999

Unless you’ve been living under the rock or taken a vow against capitalism, you may have noticed that Apple unveiled its new iPhone X yesterday and the markets are of course not immune to the latest release from the world’s largest listed company.

Disappointment that the iPhone X will not hit stores until November dragged down Apple shares 0.4pc last night in the US with the new £999 phone available to buy on November 3, a considerable delay compared to previous releases.

Given that Apple left its fourth quarter guidance in tact, it suggests that the tech giant expects to compensate for the delay with sales of its new iPhone 8, which will be released later this month.

Apple’s share price knock has had a read across to its suppliers with British semiconductor firm IQE falling nearly 6pc while in Europe suppliers AMS and Dialog have both retreated. Imagination Tech shares, which have plummeted since Apple announced that it would soon stop using the company’s chips, have fallen 4.5pc.

11:28AM

Markets update: easyJet jumps on new long-haul booking service

EasyJet has moved into long-haul through its ‘Worldwide by easyJet’ service

All that wage growth excitement has led me to neglect the big movers in London this morning so let’s take a quick look at the laggards and leaders.

On the FTSE 100, easyJet has been propelled to the top of the leaderboard after making the move into long-haul through a new service that allows passengers to book connecting flights on partner airlines.

At the other end, Tesco has dropped 1.9pc on a broker downgrade from Exane BNP Paribas while mining stocks are struggling as the price of copper falls to a three-week low.

On the mid-cap FTSE 250, homeware store Dunelm has popped over 7pc after it told shareholders of a strong start to its financial year while wholesale retailer Booker has retreated 2.5pc following a broker downgrade.

10:58AM

Dunelm sales drop as it warns of difficult trading climate in the UK

Dunelm like-for-like sales were down last year

Homewares retailer Dunelm has warned that it expects trading conditions to remain difficult in the UK as it reported a drop in like-for-like sales.

In its full-year results, Dunelm said like-for-like sales in its stores were down 2.4pc in the year to the start of July.

Overall like-for-like sales were down 0.5pc, and pre-tax profits fell to £92.4m from £128.9m in the previous year.

The decrease came despite an 8.5pc jump in total revenues, from £881m to £956m.  

The FTSE 250 company said the sales drop in its stores was the result of lower footfall as a result of “unusually warm weather”.

Shares jumped 40p to 650.5p, a 6.6pc increase, following the update.

Read Sam Dean’s full report here

10:48AM

Job figures reaction: link between wages and unemployment weakening

Minister for Employment Damian Hinds said today’s figures show employers investing Britain

The link between wages and unemployment is weakening, according to Deloitte’s chief economist Ian Stewart.

He said:

“Job creation is a huge UK success story. Despite Brexit uncertainties and slower growth, the UK continues to generate ever lower unemployment and ever more jobs.   “

“But the recession, and its aftermath, has weakened the link between unemployment and wages. In the past this degree of tightness in the jobs market would be pushing wages higher. Instead earnings growth has flat lined in the last couple of years.”

Here’s the reaction of the Minister for Employment Damian Hinds to today’s job figures:

“The strength of the economy is helping people of all ages find work, from someone starting their first job after leaving education, to those who might be starting a new career later in life.

“Britain’s employment success is largely about a growth in full-time and permanent work, as employers invest in Britain and offer quality job opportunities that put more money into people’s pockets.

“But there is more to do, and we will continue to build on our achievements through our employment programmes and the work of Jobcentre Plus.”

Unfortunately that extra money in people pockets is being pinched by high inflation.

10:34AM

Job figures reaction: high inflation and weak wage growth muddies BoE decision

The Bank of England is stuck between a rock and a hard place ahead of tomorrow’s monetary policy meeting after wage growth failed to keep up with inflation.

While high inflation boosts hopes that the central bank will soon take a hawkish turn, today’s poor wage growth figures in a tight labour market has added another layer of uncertainty. 

Ranko Berich, head of market analysis at Monex Europe, believes today’s figures have put the central bank in an uneviable position:

“Looking at the across the board inflation increase reported in August and low unemployment rate, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the BoE’s policy decision will be a no brainer in favour of higher rates at some stage in the next 12 months. But today’s miss on average earnings highlights the fact that this is just not the case: wage growth remains sluggish, and real wages are in deep contraction in the UK.

“The BoE is in an unenviable position heading into tomorrow’s MPC meeting, given that inflation is above target but the latest wage and investment data show that the economy is hardly going through a demand driven boom that needs an immediate monetary response.”

Wage growth failing to keep pace with inflation has muddied the decision at the Bank of England, according to ETX Capital analyst Neil Wilson.

He explained:

 “At the same time inflation is exchange rate rather than demand driven and therefore expected to retreat soon enough. Hopes of a hike by year-end may well be dashed on the rocks of economic uncertainty.

“In the short-term, cable may find it hard to hold onto gains if there is no additional indications from the Bank that it is prepared to hike this year. Today’s wage growth data would appear to temper any hawkish inclination, proving bearish for sterling in the near-term.”

10:06AM

Wage growth reaction: today’s disappointing figures pull down early interest rate hike hopes

Wage growth has weakened this year despite the decline in job market slack, according to Pantheon Macro

Has today’s disappointing wage growth wounded hopes of an early interest rate hike?

The chance of an early rate rise have been dealt a blow this morning, according to Jake Trask, FX Research Director at OFX.

He said:

“Before this morning’s data, there had been some speculation that the Bank of England’s Chief Economist would switch tack tomorrow, and address above-target inflation by voting for a rate hike.

“But this morning’s sluggish reading will likely see him sit on his hands a while longer, to avoid adding pressure to consumers already facing rising prices.”

Pantheon Macro UK economist Samuel Tombs agrees that today’s job figures weaken the argument of monetary policy hawks.

He explained:

“The latest labour market data are, on balance, a setback for the hawks on the MPC arguing for higher interest rates. Admittedly, employment rose by 181K, or 0.6%, in the three months to July, the fastest growth since the end of 2015.

“But the three-month average number of job vacancies in August was 0.9% lower than in the previous three months, pointing to a slowdown in employment growth ahead.”

9:57AM

Gap between wages and inflation widens

Today’s wage growth figures will reignite concerns that the tightening labour market is still failing to feed through to wage growth.

Wage growth was expected to nudge up to 2.2pc but the figures remained steady at 2.1pc.

The figures mean that the gap between wages and inflation, which rose to 2.9pc yesterday, has widened even further to tighten the squeeze on UK households.

London Capital Group analyst Ipek Ozkardeskaya believes the pound’s retreat following today’s data could be short-lived, however.

She added:

“The widening price-wage inflation gap is becoming a serious headache for the Bank of England (BoE) policymakers as lower wages require a dovish monetary policy, but only as long as the inflation allows. 

“Despite the slow improvement in wages and street protests from several sector workers, the rising inflationary pressures could encourage some Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) members to vote in favour of an interest rate hike in the coming months.”

9:44AM

Job figures key takeaways

Wage growth now lags far behind inflation

  1. Wage growth remains steady at 2.1pc, lower than expectations. The disappointing figures widen the gap between pay and rising prices.
  2. Unemployment nudges down to 4.3pc, its lowest rate since 1975.
  3. 32.14m people were in work in the three months to July, 181,000 more than the period between February to April.
  4. Pound retreats back to flat territory on the currency markets following sluggish wage growth data.
9:33AM

Wage growth disappoints; unemployment nudges down to 4.3pc

Wage growth disappoints, remaining steady at 2.1pc to widen the gap between rising prices and pay.

Unemployment nudges down to 4.3pc, a 0.1 percentage point drop.

Pound slips back towards flat territory against dollar, trading 0.1pc higher at $1.3280.

9:20AM

Pound eases off morning highs; still firmly in positive territory against most major currencies

The pound has jumped 0.3pc higher against the dollar this morning

The pound’s ascent on the currency markets has eased off a little as we approach the job figures at the bottom of the hour with sterling flirting with flat territory against the euro.

The FTSE 100 is continuing to suffer at the expense of the stronger pound, according to Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.

He said:

“With the UK jobs report on the way the FTSE continued to suffer in the shadow of sterling’s September rise.   The FTSE plunged more than 50 points after the bell, swiftly falling to a 7350-grazing near one week low. The miners have all moved lower, while BP and Shell are both down half a percent.

“However, the main reason for the UK index’s decline was the pound’s latest climb. Though only up 0.2%, that takes cable to a fresh, $1.33-plus one year peak; it has also risen 0.1% against the euro, cementing a 6 week high.”

9:05AM

Job figures preview: what the experts say

Let’s have a quick round-up of what the experts are saying ahead of today’s job figures.

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson believes strong figures today will lift interest rate hike hopes.

He said:

“A solid wages number could shift the calculus on the MPC further towards a rate rise with Chief economist Andrew Haldane likely to join the other two hawks Michael Saunders and Ian McCafferty in pushing for a rate rise, given recent comments he made during the summer, when inflation ticked up to the same level it is now.

“He suggested that “beginning the process of withdrawing some of the incremental stimulus provided last August would be prudent moving into the second part of the year”, though the caveat was that the data supported such a move.”  

He added that it would have been a “delicious irony” if inflation had pushed past 3pc and Bank of England governor Mark Carney had been forced to write a letter to chancellor Philip Hammond to explain why the figures had so badly missed the central bank’s 2pc target.

Many blame Mr Carney and co’s emergency monetary policy change after the EU referendum for knocking down the value of the pound and pushing up inflation.

Disappointing wage figures will only complicate matters at the central bank, according to Accendo Markets head of research Mike Van Dulken.

He commented:

“Following yesterday’s much hotter than expected inflation prints, the Bank of England will be hoping for a reciprocal surprise from wages too.

“A disappointment, however, will add yet another level of complexity to their current interest rate quandary, with policymakers hesitant to increase rates which consumers  are subject to an extended pinch on their pockets.”

8:48AM

Job figures preview: what to expect

Unemployment is expected to remain at a 42-year low

Yesterday’s jump in inflation reignited hawkish hopes of an interest rate hike before the end of the year, sending the pound soaring on currency markets.

There are concerns at the dovish end of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, however, that the UK economy is too fragile to withstand a rate rise. Could today’s figures be enough to persuade wavering MPC members, such as chief economist Andy Haldane, to back a hike?

What to expect

Wage growth is expected to nudge up to 2.2pc in the three months to July, a 0.1 percentage point rise on last month’s figures and lagging far behind inflation.

Meanwhile, unemployment will remain unchanged at 4.4pc, a 42-year low, according to economists.

8:27AM

Agenda: Pound pushes past $1.33 against dollar ahead of wage growth data

Housebuilder Galliford Try posted profits at the upper end of estimates

Lagging wage growth is the focal point for the markets this morning with the ONS’ figures expected to show the gap between pay and rising prices continuing to widen.

Average earnings growth will nudge up to 2.2pc, according to the consensus of economists, cranking up the pressure on households and marking another knock-back for real wages.

The pound this morning has built on yesterday’s post-inflation data gains against the dollar, rising 0.4pc at $1.3326, a one-year high. 

The FTSE 100 under pressure from the buoyant pound missed out on the relief rally pulling up equities globally yesterday. This morning it has lurched into the red while European stocks’ rally has stuttered with the CAC 40 in flat territory and the DAX nudging down.

Galliford Try’s full-year results are the highlight on a slightly lighter corporate calendar. The housebuilder, which was hit by a £98m provision to cover legacy contract costs earlier this year, posted profits at the upper end of estimates, pushing its shares 1.3pc higher earlier on.

Interim results: Alliance Pharma, Ten Entertainment Group, Just Group, Soco International, Gaming Realms, Ingenta, Epwin Group, SQS Software Quality Systems AG, Advanced Medical Solutions Group, Columbus Energy Resources, MyCelx Technologies Corporation

Full-year results: Wilmington, Dunelm Group, Town Centre Securities, Galliford Try, Haynes Publishing Group

AGM: Marechale Capital, Versarien, Tricorn Group, Argo Group, Games Workshop Group, Intercede Group, Hardy Oil & Gas

Economics: Unemployment Rate (UK), Claimant Count Change (UK), Average Earnings Index 3m/y (UK), PPI m/m (US), Industrial Production m/m (EU)Employment Change q/q (EU)