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FTSE 100 Live 24 June: Shein IPO speculation mounts, blue-chips close higher, US stocks fall as Nvidia slips

FTSE 100 Live (Evening Standard)
FTSE 100 Live (Evening Standard)

Prudential’s $2 billion buyback plan and a tie-up between Frasers Group and THG are among today’s FTSE 100 highlights.

Outside the top flight, SIG shares are lower after a profit warning by the building supplies firm.

Meanwhile, the London Tunnels tourist attraction has snubbed its home stock market in favour of a listing on Euronext.

FTSE 100 Live Monday

  • London Tunnels plans Euronext IPO

  • Prudential unveils $2bn buyback

  • SIG warning amid tough conditions

Shein has confidentially filed for IPO in London -- Reuters

17:08 , Simon Hunt

Shein has confidentially filed for an IPO in London earlier this month, according to a report by Reuters.

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If it goes ahead, the fast-fashion business looks set to be one of London’s biggest ever flotations, catapulting the Chinese fast-fashion giant in to the top-10 most valuable stocks on the LSE.

The FCA and Shein both declined to comment.

FTSE closes higher

16:41 , Simon Hunt

After falling during the first few minutes of trade, the FTSE 100 has closed today’s session up 44 points, or 0.5%, to 8,282p.

Lloyds shares up as Visa seals deal

16:02 , Simon Hunt

Shares in Lloyds were up as much as 1% this afternoon as Visa snubbed its biggest rival by clinching a new deal with the banking group that will see some 10 million cards converted to the payments giant over the next two years.

Visa and Mastercard are the UK’s biggest payments firms, accounting for 95% of transactions on UK cards.

The companies announced that they had renewed and expanded an existing agreement for Visa to be the leading payments provider for Lloyds, which also includes brands Halifax, Bank of Scotland and MBNA.

Visa already provides payment cards for about 30 million Lloyds accounts as part of a partnership first agreed 40 years ago. The card company’s stock is up around 1.6% in New York.

Read more here

Heatwave offers ‘welcome boost’ for UK hospitality sector after drizzly spring

15:28 , Simon Hunt

Warmer weather and likely heatwaves forecast for parts of the UK this week offer a “welcome boost” to the hospitality sector after a drizzly spring saw footfall wane, industry leaders have said.

Temperatures in London are forecast to hit peaks of 31C on Wednesday, with much of south-east England basking in the mid-20s for the first half of the week.

It marks a break from the rainy spring, which saw 32% more rainfall than the average in England and Wales according to the Met Office, and hampered businesses reliant on tourism or high street foot traffic.

One veteran ice cream seller, known to her customers in West Sussex as Mrs Whippy, welcomed the “wonderful” news of warmer weather.Read more

 (Peter Byrne/PA Wire)
(Peter Byrne/PA Wire)

The chips are down at US stocks open

14:50 , Simon Hunt

Shares in the world’s biggest chipmakers fell in the opening minutes of trade on Wall Street, reversing some of the huge gains the companies made last week.

Shares in Nvidia, which briefly became the most valuable company in the world last week, today fell as much as 3.2% as the company headed for its third consecutive session of losses. British chip designer Arm also fell by more than 2%.

But shares in Meta rose as much as 2% amid reports it is in discussions with Apple over the use of its AI technology for iPhone tools.

The S&P 500 .opened lower by 5.04 points, at 5,459.58, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 49.10 points to 17,640.26 at the opening bell.

David Morrison, Senior Market Analyst at Trade Nation, said: “Some profit-taking seems entirely reasonable given NVIDIA’s meteoric rise. The stock was up over 180% this year alone.

“But if it continues to lose ground, then there’s a danger of contagion, with selling spreading to other big tech names. If that were the case, then the market could be in for a deeper and more protracted pull-back.”

Here’s a look at the key market moves:

Prudential shares rise on bigger-than-expected share buyback plan

14:34 , Simon Hunt

Prudential has seen its shares jump as it kicked off the first tranche of a two billion US dollar (£1.6 billion) share buyback to boost returns for investors.

The insurance group, which is focused on Asian markets, announced over the weekend that it would launch the buyback plan, with an initial 700 million-dollar (£553 million) tranche starting on Monday.

Shares in Prudential lifted as much as 6.7% on Monday as investors cheered the bigger-than-expected buyback programme.

Read more

Barclays cuts mortgage rates in move likely to be followed by other lenders

14:10 , Simon Hunt

Barclays has sounded the starting gun on what is expected to be a round of fixed rate mortgage rate cuts from banks and building societies over the coming weeks

From tomorrow the lender will reduce its rates on most of its home loan products.

The rate on a two year deal for borrowers with a a 10% deposit is coming down from 5.76% to 5.48%. For applicants with a larger 40% deposit the rate falls from 5.13% to 4.88% while for a 5 year fix the rate drops from 4.90% to 4.85% for borrowers with a 10% deposit.

Read more here

13:40 , Simon Hunt

The owner of TikTok is working with a US tech firm to design its own AI processor as the social media giant seeks to secure is own supply of chips amid heightened US-China relations, according to a report by Reuters.

The partnership with California-based Broadcom involves developing a five nanometre chip, designed to be compliant with US export restrictions in what is believed to be the first semiconductor partnership between an American and a Chinese company since the US introduced export controls for certain kinds of high-end chips in 2022.

Read more here

(PA) (PA Wire)
(PA) (PA Wire)

Sunak insists Starmer is the "biggest risk" for the City as he defends Tory record

12:51 , Jonathan Prynn

From the top story in today’s business pages

Rishi Sunak today insisted Keir Starmer was the “biggest risk” to the City as he defended the Government’s record on keeping London’s financial markets competitive on the global stage.

In an exclusive interview with the Standard, the Prime Minister said City firms had “warmly welcomed” the Conservatives’ efforts to reform and modernise the Square Mile and its huge financial services industries.

His comments came amid growing concern that London is in danger of losing its status as a world leading financial centre after a number of high profile companies moved their listings to other exchanges such as New York and only a trickle of businesses decided to float on the London stock market.

But in his interview today at the start of the last full week of the general election campaign Sunak said the Government was working to shore up London’s reputation.

Read more here

Lunchtime update: FTSE higher as Bitcoin continues to sink

12:43 , Simon Hunt

Midway through the day’s trading session in London, the FTSE 100 has edged higher, up more than 0.5%, while Bitcoin has slid further and is now down nearly 5% in the past 24 hours.

Shares in roofing and insulation business SIG have pared back earlier losses -- they are now down 12.3% compared to as much as 22% earlier this morning on the back of a profit warning.

But Britvic shares have continued their rise, up 8% on the back of news Pepsico would waive its bottling deal terms in the event of a Carlsberg takeover. Britvic shares are now up more than 40% since the start of the year.

Here’s a look at your key market data:

City Comment: London Tunnels snub is dark day for the capital's financial markets

11:59 , Simon Hunt

You could not make it up.

A company set up to create a major new tourism attraction in the heart of London, with London literally in its name, and bigging up London in its press release, rightly, as “one of the most visited cities in the world”, has chosen to list its shares, er, not in the City, but 220 miles across the North Sea in Amsterdam.

At the time of writing the Dutch PR firm hired by London Tunnels to handle the flotation has not replied to our requests to explain the decision. But you get a hint of the reasoning in comments from the top brass at the company, which hopes to raise up to £30 million from its IPO.

CEO Angus Murray talks of taking advantage of “the size and scale of both the equity capital markets and debt capital markets of Europe”. Meanwhile chairman Peter Curtin lauds Euronext as “the leading pan-European market” and says the listing “will give investors the opportunity to acquire shares in what is likely to be the last major historical and heritage attraction that can be reopened in central London.”

It is far from the biggest IPO in Europe this year but London Tunnels’ swerve to the Dam could hardly be more symbolic of the Square Mile’s relative decline since the Brexit referendum, the eighth anniversary of which passed yesterday.

A generation ago in the golden years after Big Bang when London swept all before it, such a decision would have been unthinkable. It also put in a new light the headlines trumpeting London’s re-overtaking of Paris as Europe’s most valuable bourse. The French stock exchange is just one of seven in the Euronext “family” which together far outmuscle London.

We can only hope, 10 days ahead of another huge national vote on the country’s future direction, that this decision from London Tunnels, is not indicative of

just how deep a hole our stock market is in.

London startup Sealeo wins Imperial innovation prize in plan to transform vaccine market

11:03 , Simon Hunt

A team of Imperial students seeking to transform the vaccine industry have won a prestigious prize for innovation.

Diana Epel and Emanuele Griccioli, co-founders of sustainable packaging business Sealeo, have developed a novel material that maintains a safe temperature range for medicine for 2.6 times longer than existing products. The pair were winner’s at this year’s WE Innovate, a competition set up by Imperial College to nurture women-led startups, with a prize fund of £30,000.

The World Health Organisation estimates that up to 50% of vaccines are wasted globally amid issues maintaining the temperature-controlled supply chain. Sealeo’s technology can help reduce drug and vaccine spoilage, particularly in remote areas across the less developed world that lack cold storage infrastructure.

Read more here

(Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)
(Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)

Prudential leads FTSE 100, Britvic shares rally on Pepsi waiver

10:15 , Graeme Evans

Prudential’s $2 billion shares buyback plan today helped the insurer to the top of the FTSE 100 index, up 6% or 41.2p to 748.4p.

Alongside the two-year capital return plan, chief executive Anil Wadhwani expressed confidence in new business growth for this year and in achieving 2027’s strategic objectives.

The Pru shares are still 12% lower this year as investors worry about economic conditions in China and other key Asia markets.

The jitters were highlighted today when the Shanghai Composite closed down 1.2% at a four-month low and the Hang Seng retreated 0.8%.

The FTSE 100 index recovered from a weak start to stand 29.45 points higher at 8267.17, with JD Sport Fashion up 3.9p to 130p.

Frasers Group lifted 20p to 890p after it unveiled a multi-year partnership with MyProtein e-commerce business THG, whose shares rose 1.3p to 63.1p.

A boost for Carlsberg in its takeover pursuit of Britvic meant shares in the UK soft drinks firm jumped another 8% or 89p to 1183p in the FTSE 250.

The Danish brewer said Pepsi had agreed to waive the change of control clause in its long-term bottling arrangement with Britvic, removing an obstacle to its bid interest that currently stands at 1250p a share or £3.1 billion.

The FTSE 250 index rose 84.98 points to 20,527.33, with Watches of Switzerland up 3% or 13.2p to 405.4p ahead of annual results later this week.

Frasers strikes partnership with THG

09:39 , Simon Hunt

Retail giant Frasers has struck a multi-year deal with e-commerce business THG.

Under the deal, THG has sold its portfolio of luxury goods websites, including www.coggles.com, to the Frasers Group, while it will provide management services and re-platforming the Frasers Group's Australian fulfilment and logistics operations.

THG’s sports nutrition brand Myprotein will see its products launched instore at Sports Direct shops, while Frasers’ loyalty platform will become available to both THG's Beauty and Nutrition customers.

THG today said it had “made further progress” in the first half of the year and has confirmed its previous guidance.

Prudential and Frasers higher in flat FTSE 100, SIG shares slide 14%

08:18 , Graeme Evans

Prudential shares rose 4% or 31.6p to 738.8p in the FTSE 100 index today after it announced plans to buy back shares worth $2 billion.

The return of capital by the Hong Kong-based insurer will be completed by the middle of 2026. The first tranche of $700 million commenced today.

The Pru’s improvement came amid more weakness in Asia stock markets as the Shanghai Composite closed 1.2% lower and the Hang Seng down by 0.8%.

Frasers Group rose 1% or 7.5p to 877.5p after it announced a partnership with THG, whose shares rose 4% or 2.5p to 64.35p.

The FTSE 100 index stood 4.28 points lower at 8233.44.

Outside the top flight, shares in SIG slid 14% or 3.95p to 23.4p after a profit warning due to the continuation of challenging trading conditions.

London Tunnels snubs London Stock Exchange for Amsterdam IPO

07:58 , Simon Hunt

The company behind the proposed London Tunnels tourist attraction has dropped plans to list on the London Stock Exchange in favour of an IPO on Amsterdam’s Euronext.

The firm today confirmed plans to raise £30 million on the Dutch bourse in a flotation that was set to value the company at £130 million.

Angus Murray, Chief Executive Officer of The London Tunnels, commented: “The London Tunnels can now take advantage of the size and scale of both the equity capital markets and debt capital markets of Europe.

“The listing on Euronext, Europe’s largest regulated stock exchange, is in the best long-term interests of the company, its shareholders and the future ambitions for the development of the project in Central London.”

Read more here

 (The London Tunnels / DBOX)
(The London Tunnels / DBOX)

Prudential announces fresh $2 billion capital return plan

07:54 , Michael Hunter

FTSE 100 insurance multinational Prudential announced a $2 billion share buyback today.

It will complete the capital return “no later than mid 2026” it said.

The £19-billion firm has faced pressure from some investors calling for it to boost returns by splitting up long geographical lines, separating out its huge Asian business from its smaller UK and European operations.

Its CEO, Anil Wadhwani, said today this latest payout came “as we drive towards generating growth in both value and cash returns for shareholders over the long term.”

SIG warns on profits amid "ongoing softness" in building products markets

07:43 , Michael Hunter

SIG, the maker of insulation products and other building supplies, sent a chill through the sector this morning with a profit warning.

The 440-branch firm, which is also active on continental Europe, said there was “subdued demand” and “ongoing softness int he building and construction sector”.

Amid “challenging” market conditions, SIG cut its forecast for full-year underlying profit to a range between £20 million to £30 million, down from previous guidance around £41 million.

It added:

“This impact has been most notable in the French and German markets, and in the end markets of our UK Interiors business.

“Whilst we continue to see more robust demand in our Poland, Ireland and UK Exteriors businesses, Group sales overall were weaker than expected in May and June to date.”

Brooks Macdonald says CEO Andrew Shepherd to retire, names CFO Andrea Montague as his successor

07:34 , Michael Hunter

Brooks Macdonald, the City wealth manager, has announced that its CEO Andrew Shepherd is leaving the top job.

His three-year tenure in the top job capped a 22-year career at the firm, which runs almost £18 billion in assets under management.

Shepherd will be succeeded by Brooks’ current chief financial officer, Andrea Montague. She joined the firm in August 2023 from Aviva, the FTSE 100 insurer, where she was chief risk officer.

Montague said: “ I am looking forward to leading our team to execute our ambitious growth strategy, deliver outstanding service to our clients and create long-term shareholder value."

Shepherd said: “Brooks Macdonald has been a fantastic home for me for more than two-thirds of my career and I have had the most incredible time here. I wish Andrea and all my colleagues the best for what I am sure will be an exciting and successful future."

FTSE 100 seen lower, China stocks at four month low

07:16 , Graeme Evans

The FTSE 100 index is to open slightly lower after Asia markets started the week on the back foot and US tech stocks struggled before the weekend.

Friday’s lacklustre Wall Street performance included a 3.2% decline for Nvidia, taking its reverse from Thursday’s valuation peak to almost 10%.

In Asia, China’s Shanghai Composite this morning traded at a four-month low after falling 0.6% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lost 0.8%.

The Nikkei 225 rallied 0.7% as the yen came under fresh pressure on the back of interest rate comments by Bank of Japan policymakers.

The FTSE 100 index is forecast to open nine points lower at 8229, while the pound stands at $1.265 and the price of Brent Crude at $85.09 a barrel.

07:10 , Simon Hunt

Good morning from the Standard City desk.

The Bank of England could have cut interest rates last week, in what would have been a small boost to Rishi’s Sunak increasingly vanishing chances of having a good election.

The Monetary Policy Committee, facing the reality that inflation has fallen to the target rate of 2% for the first time in three years, had a conundrum.

If it had cut was that it effectively interfering in politics?

The statement reports: “The Committee noted that the timing of the general election on 4 July was not relevant to its decision at this meeting, which would as usual be made on the basis of what was judged necessary to achieve the 2% inflation target sustainably in the medium term.”

Hm. Protesting too much? Trying to pre-emptively fend off complaints from the Daily Mail that its decision to hold was politically motivated? Perhaps a little.

What seems clear is that Keir Starmer and co are waking into an economy that is heading smartly upwards.

Retail sales and consumer confidence are improving, we report today.

Government finances are in slightly better shape than perhaps feared. The government borrowed £15 billion in May to make ends meet, which is bad, but it was £700 million less than economists expected.

So perhaps Labour really could afford to spend a bit more than it reckons on public services.

~

Here’s a summary of our top headlines from Friday: