FTSE 100 Live December 17: Early Black Friday Christmas Shopping Boosts UK Retail Sales, Main Street Omicron Variant, Interest Rate Outlook, Nasdaq Shares Slip


Today’s retail sales figures showed busier shopping streets and shopping parks before the confidence boost caused by the Omicron variant.

The Office for National Statistics said the proportion of online sales was its lowest level in the pandemic as shoppers stepped out in November to shop for Christmas gifts early and take advantage of Black Friday deals.

Live updates


It was the Friday before Christmas …

… and in the whole market, not a single stock moved, not even a mouse. (Yeah, okay, I lost it there at the end).

The FTSE managed to get back into the green at the close, but not by much. The bluechip index is up 14 points, or 0.2%, to 7278. That’s below its start of the week level of 7290.

That’s all for us on the blog this week, join us next week.


Amazon and Barclays Launch ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Product in UK

Amazon has reached a deal with Barclays to enter Britain’s burgeoning “buy now, pay later” market.

amazon United Kingdom said friday it was launching a new product in partnership with the bank called Instalments. The payment method will allow Amazon customers to split the cost of certain purchases in installments between 3 and 48 months after the purchase.

Amazon and Barclays first launched the product in Germany last year, but today’s deal represents Amazon’s first foray into Britain into the ‘buy now, pay later’ market ( BNPL), launched by Swedish giant Klarna.


Wall Street opens lower as tech sales continue

Stock markets opened lower across the Atlantic as the tech-related selloff that began yesterday continues.

The S&P 500 is down 0.6% just after Wall Street opens, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 0.7% and the Nasdaq is down 0.6%.

Tech and growth stocks suffered after the US Federal Reserve signaled it was preparing to hike interest rates several times next year.

Paul Craig, Portfolio Manager at Quilter Investors, said, “Much has been said about the rise and rise of tech stocks in recent years and how closely they mirror the tech bubble of the early 2000s. However, it looks like the current bubble may finally burst, at least for some.

“We are potentially seeing the end of the valuation bubble for emerging start-ups, hyper-growth, and companies wearing tech clothing, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see more pain in 2022. The returns will be more difficult to obtain. and with the reduction of central bank support, actions geared to extreme growth may struggle in an environment in which we have not operated for more than a decade. “

The weak openness of Wall Street has affected sentiment in Europe. The FTSE is now stable at 7257, having increased by around 30 points at lunchtime.


Harrods starts Boxing Day sale early amid retail Omicron fears

Harrods launches Boxing Day sale today 10 days ahead of schedule as retailers rush to withdraw as much cash as they can during the crucial holiday season.

The upscale department store’s decision to start cutting back on product starting today comes despite data showing retail sales exploded last month. Experts said momentum had already faded and many companies now fear Christmas trading may be weaker than expected.

This will likely be the highlight, as Omicron fears keeping people indoors, inflation squeezes income, and confidence crashes. GfK’s long-standing monthly Consumer Confidence Index, also released today, fell by one point to a balance of -15 in December.

The New West End Company said footfall in central London was 32% below pre-pandemic levels yesterday as shoppers stayed at home.


Stocks are on the rise in lunchtime trading

The FTSE 100 and 250 both progress this afternoon after a calm opening.

The bluechip index is up 21 points, or 0.3%, while the 250 is up 32 points, a gain of 0.2%. British Airways owner IAG leads the FTSE, closely followed by commodity stocks like Polymetal International, Fresnillo and the Anglo American miner.

The sell-off in tech stocks that hit the FTSE 100 at the start of trading has eased somewhat. Baillie Gifford’s Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, which owns 5% of its portfolio invested in Tesla, has fallen 3% previously but has now fallen to trade down 1.7%.


Helical lines up new London office project, shares rise

Owner and property developer Helical has struck a £ 160million deal, giving it a major office refurbishment project to work on in London.

The company said it has traded contracts to acquire the sole asset firm that owns 100 New Bridge Street, an office building midway between Farringdon and Blackfriars stations that is used by the Baker McKenzie law firm. .

Helical’s shares rose 7.49p to 435.49p.


UK SPAC cannabis deal delayed

A former construction company trying to capitalize on the boom in the global stock market in PSPCs faces delays in its efforts to bring a cannabis business to market.

UK SPAC, a cash shell listed on AIM, said its deal with medical cannabis company Hellenic Dynamics was taking longer than expected due to the regulator’s scrutiny and complex due diligence.

Hellenic’s operations in Germany and Greece are taking longer to verify than expected due to the fact that they are overseas.

UK SPAC Executive Chairman Peter Jay said: “Furthermore, as Hellenic will be one of the first medicinal cannabis growers to undertake registration in London, the FCA understandably and appropriately requires an extended period for to review and consider such request due to the nature of Hellenic’s product and to review the Company’s systems, procedures, controls and licenses. “

UK SPAC struck a deal with Hellenic in the summer and had hoped to finalize a reverse takeover by October. Last month he pushed the timeline back to the end of January. Jay said the two companies wanted to close the deal “as soon as possible.”


JM’s diet continues

CHEMICALS specialist Johnson Matthey blamed a “tough” pharmaceutical market as he ceded his healthcare business to a US private equity firm for £ 325million.

The sell-off comes just after FTSE 100 Group abandoned its battery division in a surprise move that sent its share price plunging to its lowest level in 12 months.

The company expects to receive £ 150million in cash following the complex deal with New York-based healthcare investor Altaris.


Live from the ground floor of the best trading house in the city …

I stand in the center of the City’s largest trading floor, listening to the sound of a billion dollars passing by.

At TP ICAP in the heart of the city, right next to Liverpool Street station, they execute 24 million transactions per year worth £ 350 trillion.

That’s almost £ 1,000 billion a day, including weekends and holidays. That’s £ 41 billion an hour. Or £ 11million per second.

There are 650 brokers trading interest rates, credit, foreign, money markets, and boring old stocks, a bit. (In this corner of town, stocks, like Gordon Gekko’s lunch, are for wimps).


HSBC receives new fine for money laundering

HSBC was today fined £ 64million for “serious weaknesses” in money laundering, the latest blow to the reputation of the World Bank.

The city’s watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority, said the bank had “unacceptable defaults” between 2010 and 2018, including “inadequate oversight” and poor risk assessment.

The fine comes just days after rival NatWest was fined £ 265million for money laundering. Gangs of criminals have deposited hundreds of millions of pounds in cash at more than 50 NatWest branches, according to the investigation.

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