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JPMorgan Cazenove downgrades Lookers amid cost inflation woes

JPMorgan Cazenove downgraded its recommendation on car dealership Lookers to 'neutral' from 'overweight' and cut the price target to 98p from 129 on Thursday, highlighting the problem of cost inflation.

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LPA Group expecting more active second half after quiet start to year

LED lighting and electrical connecter manufacturer LPA Group confirmed that its year had started quietly on Thursday, following delays to some of the major rail projects it was involved in, including London’s Crossrail.

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Berenberg downgrades Bodycote to 'hold' on valuation grounds

Berenberg downgraded Bodycote shares to 'hold' from 'buy' on Thursday on valuation grounds.

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PV Crystalox Solar mulls cash return to shareholders as operations wind down

Photovoltaic supplier PV Crystalox Solar reported a significant drop in revenues in its final results on Thursday, to €6. 3m, compared to €26. 4m in 2017.

Sector movers: Fed talks lifts gold higher, hits banks

Metals and miners fuelled the gains on Thursday, while electronic engineers, real estate and banks were notably in the red.

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Sportech narrows statutory loss as it seeks to expand in US

Betting technology provider Sportech reported a 3. 9% fall in revenue in its final results on Thursday, to £63. 7m.

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Business and unions call for May to change course on Brexit

Britain's employers and unions have called on Theresa May to abandon her uncompromising stance and seek consensus to avoid a “reckless” no-deal Brexit, while European Union leaders convened to decide on her request for an extension.

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Sports Direct tries again with Debenhams EGM demand

Sports Direct's Mike Ashley has for the second time requisitioned a general meeting of Debenhams as his first effort was declared null and void.

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SafeStyle profits slip amid 'disruption' from new competitor

Safestyle on Thursday reported that it swung to a loss in 2018 as the business incurred litigation costs and "an unprecedented period of disruption and change" resulted in a drop in revenue.

March Philly Fed index continues to point to weakness

Perhaps the most widely-followed regional manufacturing gauge in the US rebounded sharply in March, but according to economists continued to point to an ongoing slowdown.

Renishaw slumps as it warns over full-year results

Shares in Renishaw slumped as the engineering group cautioned that full-year results would come in below previous guidance.

Europe midday: Investor sentiment dampened by Brexit uncertainty

Stocks on the Continent were trading mostly lower with the market spotlight firmly on the UK as investors gear up for what might be a wholly 'hard' exit of Britain from the European Union at the end of next week.

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US open: Stocks rise as investors mull Fed statement; jobs data in focus

US stocks edged higher in early trade on Thursday as investors mulled fresh readings on manufacturing and jobs and continued to mull over a more dovish than expected policy statement from the Federal Reserve, which has prompted concerns about the US economy.

Initial weekly US jobless claims drop sharply

US jobless claims, one of the most closely-followed indicators of the health of the jobs market, dropped more sharply than expected over the preceding week.

Sopheon sales visibility softens

Sopheon's shares slipped on Thursday despite outperforming in 2018 after the software developer reported that revenue growth was likely to slow in the current year.

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Shore Capital profit falls as costs rise

Shore Capital’s annual profit fell 11% as increased revenue failed to compensate for increased costs at the London stockbroker.

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BoE stays put on policy, waiting for Brexit result

The Monetary Policy Committee chose to stay put on policy, continuing to guide markets towards gradual hikes in Bank Rate, even as it noted how uncertainty around Brexit might be distorting the signals coming from recent economic data.

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Merlin Entertainments is a 'sell', Berenberg says

Merlin Entertainments is incorrectly “priced for perfection” and investors should sell the theme park operator’s shares, Berenberg analysts said.

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London midday: Miners lift FTSE 100 but mid-caps slide

London's blue chips climbed higher on the back of gains for resources companies and a fall in the pound on Thursday amid increased Brexit uncertainty, which saw pressure on the more domestically flavoured mid-cap index.

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Asia report: Most markets advance as Fed holds rates steady

Most markets in Asia were in positive territory as they closed on Thursday, as investors digested news that the US Federal Reserve was standing pat on interest rates, and likely continuing to do so for the rest of the year.