Capita selling stake in Fera Science, Frasers ups its Boohoo holding
The FTSE 100 is expected to open 23 points lower on Monday, having closed up 1.01% on Friday at 7,529.35.
Stocks to watch
Capita is selling its 75% stake in Fera Science Limited, the joint venture set up eight years ago with the government that specialise in environmental testing, research, and advisory and assurance services. The business process services group will receive cash proceeds of £62m from Bridgepoint Group plc, which will be used to strengthen the balance sheet and support investment. "It was the appropriate time to find a new partner to build on the strong, successful foundations now in place at Fera and take the company onto the next stage of its development," said Capita's chief executive Jon Lewis.
Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group has increased its holding in online fast fashion retailer Boohoo Group further, it was revealed on Monday. The company said it was now interested in 218,387,739 Boohoo shares, equivalent to 17.22% of the company, as of 1 December. It previously held 16.5% of Boohoo, and earlier became its largest single shareholder in mid-October when it owned just over 15% of the firm.
The parent company of Thames Water has been warned by its auditors that it could run out of money by April if shareholders do not inject more cash into the debt-laden firm. In accounts signed off in July and published on the Companies House website last week, PricewaterhouseCoopers said there was “material uncertainty” about whether the main company behind the water supplier can continue as a going concern. – Guardian
British workers are missing out on £10,700 a year after more than a decade of weak economic growth and high inequality, according to a major report warning that UK living standards are falling behind comparable rich nations. In a damning report on the economy, the Resolution Foundation and the London School of Economics’ Centre for Economic Performance called for an urgent rethink of economic strategy after 15 years of relative decline. – Guardian
Drivers are being overcharged to fill up their car with petrol by £5 as forecourt operators fail to pass on fuel duty savings and cheaper wholesale costs, the RAC has said. Wholesale petrol and diesel prices have fallen this year, but petrol station operators have generated chunkier profit margins by reducing retail prices at a slower pace, it said. – Telegraph
About 300,000 backers of Neil Woodford’s collapsed investment fund have until 5pm today to register to vote on a compensation scheme that is dividing the City and infuriating many small investors. Critics of the offer of up to £230 million say it is much too small, has been misleadingly explained and has been designed to spare the blushes of the City establishment and prevent the wider financial services industry from having to pick up the tab. – The Times
The grip of Britain’s biggest airlines on lucrative UK take-off and landing slots could be loosened under government proposals intended to give travellers “smoother getaways and cheaper prices”. The Department for Transport is launching a consultation today on proposals to reform the way in which airlines book slots at airports. – The Times
US stocks put in decent gains on Friday with the Dow rising to its highest in nearly two years as bond yields continued to slump on the back of rising hopes that the Federal Reserve may cut interest rates earlier than expected.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.82%, the S&P 500 rose 0.59% while the Nasdaq was up 0.55%.
The Dow rose 2.4% for the week to finish at 36,245.50, its highest level in 23 months, and now sits within 1.5% of its record close of 36,799.65 set on 4 January 2022.
The 10-year US Treasury yield was down 12.2 basis points at 4.211%, its lowest since mid-September, after personal consumption expenditures data on Thursday showed that inflation had slowed more than expected in October, while consumer spending growth eased.
Fed chair Jerome Powell did his best to contain expectations on Friday, saying rate-cut chatter is too "premature" but said that monetary policy was "well into restrictive territory".