Land Securities to reinstate dividends, Rank preparing to reopen Mecca sites
The FTSE 100 is expected to open 14 points higher on Friday, having closed up 1.34% at 6,240.36 on Thursday.
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Commercial property owner Land Securities said it planned to reinstate dividends after half year results in November as tenants reopened premises after the easing of coronavirus lockdowns. The company on Friday said it had received 60% of June net rent due after concessions and deferrals, compared with 94% a year ago.
Gambling operator The Rank Group said on Friday that it would begin reopening its Mecca Bingo clubs from 4 July, in line with government guidance, adding that it was working with the government on a date to reopen its Grosvenor casinos, The FTSE 250 firm said underlying operating profit for the year ended 30 June was expected to be at the lower end of its previously-provided range of £48m to £58m after IFRS16, due to the venues reopening costs being expensed. With the reopening of Mecca, it said it was expecting its monthly cash outflow to be reduced to £7m per month from around £10m per month, and to be cash flow positive on the reopening of Grosvenor.
English holidaymakers will be able to visit Spain, Italy, France and Germany without having to quarantine for 14 days on their return and travel restrictions on up to 60 other countries and territories are also set to be lifted. The government’s rule change will come into effect on 10 July with the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, describing it as a major step in “reopening the nation”. – Guardian
HSBC and Standard Chartered risk being caught up in the geopolitical struggle between the US and China after the US House of Representatives passed legislation targeting Chinese officials involved in implementing a national security law in Hong Kong. Banks who do business with officials involved in the security law could face sanctions, amid concerns the security law could be used to crack down on dissent in Hong Kong. More than 370 people were arrested in Hong Kong on Wednesday after the new powers were introduced. - Guardian
The owner of Café Rouge and Bella Italia has collapsed into administration, leading to the permanent closure of 91 restaurants with more than 1,900 redundancies. Casual Dining Group is the latest firm to fall victim to the coronavirus crisis in a week where 12,000 jobs have already been axed, with the high street and aviation industry bearing the brunt of the pain. – Telegraph
The former chief executive of Barclays has told the High Court that the financier Amanda Staveley was not a credible investor and that she overstated her role in its 2008 emergency capital raising. John Varley said in his witness statement that Ms Staveley was only a “semi-principal” in the negotiations due to her connection to Sheikh Mansour of the Abu Dhabi royal family. – The Times
Britain’s economy is regaining momentum as the lockdown is lifted, real-time data suggests. According to Jefferies, the American investment bank, economic activity is 52 per cent below its pre-Covid level but its UK Economic Activity Radar has risen by 2 points over the past week. – The Times
Wall Street stocks closed higher on Thursday as market participants digested a slew of data from the Department of Labor and some positive news regarding a coronavirus vaccine candidate.
At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.36% at 25,827.36, while the S&P 500 was 0.45% firmer at 3,130.01 and the Nasdaq Composite saw out the session 0.52% stronger at 10,207.63.
The Dow closed 92.39 points higher on Thursday, erasing losses recorded in the prior session that came despite "encouraging" clinical trial data from Pfizer and BioNTech for one of their Covid-19 vaccine candidates, although the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite continued to push higher.
Sentiment continued to be boosted by the clinical trial results during the last day's trading for the week, with Pfizer and BioNTech providing hope to investors that normality could indeed return at some point. While the data had not yet been reviewed by a medical journal, meaning that it was still in the very early stages, market participants were seemingly excited by the progress in developing a drug to defeat Covid-19 all the same.
News that health officials in the US were planning to ramp-up the collection of blood plasma from recovered Covid-19 patients was also in focus. The Wall Street Journal, which cited people familiar with the discussions, said the talks were part of a large-scale effort to build supplies of the promising experimental treatment. According to some accounts, so-called convalescent plasma had proven to be the sole effective treatment during the catastrophic 1918 pandemic.