Oxford Biomedica flags decent second half, Trainline reports recovering demand
The FTSE 100 is expected to open 66 points lower on Thursday, having closed down 0.44% at 6,078.48 on Wednesday.
Stocks to watch
Drugs maker Oxford Biomedica, which has partnered with pharma giant AstraZeneca to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, said it expected higher second half revenues to push it to a low-to-single digit full year profit. The company, which is pinning its hopes on the AZD1222 trial treatment, said the drug could lift revenues by more than £10m “subject to successful scale up and regulatory approval … early in the fourth quarter of 2020”. Interim operating losses before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation came in at £0.4m compared with a loss of £1.4m a year ago. Revenue rose to £34m from £32.1m.
Trainline said on Thursday that group net ticket sales in its second quarter were 30% of the prior year’s number at £280m, as operating conditions began to recover from the Covid-19 crisis. The FTSE 250 company said there was also a “notable shift” of ticket volumes to online and digital channels. Group net ticket sales improved throughout the quarter, exiting in August at 42% of the equivalent prior year period.
John Lewis is working on plans for a massive reduction in the size of its London flagship store, converting entire floors into offices, as shoppers switch to buying online and the crisis on British high streets turns into a fight for survival amid the Covid pandemic. The staff-owned department store has applied for planning permission to switch up to three floors of its landmark Oxford Street store – which currently house children’s ranges, electrical goods, kitchen and bathroom departments as well as dining areas – into office space for rent. - Guardian
Rishi Sunak has insisted that he will close the furlough scheme at the end of next month – but this week hinted that he could announce new measures to protect employment, telling MPs he would use “creative” ways to help keep people in jobs. The government will pay bonuses of £1,000 for employers who bring back furloughed staff, and has launched the £2bn “kickstart” job creation scheme to fund work placements for under-25s. - Guardian
The Government’s drive to get workers back to the office has been dealt a fresh blow as new research reveals almost two thirds of employers believe staff are at least as productive when they work from home. Employers expect the proportion of staff that work from home regularly to double to 37pc after the coronavirus pandemic ends. Firms also predicted that more than a fifth of workers will never come to the office, up from 9pc prior to Covid, according to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), which represents human resources professionals. - Telegraph
“Buy now, pay later” companies such as Klarna face a crackdown by the Financial Conduct Authority as part of a sweeping inquiry into lending practices in the unsecured credit market. Chris Woolard, the regulator’s interim chief executive, will lead a review to examine the regulation of unsecured credit before leaving next year. - The Times
The battle between Spotify and Apple intensified yesterday, with the giant music streaming service lashing out at its rival’s newly launched subscription bundle, claiming that it abuses its market position. Until now, Spotify and Apple have charged customers £10 a month for unlimited access to music and audio on their respective platforms. However, Apple has released a new subscription package that bundles its music, television and video services into one monthly deal for £15, called Apple One. - The Times
Wall Street stocks closed mixed on Wednesday, as the Federal Open Market Committee signalled that interest rates would stay where they are near zero through until 2023.
At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.13% at 28,032.38, while the S&P 500 lost 0.46% to 3,385.49 and the Nasdaq Composite was 1.25% weaker at 11.050.47.
The Dow closed 36.78 points higher, extending the previous session's minute gains following Apple's first virtual-only product reveal.
Late in the day, the Federal Reserve stood pat on its current interest rate targets, and forecast a 3.7% contraction in GDP and an unemployment rate of 7.6% by the end of the year, as the US economy emerges from the pit of the Covid-19 crisis.
Those were improved forecasts from the ones set out in June, when the central bank pencilled in a 6.5% contraction for GDP and an unemployment rate of 9.3%.