Man Group assets rise in Q1, Grafton mulling sale of merchanting business
The FTSE 100 is expected to open 11 points higher on Friday, having closed up 0.63% on Thursday at 6,983.50.
Stocks to watch
Man Group's assets rose by $3.4bn in the first quarter as investors placed more money with the hedge fund group and it made market gains. Funds under management increased to $127bn in the three months to the end of March from $123.6bn at the end of December. Net inflows of $0.6bn and investment gains of $3.5bn were partly offset by $0.7bn of foreign currency and other negative effects.
Ocado is investing £10m in Oxbotica, an autonomous vehicle software company, and has set up a commercial partnership to develop self-driving vehicles. The online grocer and platform provider said it would make the investment as part of Oxbotica's latest equity funding round and would take a seat on Oxbotica's board. The companies will collaborate with the ultimate goal of providing vehicles for Ocado's infrastructure customers with self-driving delivery vans and warehouse vehicles.
Building materials distributor Grafton said on Friday that it could sell some or all of its traditional merchanting businesses in the UK. The company has hired Rothschild & Co to undertake a review of the businesses and this "may or may not result in the sale of some or all of these businesses", it said.
Gambling firms behind more than £30m in football shirt sponsorship deals have been accused of making “insulting” contributions to the industry-funded addiction charity, with one giving just £250. An annual list of donors to GambleAware, which is funded by online casinos and bookmakers, details how much individual firms have given. - Guardian
Ministers and rail chiefs are putting the finishing touches to a new system of flexible rail season tickets designed to entice commuters back to city centres as they split their time between home and the office. Concerns over costs mean the discounts on offer will be much less generous than for a traditional season ticket, with mandarins attempting to spare the taxpayer from further expense after handing over £10bn in subsidies to keep services running, the Telegraph can reveal. - Telegraph
Dublin has emerged as an early winner in the battle for City jobs post-Brexit after it was picked by a quarter of firms forced to move business to an EU hub, new research shows. New Financial, a think tank, has identified 135 firms that have relocated business to Dublin as a result of Brexit. Some 102 firms picked Paris, 95 opted for Luxembourg, 63 Frankfurt and 48 Amsterdam. - Telegraph
The world’s biggest contract chipmaker has warned that tight chip supplies will probably continue into next year amid a global shortage that has disrupted production across the technology and automotive sectors. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company said that it was expanding capacity and would keep pricing in check to alleviate the pressure. - The Times
The betting group that owns the Ladbrokes and Coral chains said yesterday that it was keeping the issue of furlough payments “under review”, but it refused to commit to returning the cash as online profits soar. Entain is under pressure to clarify its position after William Hill handed back £24.5 million of payments last year and after Flutter opted not to claim £25 million from the British and Irish governments for employees of its Paddy Power shops. - The Times
Wall Street stocks were in positive territory at the close on Thursday, thanks to some better-than-expected jobless claims data and corporate results.
At the end of the session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.9% at 34,035.99, as the S&P 500 added 1.11% to 4,170.42 and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.31% to 14,038.76.
The Dow closed 305.1 points higher on Thursday, extending gains recorded in what turned out to be a mixed session for major indices on Wednesday as market participants rifled through some strong earnings from several of the nation's largest banks.
Traders were digesting news that the number of Americans signing up for unemployment benefits fell to 576,000 in the week ended 10 April, the lowest number recorded since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the Labor Department, applications crashed 193,000 from last week's revised print of 769,000, with the weekly print now remaining sharply below early January's peak of 900,000.