Berkeley's consistent quarter, Restaurant Group profit drops
The FTSE 100 index is expected to rise 13 points, according to traders in the City, after finishing at 7,185.43 the day before.
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House builder Berkeley said the trading environment over the four months to end-February had remained "consistent with that experienced over the last two years". The FTSE 100 group said that it expected to have around £860m of net cash at its April year as it currently "assessing a number of opportunities".
Restaurant Group posted a drop in full-year profit as it took a hit from writedowns expenses related to its acquisition of Wagamama. In the year 30 December 2018, statutory pre-tax profit fell to £13.9m from £28.2m the year before, while total sales edged up 1% to £686m and like-for-like sales declined 2%.
Britain has signed a post-Brexit trade deal with the Pacific islands of Fiji and Papua New Guinea, as the government rushes to sign as many agreements as possible before 29 March. The Department for International Trade said the agreement would maintain access to goods including sugar and fish imported from the islands 10,000 miles away. Total trade between Britain and the region is worth about £369m a year. – Guardian
Boeing’s 737 Max 8 and 9 planes will remain grounded for weeks at a minimum, US politicians said overnight, as flight data and cockpit voice recorders from the crashed Ethiopian Airlines plane arrived in France. After a briefing with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), congressman Rick Larsen said the planes, which have been involved in two fatal crashes in the last five months, would be banned from flying “at least through April” while new software is installed and investigations continue. – Guardian
Sir Martin Sorrell, former WPP boss, is poised to receive a £2.1m bonus, despite leaving the firm last year. The advertising giant said the reward is part of its long-term incentive plan and that it would not challenge Sir Martin’s right to benefit from the scheme. – Telegraph
US stocks finished mixed on Thursday as investors digested a slew of data releases, amid ongoing worries about Sino-US relations.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.027% at 25,709.94, while the S&P 500 slipped 0.087% to 2,808.48 and the Nasdaq 100 slid 0.19% to 7,243.01.
Relations between the US and China were back in focus following a report that a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to sign an agreement to end their trade war will not take place this month and is likely to be delayed until April at the earliest.