Thursday July 28 2016

Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday

Government delay sees Hinkley hits last-gasp obstacle

A last-minute plot twist saw plans to build the first new UK nuclear plant in 20 years hit a new obstacle just hours after French firm EDF approved the project. Contracts were due to be signed today, formally setting the ambitious project in motion. However, business secretary Greg Clark has said the government will "consider carefully" before backing it. A final decision is not expected until the early autumn.

Amazon's Jeff Bezos becomes world's richest person

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is now the world’s richest person, according to Forbes. Strong earnings from the web retailer and a boost to the company's stock have seen his estimated fortune rise to $65.3bn (£49.5bn). Bezos owns 18% of Amazon's shares, which rose 2% in trading yesterday. The firm revenue beat analysts' expectations, climbing 31% from last year to $30.4bn in the second quarter.

Sports Direct shares soar on buy-back announcement

Sports Direct shares have enjoyed their biggest one-day gain since 2009 after the sportswear retailer unveiled a £900m share buy-back. Shares in the company soared by almost 15% and briefly topped 300p before eventually settling 9% higher. Earlier this week, a damning report by MPs concluded that Mike Ashley turned a blind eye to "appalling conditions" at the controversial retailer.

Consumer and business confidence sink after Brexit vote

Consumer confidence is at its lowest for 26 years as the aftermath of the Brexit vote unsettles the public. The news has raised fears of a nationwide belt-tightening that could worsen any post-referendum economic shock. Business confidence among manufacturers has also fallen. The twin findings have raised expectations of drastic action by the Bank of England next Thursday, including a possible rate cut to 0.25%.

Rolls-Royce tops FTSE as investor optimism builds

Euphoric shareholders have sent Rolls-Royce to the top of the FTSE 100 as better-than-expected results raised hopes that the turnaround of Britain’s biggest engineer is gathering pace. The shares jumped 99p, or nearly 14%, to 831p, having touched a year-high of 875.5p. Investors, who have endured a succession of profit warnings, were cheered by signs of recovery under new chief executive Warren East. 

Quote of the day… Why you so bullish, Lloyds?

"Key here is the uncertainty surrounding a broad range of challenges now facing the company: a EU cross-border banking licence, free movement of employees, conduct of business within the EU and a general devaluation of sterling, not to mention the possible implications of negative interest rates on UK current account holders." Jordan Hiscott, chief trader at ayondo, says Lloyds should not be so bullish after Brexit.

THE NUMBERS... AT 0727 GMT

FTSE 100: down -0.44 to 6721.06
Dow Jones: down -0.09 to 18456.35
Dax: down -0.43 to 10274.93
Cac 40: down -0.59 to 4420.58
Nikkei: down -0.07 to 16465.27
Hang Seng: down -0.29 to 21995.28
US dollar: buys €0.90250 and £0.75910
Sterling: buys $1.31800 and €1.18880
Oil: $43.21 down -1.6