The Business: Friday June 20 2014
Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday
Demand for UK-made goods is rising but the strengthening of the pound could undermine exports, warns the CBI. “The recent rise in sterling could impact on the resilient export orders we’ve seen lately,” declared CBI deputy director general Katja Hall. On Monday the pound closed above $1.70 for the first time since early October 2008 - a time when the IMF was warning the global financial system was on the "brink of systemic meltdown".
Increased lender scrutiny has led to a "slowdown" in new home loan advances, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. The CML said gross mortgage lending held steady in May at an estimated £16.5bn - identical to April's lending figure. The figure was, however, 12% up on the one recorded in May last year. At the end of April, the Mortgage Market Review ushered in tighter rules governing mortgages.
Stronger than expected demand has prompted Lloyds Banking Group to up the amount of shares it is selling in its newly created TSB offshoot by about 40%, says the Financial Times. The lender is selling a 38.5% stake in TSB, up from the 27.5% it was planning initially. The flotation of TSB, which will start conditional trading today, has been priced at 260p – slightly above the midpoint of the initial 220p-290p range.
Markit, the London-based provider of financial information, made a positive debut in New York, when shares originally priced at a mid-point of $24 rose 11.25% to $26.70 on the Nasdaq exchange. This valued the company in excess of $4.5bn. Markit earns roughly half of its revenue from clients in the United States, with about 40 per cent coming from the European Union. Last year, it made profits of $147m on sales of $947.9m.
“There is a fear that gay people, like women, can advance to the so-called “marzipan layer” of executives who toil one level below the boardroom, but then fail to break through. Or so the whisper goes.” Gillian Tett wonders why so many gay executives are afraid to be open about their sexuality.
Blackberry shares closed up 9.6% on Wall Street after the struggling smartphone maker posted a surprise profit. The BBC reports that net profit for the three months to the end of March was $23m (£14m), compared with an $84m loss a year earlier. Revenue, meanwhile, was down 69% at $966m. "The numbers certainly aren't great, but they could have been much worse," said investment research firm Morningstar's Brian Colello.
FTSE-100: up +0.44 to 6808.11
Dow Jones: up +0.09 to 16921.46
Dax: up +0.74 to 10004.00
Cac-40: up +0.72 to 4563.04
Nikkei: up +0.09 to 15375.20
Hang Seng: up +0.25 to 23224.93
US dollar: buys €0.73390 and £0.58640
Sterling: buys $1.70510 and €1.25130
Oil: $115.05 up +0.7