Companies, Markets and Finance

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

XMAS SHOPPERS SET TO SPLASH ON LUXURY

Christmas shoppers will crowd the high streets in search of luxury products this year, predicts a top retail consultancy. Verdict says burgeoning demand for iPads, make-up and luxury brands should power the biggest increase in seasonal spending since 2007. As property prices rise and job security improves, customers are expected to be more extravagant. “We’re seeing somewhat of a recovery,” said an analyst.

FED ENDS QE STIMULUS PROGRAMME

The US Federal Reserve has ended quantitative easing after six years of pumping money into the economy, reports Sky News. As the US central bank ended its stimulus programme it signaled that confidence in the recovery will remain on track. The Fed said the economy continues to grow at a "moderate" pace, while job-market conditions have improved "somewhat".

SODASTREAM PULLS OUT OF WEST BANK

The drinks company Sodastream is pulling its factory out of the West Bank as calls from Palestinian activists for a boycott grow. The Israeli firm, which sells its soda drinks maker in 45 countries, will relocate the facility to Israel's southern Negev region next year. However, it denied the move was prompted by controversy over territory, saying it was a "purely commercial" decision.

SMALL GARAGE GOES FOR £550,000

Britain’s most expensive garage has sold for £550,000, reports the Daily Telegraph. The 11ft by 7ft installation, just off the King’s Road in Chelsea, is only large enough to hold one car. It spent just two weeks on the market. A spokesman said: "The garage was sold [on Tuesday] for close to asking price." Investors scrapped for property after planning permission was granted to convert it into a home.

QUOTE OF THE DAY … HEATHROW TALKS EXPANSION

“We’ve had encouraging messages from the conference season showing that Labour and the Conservatives want to make a quick decision and are committed to getting on with it. We’re talking with local councils about when, and not if, Heathrow expands.” John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow’s chief executive, is in bullish mood as he announces a 12% rise in underlying profit.

 

SAMSUNG PROFITS AT THREE-YEAR LOW

Quarterly operating profit at Samsung Electronics has dropped to its lowest level in more than three years because of slowing smartphone sales, reports the BBC. The South Korean company announced that profit fell 60% to 4.1tn won ($3.8bn; £2.5bn) in the three months to September. Samsung shares have lost nearly 20% of their value during 2014.

THE NUMBERS... AT 0740 BST

FTSE-100: up +0.81 to 6453.87
Dow Jones: down -0.18 to 16974.31
Dax: up +0.16 to 9082.81
Cac-40: up +0.39 to 4110.64
Nikkei: up +0.67 to 15658.20
Hang Seng: down -0.66 to 23662.47
US dollar: buys €0.79400 and £0.62560
Sterling: buys $1.598.20 and €1.26890
Oil: $86.85 up +0.7