MARKET REPORT: Downgrade sends Royal Mail shares to a new low
Royal Mail's annus horribilis continued yesterday as Credit Suisse cut its target price and joined other City banks in questioning the sustainability of the company's dividend amid a profits slump.
The stock slid 2.9 per cent, or 9.4p, to 316p, a record low and nearly a full 50 per cent below its May peak of 631p.
The latest sell-off marked another setback for chief executive Rico Back, who only this week defended his bumper pay packet that is worth as much as £2.7m a year on top of the £5.8m 'golden hello' he received when he replaced Moya Greene on June 1.
Analysts at Credit Suisse said they think shares are worth 301p, down from an earlier target price of 339p. Royal Mail shares floated at 330p in 2013 but this year has seen the departure of Greene as well as chairman Peter Long, a blazing row over fat-cat pay and a 57 per cent slide in profits.
David Madden, an analyst at CMC Markets, said the downgrade was 'no surprise' following Royal Mail's 'disappointing' results. He said: 'Adding to the pressure on the stock is the chatter about a possible general election. The Labour Party have suggested they would renationalise the firm, and that is weighing on investor confidence too.'
Selling pressure also hit Melrose, the industrial group that paid £8 billion for engineer GKN, which was the day's biggest casualty with a fall of 6 per cent, or 11.05p, to 171.45p.
Turning to the wider market, the FTSE 100 opened a healthy 40 points higher only for sentiment to be dented by the Tory infighting over Brexit. The blue-chip index closed the day 0.3 per cent lower, or 24.13 points, at 7013.88.
As Theresa May faced a no-confidence vote, so City investors gave the thumbs down to the banks, with Royal Bank of Scotland leading the fallers with a 3.3 per cent drop, or 7.3p, to 216.9p.
'Lower interest-rate hike expectations, coupled with the fear that a no deal Brexit could bring chaos to trade, are raising worries over the performance of UK banks going forward,' said IG market analyst Joshua Mahony.
Hutchison China Meditech (off 19.4 per cent, or 1085p, at 4515p) had £700m wiped off its value as flagship treatment Fruquintinib stumbled in a final-stage lung cancer trial. In a study of 527 patients in China, Fruquintinib slowed the disease but failed to improve survival rates to any significant degree over existing treatments.
Among the tiddlers there was disappointment for those thrill-seekers who chased Tom Co Energy from a low of 3.22p earlier this week to 5.64p after the stock was suspended.
SVS Securities terminated its broker appointment with immediate effect and ended an agreement to act as agent for the shale exploration and technology company's £532,350 share placing, saying its reputation was 'likely to be prejudiced' by continuing its work for the company.
It was lift-off time for shares in mining minnow China Nonferrous Gold as the shares soared 40.4 per cent, or 1.61p, to 5.6p after it said it is processing 2,000 tons of ore a day from its operation in Tajikistan.
Friday's change in fortunes is probably cold comfort for investors who bought at the start of the year when it traded at 19p.
It is Thanksgiving next week in the US, but just which UK company will win the award for biggest turkey when a welter of blue-chips report?
A year ago it was Centrica (up 0.8 per cent, or 1.2p, at 145.25p), which sounded the earnings alarm.
Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?
Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.
Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?
We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.
Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group
November 17, 2018
Sources: Daily Mail
hecking and savings products that earn 3 percent, much more than what traditional banks offer and higher than online banks. Robinhood charges no fees and requires no minimum balance.</p><p>But there’s an important distinction: Robinhood’s checking and savings features are not traditional bank accounts. They are simply separate balances held within a Robinhood brokerage account. That means your funds are not FDIC-insurance, but instead protected by insurance from the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, or SIPC.</p><p>Here’s what you should know about the FDIC and SIPC.</p><p>Created by Congress, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is an independent agency that maintains stability and public confidence in the nation's banking system. The agency helps manage the wind down of failed banks. But more importantly for you, it insures customer deposits of failed banks up to $250,000 and oversees banks for safety, soundness and consumer protection.</p><p>The SIPC was created by the Securities Investor Protection Act as a nonprofit membership corporation. It oversees the liquidation of broker-dealers if they go bankrupt or close because of financial trouble, and customer assets or cash are missing. The SIPC works to retrieve those assets and insures each customer up to $500,000 for securities and cash, including a $250,000 limit for cash.</p><p>Unlike the FDIC, the SIPC was not chartered to combat fraud. It’s also not an agency of the federal government, and it has no authority to investigate or regulate broker-dealers.</p><p>“It is important to understand that SIPC is not the securities world equivalent of the FDIC,” its website notes.</p><p>Robinhood already was a broker-dealer member of the SIPC when it launched its savings and checking features, which are technically considered cash management accounts. Investment firms like Fidelity and Charles Schwab offer similar accounts.</p><p>"The insurance amount is the same and it allows us to offer this high rate,” said Baiju Bhatt, CEO and co-founder of Robinhood.</p><p>As a broker-dealer, the company can invest your cash in Treasurys. The return they get on those investments is enough – possibly more than enough – to cover the 3 percent they pay on your checking and savings balances in your brokerage account.</p><p>Robinhood does partner with a bank – Sutton Bank – as a sponsor for its debit card. It also may pursue its own charter in the future, Bhatt said, but there are no concrete plans for that now.</p>
ity to get Volkswagen for nothing.</p><p>But today, Ford may need the German automaker's help after all.</p><p>Following the war, the British famously offered VW to Henry Ford II, grandson of Henry Ford, in 1948.</p><p>“I don't think what we're being offered here is worth a dime," said Ernest Breech, chairman of the board at Ford Motor Co., who joined Henry Ford II on a trip to Cologne, Germany, to discuss the idea.</p><p>Over the next seven decades, VW morphed into the largest automaker in the world, by sales volume.</p><p>These days, Ford and Volkswagen are discussing the possibility of a broad partnership involving research, manufacturing and shared office functions. An announcement is expected as soon as January as Ford also seeks to trim its white-collar workforce, which grew significantly in the past five years even as market share was flat.</p><p>Analysts say Ford has little choice if it is going to snare a chunk of profit in the high-tech transportation future — but they see a risk of the American icon ultimately being dependent on a bigger partner. </p><p>“Ford has little choice but to form some kind of partnership with one of the top-three truly global automakers of Volkswagen, Toyota or Hyundai-Kia in order to survive long-term in any form,” said market analyst Jon Gabrielsen, who uses data from corporate filings to advise automakers and suppliers.</p><p>Back to that post-WWII decision, documented by Walter Henry Nelson in “Small Wonder,” a history of the German carmaker published in 1970 by Little, Brown & Co.</p><p>The Volkswagen Beetle ended up breaking a production record set by the Ford Model T, and in a bit over 60 years, VW had eclipsed Ford in overall sales.</p><p>“It’s sort of ironic,” said John Heitmann, a professor at the University of Dayton who teaches automotive history and has visited VW's flagship factory in Wolfsburg, Germany, more than once.</p><p>“Remember, VW is committed to being the largest manufacturer in the world of automobiles,” Heitmann said. “In this case, it could be the mouse that swallows up the cat before it’s all over. You can never underestimate who you’re dealing with in terms of these partnerships.”</p><p>Ford and VW executives say neither company will take an ownership stake in the other. People close to the companies' talks about cooperating on some projects say an announcement could be made as soon as early 2019, likely after the Detroit auto show in mid-January.</p><p>Ford earlier this year signed an official agreement with Volkswagen to explore talks that initially focused on commercial trucking. Those discussions expanded to include shared investment in electric and autonomous vehicles, costly work that carmakers need to remain relevant as transportation changes over the next couple of decades. Then, the CEO of Volkswagen said this month the company may expand its U.S. production presence beyond Chattanooga, Tennessee, by building products in underutilized Ford factories.</p><p>“Look, we’re in discussions,” said Ford spokesman Mark Truby. “It’s not a merger. These are discussions to have an alliance in specific areas of business where we’d have mutual benefit. Our companies have complementary strengths. There are some interesting discussions going on about how we could work together to strengthen the business.”</p><p>CNBC reported that one area of discussion is the idea of the companies merging their marketing and distribution operations, leveraging company strengths and allowing Ford to adjust its role in Europe, where the company is bleeding financially.</p><p>Meanwhile, Volkswagen reported record sales globally in 2017. VW is the top selling car company in China, the largest market in the world.</p><p>“VW is strong where Ford is not: Europe and China. Ford is strong where VW is not: North American trucks and autonomy,” said John McElroy, longtime industry observer and host of autoline.tv. “Both need help in South America. Each one could help the other in a variety of ways, and the savings could be poured into electrification and mobility.”</p><p>Market analysts have watched Ford lose market share and struggle to win investor confidence. This is part of the reason that the Dearborn, Michigan-based carmaker is offering retirement deals and buyout packages. Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas has predicted Ford will cut 25,000 jobs globally. Ford CEO Jim Hackett has cast doubt on that number.</p>
grocery delivery company announced.</p><p>The move comes a little over a year after Amazon acquired Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. Amazon has its own delivery service called AmazonFresh.</p><p>Whole Foods and Instacart began working together in 2014. Two years later, they signed a deal for Instacart to become the chain's exclusive delivery carrier.</p><p>Instacart currently employs 1,415 couriers, which it calls "in-store shoppers," across 76 Whole Foods locations.</p><p>About 75 percent of the employees will be transferred to other locations, Instacart Founder and CEO Apoorva Mehta said in a statement. However, the remaining 25 percent — about 350 — will be laid off and will receive three-month separation packages as well as tenure-based compensation.</p><p>Instacart will begin winding down its operations at Whole Foods on Feb. 10 and exit the marketplace in the succeeding months, the company said.</p><p>"For our in-store Whole Foods shoppers who are personally impacted by this news, we’re deeply committed to being transparent about what this means for you and plan to share any updates with you as they become available," Mehta said.</p>
e before jetting off to the US could be in for a shock.</p><p>Many travellers head for the sunshine at this time of year to Florida, or perhaps to New York for a magical shopping trip.</p><p>However, they are now being offered barely $1 to the pound thanks largely to the current Brexit uncertainty. </p><p>Tourists looking to hop across the Atlantic for a winter break might have been shocked to discover that £1 would only have got them $1.05 in return</p><p>The pound is now at its weakest since April 2017, having fallen by 11.77 per cent since 16 April 2018.</p><p>It is a far cry of the heady days in which travellers could easily obtain $2 for every pound. </p><p>Many will fondly remember these better rates, in which holidaymakers could easily establish costs while in the US. </p><p>For example, a $100 meal could roughly be converted to cost £50. </p><p>British holidaymakers like to look back with nostalgia at a time when the pound was frequently worth $2, but that hasn't been the case for 10 years.</p><p>14 July 2008 was the last time the pound was worth that much, before the global financial crisis caused it to plummet in the winter of 2008. </p><p>The pound reached a 26-year high in the year before, in April 2007, when it was worth $2.010. It's now worth $1.26, and it's been on a downward trend since 2016. </p><p>The pound is now worth $1.26, and hasn't been worth close to $2 for 10 years</p><p>Ian Strafford-Taylor, chief executive of currency traders FairFx, told the BBC: 'Over the last couple of months... we've seen several developments in Brexit negotiations, MP resignations and more recently a leadership challenge which have all sparked significant turbulence for the pound'. </p><p>'It remains to be seen how things will play out as we head towards the UK's exit from the EU, but we are facing even more uncertainty, and uncertainty is one of the biggest causes of volatility for currency,' Mr Stafford-Taylor said.</p><p>Britons have seen the pound fall against the euro - and there have been stories in recent months of airport exchanges offering less than €1 for £1. </p><p>It now appears the same could happen shortly with the dollar, as airport exchanges exploit those leaving it to the last minute.</p><p>Many Britons head across the Atlantic for a winter break, whether for the bright lights of New York, or bright sunshine of Florida. </p><p>But while the pound crashing to almost equal to the dollar at the UK's largest airport may be a cause for concern, it's important not to get too carried away.</p><p>It's always been a well-known fact that the rate you'd get turning up at an airport is far worse than if you get your travel money in advance. </p><p>For example, rates at some of the UK's other airports aren't much better than the 1.05 rate reportedly being offered at Heathrow.</p><p>Those operating at airports say the rates reflect the higher costs of operating in them. </p><p>Money Saving Expert's TravelMoneyMax comparison tool estimates that turning up on the day of your holiday at Manchester Airport, Glasgow International or East Midlands would get you an exchange rate of 1.10, while Heathrow's London rival Gatwick would offer you 1.13.</p><p>However, if you pre-order and then pick-up, you can get a far higher $1.24 to the pound. </p><p>On £500 worth of dollars, you'd lose out on almost £100 if exchanging at the airports.</p><p>If you want a decent exchange rate, get your money before you leave for the airport. </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group</p>
s strong sales tied to holiday shopping were offset by lower gasoline prices.</p><p> The Commerce Department said Friday that retail sales have climbed a solid 5.3% so far this year. In November, non-store retail sales — a category that includes Internet brands such as Amazon — jumped 2.3%. Furnishers, electronics stores and health stores also enjoyed a solid bump as the holiday shopping season got into full swing.</p><p> But some of that sales growth was hampered by gas stations, which saw a 2.3% drop in purchases last month. Higher gas prices in October, along with increased auto-buying, had helped propel broader retail sales gains of 1.1% during that month. Excluding gas, November retail sales rose a healthy 0.5%.</p>
– from most everywhere. But if you don't know where the leaves are from, you might want to pass.</p><p>The strain of E. coli that caused the November romaine lettuce outbreak has been traced to a farm in Santa Maria, California, but other sources are likely coming, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday.</p><p>A sample from the sediment of a local irrigation reservoir used by a single farm, owned and operated by Adam Bros. Farms in Santa Maria, tested positive for the particular type of E. coli. The FDA, which is using Whole Genome Sequencing analysis, said it plans to send investigators back to the farm for further sampling.</p><p>The federal government's warning that consumers avoid romaine lettuce grown in California's Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and Ventura counties has been amended. Romaine lettuce fans may go back to eating greens from San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz and Ventura counties, if it was harvested after Nov. 23. Also OK are romaine grown hydroponically and in greenhouses.</p><p>Anyone unable to confirm their lettuce is from unaffected sources should not eat those greens, the FDA advised.</p><p>Federal investigators said records from five restaurants in four states have identified 11 distributors, nine growers and eight farms as potential sources of contaminated romaine lettuce.</p><p>"Currently, no single establishment is in common across the investigated supply chains," the FDA said in a statement. "This indicates that although we have identified a positive sample from one farm to date, the outbreak may not be explained by a single farm, grower, harvester or distributor."</p><p>The FDA said Santa Monica County-based Adams Bros. Farms is cooperating and discussing what corrective actions need to be taken before the next growing season. No romaine lettuce has been shipped since Nov. 20, and the company agreed to recall products that may have come into contact with the reservoir.</p><p>To date, 59 people in 15 states have gotten sick from romaine lettuce tainted in this E. coli outbreak, according to the FDA. The last reported illness onset date was Nov. 16.</p><p>The FDA applauded lettuce growers in California and Arizona for starting to label their lettuce with the places where it's from.</p><p>The government first alerted the U.S. public of the problem on Nov. 20.</p><p>Another contaminated romaine lettuce outbreak stopped Americans cold this past spring and summer. That strain of E. coli was different and was ultimately traced to the Yuma, Arizona, growing area. In that outbreak, 210 people got sick and five died, according to the FDA.</p>
million scam which saw more than 100 people tricked into investing in fictitious truffle farms.</p><p>Over the course of six years investors were told their savings were funding oak and hazel tree saplings inoculated with truffle spores at specialist plantations around the world.</p><p>Investors were told the truffles would then be cultivated on a commercial scale.</p><p>However, investigators from the Government’s Insolvency Service found that no harvesting or cultivation has ever taken place to date at any of the plantations.</p><p>Over 100 people were tricked into investing over £9million in fictitious truffle farms </p><p>After a four-day trial, five connected companies were wound up by the High Court in London, including Viceroy Jones New Tech, Viceroy Jones Overseas, Westcountrytruffles, Truffle Sales and Credit Free.</p><p>The court found that the companies devised 'convoluted contractual structures' and manipulated costs to secure high-value investments.</p><p>For example, investors paid anywhere between £750 and £995 per sapling with the promise they would see significant returns within five years after the truffles had been cultivated.</p><p>However, at the same time similar inoculated saplings were available to the public from different companies costing only £7.95 to £9.95 each.</p><p>Investors were also miss-sold the investment opportunities through unsubstantiated claims, the court found. One investor was even told they could expect a 200 per cent return on their investment over a 10-year period.</p><p>Investors’ funds were paid into third party offshore bank accounts. Investigators were told the majority of funds were paid as commissions, though the court said that no supporting records have been provided to substantiate this.</p><p>The court also heard that Viceroy Jones New Tech used a network of unregulated financial advisory firms and targeted people that had access to their pension savings.</p><p>Cheryl Lambert, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: ‘The companies and those behind them have showed no remorse in their calculated plan to scam investors of their pension pots. </p><p>'Although the Insolvency Service investigation was hampered by a lack of cooperation, the investigation pieced together the numerous layers in which the scam was wrapped.</p><p>‘We take the matter of unregulated pension liberation investment schemes very seriously and will take action to stop any such schemes who have acted unscrupulously.’ </p><p>Investigators have also been able to show that significant commissions were paid to the unregulated advisors, Truffle Sales Ltd, as well as to director George Frost and his brother Brian, who was a former director of Westcountrytruffles.</p><p>The last company shut down by the courts, Credit Free Limited, had not actively participated in the truffle scam, but had received funds raised in the scheme.</p><p>Using these funds, Credit Free Limited paid more than £1.8million over a five-year period to George Frost and to former director, Jeffrey Hawes.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group</p>
on $126 billion of U.S. cars, trucks and auto parts following its cease-fire in a trade battle with Washington that threatens global economic growth.</p><p> The agency said Beijing will suspend a 25 percent import charge on $66 billion of cars and trucks and a 5 percent charge on $60 billion of auto parts.</p><p> Trump agreed earlier to suspend planned U.S. tariff hikes due to take effect Jan. 1 on Chinese imports while the two sides negotiate.</p>
ser to brother’s tech fund to portfolio</p><p>Osborne’s brother, Theo, is a founding partner at at the firm, which is based in the San Francisco Bay area. It specialises in “multi-stage venture capital” and “long-term, patient and strategic capital”.</p><p>Osborne has taken on a host of jobs since leaving parliament in May 2017, after declining to stand again as an MP in the general election. Theresa May sacked him as chancellor after she was appointed Conservative party leader following the EU referendum in 2016.</p><p>Theo Osborne is well known in the early-stage investment community. He is a founder of the London-based venture capital firm Force Over Mass Capital, and is still listed as head of strategic relationships on the company’s website.</p>
ll-year forecasts thanks to the additional sale of one of its infrastructure assets in December, the group has revealed.</p><p>The UK-based firm said it will net about £65million in profit from the disposals over the full year, therefore exceeding its previous forecasts.</p><p>Following the sale of its stake in Fife Hospital for £43million in September, the group expects to complete a sale of 80 per cent of its Edinburgh University student accommodation project for £24million.</p><p>Balfour Beatty, the UK's largest construction company, is set to beat its expectations for the financial year</p><p>Sales in the six months to June fell 8 per cent to £3.8billion, but underlying pre-tax profits jumped from £22million last year to £56million.</p><p>The company, which is the UK's largest construction enterprise, also signalled a higher level of new work as part of a wider restructuring plan.</p><p>The order book is forecast to be around £12billion at the year end, up from £11.4billion at the start of the year.</p><p>It also said it is on track to meet its goal of bringing margins in line with industry standard in all earnings-based businesses. </p><p>Chief executive Leo Quinn said: 'The actions we have taken since the start of 2015 have created a strong foundation for the future.</p><p>'We have consistently invested in our capabilities, systems and leadership while de-risking the business, strengthening the balance sheet and selectively building the order book.</p><p>'Going forward, we aim to drive market-leading performance by using the disciplines we have instilled to translate Balfour Beatty's expert capabilities into long-term profitable growth.'</p><p>Earlier this month, the company said it had achieved a 45 per cent reduction in debt over the last year.</p><p>However, financial advisors AJ Bell warn that the upgraded guidance from Balfour Beatty is no reason to get carried away.</p><p>'The boost to its full year numbers is principally driven by a series of disposals from its infrastructure investment arm rather than any significant improvement in trading,' AJ Bell's Russ Mould said.</p><p>'However, that should not detract from the job chief executive Leo Quinn is doing at Balfour which is successfully navigating a very challenging construction market in the UK.' </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group</p>