European Market Open Last chance for Brexit breakthrough

UK prime minister Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursala von der Leyen agreed to make a last-ditch attempt to strike a trade deal during a phone call on Saturday.

Brexit 7

European shares are set to put in a mixed performance this morning as Brexit returns to centre stage.

UK prime minister Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursala von der Leyen agreed to make a last-ditch attempt to strike a trade deal during a phone call on Saturday. The pair are expected to talk again on Monday evening to see if any progress has been made between negotiators in Brussels over the weekend.

The two sides have reached an agreement on most matters, but significant sticking points remain. They include disagreements about fishing rights, how the deal is governed, and how a ‘level playing field’ can be maintained.  

Several Sunday newspapers described this as the ‘last roll of the dice’ for the UK and the EU to sign a trade deal and avoid a no-deal Brexit ahead of the December 31 deadline. Any deal would have to be ratified and approved by the UK parliament and EU member states, adding to the time pressure. The European Council will be holding a two-day meeting on Thursday and Friday.

FTSE 100 heads higher

The FTSE 100 is set to open at 6567.8, up 0.3% from 6549.5 on the close on Friday.

Kingfisher becomes latest company to return business rates relief

B&Q-owner Kingfisher said it intends to return the sums received in business rates relief earlier this year, joining the supermarkets and other retailers that have been able to stay open during much of the pandemic.

Frasers Group considers last-minute rescue of Debenhams

Frasers Group, the owner of Sports Direct, Evans Cycles and other high street brands, is reported to be in talks about saving Debenhams. JD Sports was considering a move for the ailing department store but pulled out last week.

SEQI posts resilient interim results

Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Fund said it delivered a resilient performance in the six months to the end of September, delivering a Net Asset Value of 100.17p compared to 96.69p at the end of March. The stock raised its dividend and said its guidance for a full-year payout remains unchanged.

European indices to open lower

Euro STOXX Index is set to open 0.2% lower at 3525.5. The index, which tracks the performance of 50 of Europe’s largest stocks, closed at 3533.2 last Friday.

Germany’s DAX is set to open 0.2% lower at 13236.0, having closed at 13271.6 last week.

France’s CAC 40 is called to open 0.5% lower at 5590.0 after ending last week at 5616.5.

Find out more about trading indices here.

Lufthansa plans to cut nearly 30,000 jobs by the end of the year

Lufthansa is expected to announce this morning that it intends to cut 29,000 jobs by the end of the year, with plans to cut a further 10,000 in 2021, according to a German newspaper on Sunday.

Altice Europe faces challenge over buy-out

Altice Europe is facing court challenges in Amsterdam from hedge funds that disagree with the company’s plan to go private. Patrick Drahi, which owns 78% of the company, launched a $2.5 billion buy-out for Altice in September that has been recommended by the board, but the deal is reported to be threatened by displeased hedge fund shareholders.

Zalando loses one of its Co-CEOs as Ritter announces departure

One of the joint chief executives of online fashion firm Zalando, Rubin Ritter, announced on Sunday that he intends to step down at the company’s Annual General Meeting in 2021. That will leave the business under the management of the two remaining Co-CEOs – Robert Gentz and David Schneider – who founded the company back in 2008.  

Forex: Sterling loses ground against euro and dollar

Sterling is in focus as Brexit talks intensify.

GBP/USD has lost ground and trades at 1.33988. Cable traded at 1.34378 at the close of trade Friday after briefly hitting its highest level since June 2018.

EUR/GBP trades at 0.90542, having strengthened from 0.9025 at the close of UK trade on Friday.

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Commodities: Gold strengthens as oil holds steady

Gold trades at $1,840.7 per ounce this morning, strengthening from $1,837.2 at the close of trade on Friday.

Brent trades at $49.02 this morning, only a smidgen higher than it was at the close on Friday, when prices hit their highest level since March 2020. WTI trades at $46.04 per barrel, broadly level with the $46.12 at the close on Friday.

Find out more about trading the volatility in oil here.

Monday’s Economic Calendar: what to watch out for today

The economic calendar is light on Monday, with markets concentrating on Brexit developments and looking ahead to the European Central Bank’s meeting on Thursday.

Find out what will happen later this week using our Economic Calendar, and keep up to date with the latest market news and analysis here.

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