FTSE 100 Live March 21: Oil prices rise after Saudi attacks, London stocks rally


London Stock Exchange confirms sale of processor BETA+

The London Stock Exchange has confirmed that it will sell its BETA+ business in a $1.1 billion deal.

The company said the sale is expected to close in the second half of the year after overcoming antitrust scrutiny in the United States.

California-based private equity firm Clearlake Capital Group and financial services-focused investment firm Motive Partners have purchased the BETA+ business, which provides a back-office processing solution to the wealth management industry and has achieved revenues of $300 million in 2021.

The LSE said the sale would help it reduce its level of debt, adding that it planned to return a “significant proportion” of the net proceeds to shareholders via a share buyback.


Plane crash in China sends Boeing stock price crashing

Boeing shares fell nearly 10% following a plane crash in China that killed 132 people.

The US aircraft maker’s share price has fallen to $176, meaning it has fallen almost a third over the past year.

China Eastern Airlines’ Boeing 737-800 crashed in the mountains of southern China on Monday during a domestic flight following a sudden drop from cruising altitude.

The share price decline comes just weeks after the Federal Aviation Administration required a “systemic solution” from Boeing to address 787 Dreamliner production issues.

Boeing has not delivered new 787 passenger planes to airlines since May 2021, when for the second time safety regulators halted deliveries because they found production defects in the planes.


Royal Mint will extract gold from old laptops

The Royal Mint is set to recover gold from old laptops and smartphones in what is said to be a world first.

The commemorative coin maker, which now produces a Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games 50p and a Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen 50p, above, is building a new facility in South Wales as part of a program focused on the environment.

The project will recover precious metal from old circuit boards using a new extraction method developed by Canadian recycling specialist Excir.

The new plant will become fully operational in 2023, when the Royal Mint expects to process up to 90 tonnes of gold from UK sourced circuit boards per week. Construction begins this month.


PZ Cussons buys children’s shampoo

The maker of St Tropez fake tan and Carex hand soap has bought Childs Farm children’s wash and shampoo in a £40million deal.

PZ Cussons has bought a 92% stake in Childs Farm for £36.8m from founder Joanna Jensen, who will remain an investor. PZ are also repaying loans from Childs Farm worth £3.1m.

PZ Cussons boss Jonathan Myers says his company will fully own Childs Farm by May 2025. The brand is known for its natural ingredients, sustainability credentials and vegan products.

Childs Farm, launched in 2011, is on the verge of obtaining its B Corp status, a certification granted to companies that must meet certain ethical and environmental standards. PZ Cussons is also aiming for this certification.

PZ Cussons will buy Jensen’s stake in two tranches, with the price based on a metric linked to company earnings, capped at £32.5 million.


London Stock Exchange to sell assets for $1 billion

The London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) has reportedly signed a $1bn (£760m) deal to offload assets to private equity firms Motive Partners and Clearlake Capital Group.

The wallet, named BETA+, was acquired as part of LSEG’s $27bn (£20.5bn) takeover of financial market data provider Refinitiv in January 2021. BETA+ is a technology platform used to wealth management.

LSEG declined to comment on the deal, first reported by Sky News.


“Set up a gasoline watchdog to stop profiteering”

Petrol prices hit a record high again over the weekend: the average price of petrol reached 167p per liter on Sunday and diesel averaged 179p, according to the RAC.

The government is urged to put in place a watchdog for petrol retailers as prices rise.

Howard Cox, founder of FairFuelUK, said the government should crack down on what he called “opportunistic profiteering” by forecourt owners, suggesting formal oversight was needed.

“We think the government could support an early motion for a fuel price watchdog, not a full regulator like Ofgem, but something like a referee,” he told Standard.

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The FTSE 100 is asking for it as oil soars

A major Wall Street bank today urged its clients to buy Britons as part of a strategy to benefit from a more favorable backdrop for the Chinese economy.

JP Morgan expects policymakers in Beijing to step up stimulus efforts throughout this year as they seek to hit the 5.5% growth target.

The bank’s analysts believe the best way to position itself for this potential upturn in activity is through indirect exposure, including to cyclicals, emerging markets and the commodity-focused UK.

JP Morgan has been overweight in the London market since late last year, having also noted the appeal of one of the best average dividend yields in the world.

That British buy message continued to be heard by global investors today as the FTSE 100 index outperformed European markets to jump a further 38.54 points to 7443.27.

The top flight is now comfortably higher than at the start of 2022 and close to recouping losses seen since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.

There was little sign of a change in recent trends today after Brent crude surged more than 4% to lift commodity-focused stocks in the FTSE 100 riser chart. BP rose by 3% or 11p to 371.4p and Shell rose by 54.8p to 1996.6p.

In mining, Anglo American led the way after improving 4% or 139p to 3823p. Copper miner Antofagasta also jumped 69.5p to 1,696.5p as it said it had resolved a long-running dispute over the Reki Diq project in Pakistan.

The session saw investors turn away from growth stocks, with Ocado and Flutter Entertainment among those trading 3% or more lower.

Without as much support from commodity-focused stocks, the FTSE 250 index fell 105.99 points to 21,050.63. Shares under pressure included easyJet after falling 3%, while JD Wetherspoon and Balfour Beatty also suffered big losses.


ClearBank goes global after fundraising

ClearBank is raising £175m from private equity funds, showing confidence in London’s fintech capabilities as it expands internationally.

It claims to be the first UK clearing bank in 250 years, serving over 200 fintech clients, including Tide and Coinbase.

The funding round was led by Apax. CFFI, UK Ventures and PPF Financial Holdings were also present. The bank did not specify what the bank’s implied value is after the fundraising, or what Apax is getting for its money.

The challenger bank market is a crowded field. City analysts say all but a few are unlikely to survive any longer.

ClearBank says the new money will take it to Europe first, before North America and Asia-Pacific later.

Charles McManus, CEO, said: “Over the past five years, we have demonstrated the success of our business model and, through our work with leading financial services providers, we have helped unlock their potential and bring positive and significant changes for UK businesses and consumers. The next challenge is to deliver this innovation globally.

Mark Beith, Partner at Apax Digital, said: “All companies are becoming fintech companies, and ClearBank provides them with the integrated banking and clearing infrastructure, starting with the financial companies themselves. We’ve seen the power of its platform first-hand, and we’re excited to partner with Charles and existing shareholders to take ClearBank globally.

McManus says revenue growth is rapid, but did not elaborate.

ClearBank has secured two grants, totaling £85m, from the Banking and Competition Remedies (BCR) fund to deliver competition and innovation to UK SMEs.


Oil stocks push the FTSE 100 higher

Rising oil prices meant a stronger than expected session for the FTSE 100 index, with London’s highest vol up 0.4% after gains of 2% for stock market heavyweights BP and Shell. Their improvement came with Brent crude up 4% to $112 a barrel.

Other commodity-focused companies including Glencore and Anglo American also advanced to help the FTSE 100 find positive territory, up 25.66 points at 7430.39. Traders had previously braced for a more bearish session after last week’s 3.5% rise.

The domestically-focused FTSE 250 index fell 0.4% or 86.28 points to 21,074.34, with outsourcing group Mitie and infrastructure firm Balfour Beatty among those falling. in trouble.


Oil giant Aramco promises to increase investment

Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, said on Sunday it would increase investment by around 50% to meet global demand.

The state-owned oil giant made its pledge alongside annual results, which showed net income more than doubled to $110bn (£83.6bn) due to soaring crude oil prices.

Saudi Arabia is under pressure from the West to increase production at a time of major supply disruption caused by Russian oil embargoes.

Aramco said it would increase capital expenditure by between $40 billion and $50 billion (£30.4 billion to £38 billion), with further growth expected until the middle of the decade.

President Amin Nasser said, “We recognize that energy security is paramount to billions of people around the world, which is why we continue to make progress in increasing our crude oil production capacity, executing our gas expansion program and increasing our liquids-to-chemicals capacity. .”


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