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WPP : TOP NEWS SUMMARY: UK Manufacturing Slows But Mortgage Approvals Rise

09/01/2015 | 06:05am US/Eastern

LONDON (Alliance News) - The following is a summary of top news stories Tuesday.
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COMPANIES
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Satellite communications company Inmarsat confirmed the successful orbit of the third satellite in its Global Xpress constellation. The company said the Inmarsat-5 F3 was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Friday and entered orbit on Monday morning. The company's operations team will raise the satellite to its final orbit in coming weeks and undertake payload testing. After this, the satellite will be ready to join the existing two-strong constellation.
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AstraZeneca said it has signed a collaboration deal with Canada's Valent Pharmaceuticals Inc under which it will grant Valeant the exclusive licence to develop and commercialise its brodalumab product. Brodalumab is a drug currently in development for patients with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Under the deal, Valeant will acquire the rights to develop and commercialise the product globally, except for in Japan.
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Antofagasta said it has reached a deal which will result in the company getting one of its partially-owned subsidiaries to operate and develop its Encuentro oxides project in Chile. The miner said it has agreed to merge its wholly-owned subsidiary, CCM Encuentro, into Centinela which will result in the company contributing its Encuentro mining properties to Centinela's existing SX-EW plant in Chile. Antofagasta has agreed the deal with Japan's Marubeni Corp. Centinela is owned 70% by Antofagasta and 30% by Marubeni.
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Business services company Rentokil Initial said it has agreed a USD425.0 million deal to acquire US-based pest control company The Steritech Group. Rentokil said the deal will strengthen its position as the third-largest pest control services provider in the US market and will make it the third-largest player in the Canadian market. The purchase of Charlotte, North Carolina-based Steritech means Rentokil's North American operation now generates revenue of USD800 million per year and is its largest division. It comes following the agreement struck by Rentokil on Friday to acquire Chicago-based Anderson Pest Solutions.
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Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment said it has now received a revised takeover bid from 888 Holdings, as the latter attempts to ward off the continued attempts to derail its deal with Bwin.Party by smaller rival GVC Holdings. Bwin.Party said it is now evaluating the new 888 proposal, in addition to the one it has received from GVC Holdings, and will consult with key shareholders in coming days before making a decision which bidder to go with. It said its unanimous recommendation of 888's previous offer remains unaffected by the ongoing talks. Bwin.Party didn't state the value of 888's new offer.
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Advertising and marketing giant WPP said its Grey Group communications network has agreed to acquire Thailand-based digital agency nudeJEH. Following the deal, nudeJEH will merge with Grey Group Thailand and will be known as GREYnJ United, WPP said. WPP said nudeJEH provides creative, branding, strategy consultation, web design and production services. No financial details on the deal were disclosed.
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Shares in hedge fund manager Man Group were trading lower following a Bloomberg report on Monday which said the head of its China unit has been taken into custody to assist with a police probe into market volatility. Li Yifei, the chair of Man Group's China arm, is understood to be assisting with a wider investigation into market volatility in China, meaning she is not facing any charges of wrongdoing. She has led Man Group's China business since November 2011.
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Paper-based packaging products manufacturer Smurfit Kappa Group said Tony Smurfit has replaced Gary McGann as chief executive. Tony Smurfit joined the company over 20 years ago and was chief operating officer from 2002 to 2015 and chief executive of Smurfit Europe from 1999 to 2002, according to the company's website.
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Virgin Money Holdings said Chief Financial Officer Lee Rochford will step down from his position with immediate effect. The bank said Rochford will be replaced by Dave Dyer, currently the strategy director of the company, on an interim basis.
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Electra Private Equity said it has proposed a merger of its Park Resorts, South Lakeland Parks and Southview and Manor Park portfolio companies with Parkdean Holidays, the UK-based self-catering holidays company. The merger of the Park Resorts business with Parkdean would create a company with an enterprise value of GBP960.0 million, Electra said. On completion of the deal, a new GBP550.0 million debt facility will be used to refinance the existing debt facilities of the businesses, including those in which Electra has invested, and will result in expected cash proceeds to the private equity investor of GBP96.0 million.
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MARKETS
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Share prices are lower in London, following weak PMI readings from China and the UK and in-line scores from the eurozone. The market also is re-factoring in a September interest rate increase by the US Federal Reserve.
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FTSE 100: down 2.4% at 6,095.95
FTSE 250: down 1.4% at 16,875.41
AIM ALL-SHARE: down 0.4% at 731.88

GBP: up at USD1.5361
EUR: up at USD1.1259

GOLD: up at USD1,142.38 per ounce
OIL (Brent): down at USD53.00 a barrel

(changes since end of previous GMT day)
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ECONOMICS AND GENERAL
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UK manufacturing expansion slowed in August, defying expectations for a modest improvement, survey figures from the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply and Markit Economics showed. The purchasing managers' index fell to 51.5 from 51.9 in July. Economists had expected a score of 52. "The sector looks unlikely to make much of a contribution to the solid gain in broader GDP growth expected for the third quarter," Markit Economist Rob Dobson said.
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Ireland's manufacturing sector expanded at the weakest pace in eighteen months in August, as growth of output, new orders and employment moderated, survey figures from Markit Economics showed. The seasonally adjusted Investec purchasing managers' index fell to 53.6 in August from 56.7 in July. But, any reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector.
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UK mortgage approvals rose to a 17-month high in July, data from the Bank of England showed. The number of mortgage approvals increased to 68,764 in July from 67,069 in June. It was the highest since February 2014, when it totaled 70,239 and also exceeded the expected level of 68,100. Total lending to individuals increased by GBP 3.9 billion in July. Consumer credit climbed GBP1.2 billion from June. Credit gained 0.7% month-on-month and by 7.5% from last year.
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Eurozone factory expansion slowed marginally in August, while the pace was estimated to have remained unchanged earlier, final data from Markit Economics showed. The purchasing managers' index for the manufacturing sector dropped to 52.3 from 52.4 in July. In the preliminary report, released earlier, the PMI score was shown to have held steady at the previous month's level.
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Germany's unemployment declined more than expected in August, reports said citing data from the Federal Labor Agency. The number of unemployed declined by 7,000 in August from July. Economists had forecast a decrease of 4,000. The jobless rate remained unchanged at 6.4% in August as expected by economists. Data from Destatis, also released Tuesday, showed that the number of unemployed people decreased to 1.97 million in July from 1.98 million in the preceding month. The ILO jobless rate held steady at 4.7% in July.
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The manufacturing sector in China contracted at a faster rate in August, the latest survey from Caixin revealed on Tuesday, as its PMI hit a six-year low reading of 47.3. That's higher than last month's flash estimate of 47.1, but it's down sharply from 47.8 in July. It also moves further beneath the line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. Caixin also said its services PMI sank to 51.5 from 53.8 in July, while its composite index fell to 48.8 from 50.2.
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India's economy grew at a lower-than-expected 7% between April to June, compared to 7.5% in the previous quarter, government data released Monday showed. Growth data disappointed as several polls by television channels had forecasted a growth of 7.4 to 7.5%. India had outpaced China as the world's fastest growing major economy in the last quarter. But the new figures meant that the giant Asian neighbours are joint holders of that title as China had also logged a 7% growth in the recent quarter.
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The Reserve Bank of Australia kept its key interest rate unchanged for the fourth straight meeting. The policy board governed by Glenn Stevens decided to leave the cash rate at a record low 2.00%. The bank had lowered the rates by 25 basis points each in February and May.
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The US Federal Reserve is leaving the door open to hiking its benchmark interest rate in September, the central bank's vice chairman indicated Saturday, despite speculation the Fed could hold off amid turmoil in global markets. The central bank is eyeing US employment and inflation as it considers its first tightening of monetary policy since the crisis. Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said in remarks in Jackson Hole, Wyoming that the Fed should not wait until inflation reaches its 2% goal to begin increasing rates. He said there were good indications that inflation would rise.
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Bank of England Governor Mark Carney over the weekend said the current turmoil in the Chinese market will not have any direct, immediate impact on monetary policy in the UK, saying the central bank's plans would only be affected should issues in China, and more broadly in Asia, continue. Speaking at the Economic Policy Symposium at Jackson Hole in Wyoming, Carney said the central bank's Monetary Policy Committee "can look through the temporary disinflationary impact on headline inflation" caused by slowing economic growth in China "and concentrate on potentially more persistent effects through trade and financial channels". The governor repeated his previous statement that should sustained momentum continue in the UK economy and inflation pressures abate, this will put a decision on raising interest rates into "sharper relief" around the turn of the year. He said the recent events in the global economy do not merit a change in strategy for the MPC.
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The UK Oil & Gas Authority has approved the development of the Culzean gas field - the largest new field discovered in the UK North Sea for a decade. The Authority announced Monday that GBP3 billion is to be invested in the North Sea and its supply chain, supporting up to 6,000 UK jobs and creating more than 400. The Maersk Oil operated high-pressure, high-temperature Culzean field was discovered in 2008 and is expected to produce enough gas to meet 5 percentage of total UK demand at peak production in 2020 to 2021.
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Copyright 2015 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved., source Alliance News

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