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TOP NEWS SUMMARY: RBS To Be RBS In Scotland But NatWest Elsewhere

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09/30/2016 | 12:08pm CEST

LONDON (Alliance News) - The following is a summary of top news stories Friday.
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COMPANIES
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Royal Bank of Scotland Group said it intends to shift to using the 'NatWest' name as its main consumer-facing brand outside of Scotland, as part of its restructuring to comply with new UK ringfencing regulations. "Over the coming months, NatWest will become our main customer-facing brand in England and Wales and Western Europe, and in Scotland, Royal Bank of Scotland will be our core brand," RBS said. The shift to the NatWest name also will take in the RBS Corporate & Institutional banking arm, which is set to operate under the name NatWest Markets. Apart from Scotland, the Royal Bank of Scotland name will carry on only in the territories of Jersey, Guernsey, Gibraltar and the Isle of Man, under the RBS International division.
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A number of hedge funds have moved to reduce their exposure to troubled German lender Deutsche Bank, according to a Bloomberg report late Thursday. Deutsche Bank shares fell to another record low on Friday of below EUR10 a share after Bloomberg said some hedge funds have moved part of their listed derivatives holdings away from the German lender, citing an internal bank document it had seen. In a memo to staff published on Friday, Deutsche Bank's Chief Executive John Cryan responded to what he called "media speculation," saying that the bank's balance sheet has never been safer over the past two decades. Deutsche's stock and debt have been under pressure after the US Justice Department requested USD14 billion earlier this month to settle an investigation into residential mortgage-backed securities.
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BT Group said it will challenge the UK's Valuation Office Agency on its method and assumptions governing rateable values for companies, saying the proposals for BT are "excessive". BT said the VOA has proposed rateable values for BT's business premises in England and Wales to come into force in April 2017. For BT, it has applied a rateable value of GBP715.0 million in England and GBP28.0 million in Wales, compared to the current rateable values of GBP158.0 million for England and GBP7.0 million for Wales. The rateable values proposed by the VOA will be used to calculate business rates, a type of commercial property tax. Under the transitional relief approach which has been proposed by the UK Department for Communities & Local Government, the change to BT's liability would be phased in over five years. BT said it considers the proposed rateable values to be "excessive" and said it will challenge the VOA on its method and assumptions.
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Defence and aerospace technology firm QinetiQ Group said it has secured a GBP109.0 million, 11-year contract extension with the UK Ministry of Defence. The contract will cover Royal Navy mission systems and infrastructure through work to be carried out at the Portsdown Technology Park in Portsmouth. The deal is an extension of an agreement first signed in 2012.
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Online financial trading provider IG Group Holdings struck a USD40.0 million deal to acquire news and research portal DailyFX from FXCM. DailyFX provides news, research and analysis on the foreign exchange market. IG said it anticipates the acquisition will deliver enough extra new clients that it will be earnings enhancing by the company's 2018 financial year.
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Entertainment One said its full-year performance will be in line with management expectations. The entertainment content provider said its operating performance to date is on track across all its divisions, with a "strong committed film and television slate underpinning the second half of the financial year" to the end of March 2017. In the US, the division has seen even stronger-than-expected demand for Peppa Pig merchandise across a number of product categories, Entertainment One said, while in China the show has surpassed six billion views on local on-demand platforms.
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Tullow Oil said it has received confirmation that there is a "recoverable claim" from its business interruption insurance following the damaged turret bearing on the vessel serving the Jubilee field earlier this year that hit production and revenue. Tullow had confirmed last week that the hull and machinery cover would compensate the company for the capital and operating costs associated with the implementing new operating procedures at the project and finding a long term solution. The business interruption insurance covers "loss of revenues as a result of production outages". That is significant as Tullow has had to reduce its production guidance for this year as a result of the problems.
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Grainger said it has agreed to forward purchase a build-to-rent development in Leeds city centre for GBP40.0 million, which will deliver 250 private rented sector homes. The residential landlord said it has entered into the agreement with YP Real Estates, with the site located on the former Yorkshire Post Gateway site.
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MARKETS
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London shares were lower on the last day of the third quarter, with bank shares falling amid continued concerns about the health of German lenders Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank. However, Capita led the blue-chip decliners after a slew of broker downgrades followed its profit warning on Thursday. Wall Street was pointed to a lower open.
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FTSE 100: down 1.0% at 6,854.11
FTSE 250: down 0.9% at 17,707.71
AIM ALL-SHARE: down 0.2% at 818.34

GBP: flat at USD1.2952 (USD1.2985)
EUR: down at USD1.1187 (USD1.1244)

GOLD: up at USD1,326.27 per ounce (USD1,318.44)
OIL (Brent): flat at USD49.01 a barrel (USD49.20)

(changes since previous London equities close)
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ECONOMICS AND GENERAL
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The UK economy grew more than previously estimated in the second quarter, the Office for National Statistics reported. Gross domestic product climbed 0.7% sequentially in the second quarter, slightly revised up from the second estimate of 0.6%. This was the 14th consecutive quarter of positive growth since the first quarter of 2013. Meanwhile, the annual growth for the second quarter was revised down to 2.1% from 2.2%. On the production side, the dominant services sector showed a revised 0.6% rise. Meanwhile, construction output slid by revised 0.1%. At the same time, production output expanded 2.1% as previously estimated. Another report showed that the current account deficit totaled GBP28.7 billion in the second quarter, up from a revised deficit of GBP27 billion. The deficit equated to 5.9% of GDP.
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Consumer confidence in the UK continued to rebound in September from the surprising referendum a few months earlier for the country to exit the EU, according to GfK. The statistical agency's sentiment index showed a score of -1 for the month - remaining negative for the seventh consecutive month. But that beat forecasts for -5 and was up sharply from -7 in August. "Optimism is returning to UK consumers following the dramatic collapse in confidence after the recent Brexit result," said Joe Staton, head of market dynamics at GfK.
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London mayor Sadiq Khan has called the proposed hike in business rates "a real kick in the teeth" for the capital's companies. London is set to bear the brunt of a major review of business rates, which will see bills fall in every other region. Business rates across London will rise by an average of 11%. But some companies such as BT are expecting to see their bills potentially double.
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Bank customers are still being left "exposed" after a series of IT failures at Britain's biggest lenders, a senior Conservative MP has warned. Andrew Tyrie, who chairs the influential House of Commons Treasury Committee, is calling on regulators the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority to take action to strengthen the resilience and security of bank IT systems. He cautioned that customers remained "more exposed than necessary" to the risks of IT failures and were ultimately left "paying the price".
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The manufacturing sector in China moved barely to expansion territory in September, the latest survey from Caixin revealed with a manufacturing PMI score of 50.1. That's up from stagnation at 50.0 in August and represents expansion. Individually, there was growth in new work purchasing activity, although employment continued to contract. Inflationary pressures started to show signs of picking up.
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Euro area inflation doubled in September and core inflation remained stable, the flash estimate from Eurostat showed. Inflation rose to 0.4% from 0.2% in August. This was the fourth consecutive rise in prices and exceeded the expected growth of 0.3%. Nonetheless, headline inflation has been below the European Central Bank's target of 'below, but close to 2%' since early 2013.
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Eurozone's jobless rate held steady at a five-year low for a fourth straight month in August, preliminary data from Eurostat showed. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 10.1%, same as in July. Economists had predicted a jobless rate of 10%. The rate has been at its lowest since July 2011 since April. A year ago, the jobless rate was 10.7%.
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Germany's retail sales decreased at a faster-than-expected pace in August, after rising in the previous month, data from Destatis showed. Retail sales fell a calendar and seasonally-adjusted 0.4% month-over-month in August, exceeding economists' expectations for a 0.2% drop.
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One person was killed and 108 injured when a commuter train hurtled into a rail terminal and struck a barrier Thursday in New Jersey, just outside New York City, authorities said. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said the train carrying morning commuters "came in at much too high a speed" when it reached the end of the line in the Hoboken station. The person who was killed was on the platform, news reports said. Officials at several hospitals where the injured were treated said most of the injuries were minor. An official with the National Transportation Safety Board said the driver of the train was among the injured but had been released from hospital.
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Copyright 2016 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved., source Alliance News

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