The FTSE 100 closed down 0.2% at 7727.42 points on Friday, dragged by Reckitt Benckiser shares which fell after the company was hit with a $60 million fine in a court case relating to its Enfamil infant formula. "Wall Street is lower after more poor data from the U.S. today, while in London the FTSE 100's day has been hit by a fine for Reckitt Benckiser," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading platform IG. Reckitt, Imperial Brands and GSK were the session's biggest fallers, down 14.6%, 2.6% and 2.3%, respectively. International Consolidated Airlines Group was the day's highest riser, up 6.2%, followed by Vodafone and Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, up 5.7% and 5.5%, respectively.


Polymetal International Swings to Net Profit

Polymetal International said it swung to a net profit last year and that it will pursue long-term growth following the sale of its Russian assets.


Swisscom to Buy Vodafone's Italy Unit for $8.7 Bln

Swisscom said it agreed to buy Vodafone Group's Italian business for 8 billion euros ($8.71 billion), a deal that continues the U.K. company's portfolio simplification.


U.K. Regulator Invites Comment for Barratt-Redrow Merger

The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority said it was inviting interested parties to comment on the Barratt Developments and Redrow merger.


WH Smith CFO, COO Robert Moorhead to Be Replaced by Burberry's Max Izzard

WH Smith veteran Robert Moorhead will retire as chief financial officer and chief operating officer and will be succeeded by Max Izzard, senior vice president of group and corporate finance at Burberry.


Swisscom to Buy Vodafone's Italy Unit for $8.7 Bln -- Update

Swisscom said it agreed to buy Vodafone Group's Italian business for 8 billion euros ($8.71 billion), a deal that completes the U.K. telecom company's simplification of its European portfolio.


Berkeley Group Backs Profit Views on Robust Sales

Berkeley Group Holdings said it expects profit to be in line with market consensus and backed its short-term guidance, citing a robust sales position.


Air Astana Pretax Profit Falls on Higher Costs

Air Astana said pretax profit fell in 2023 due to higher costs, and that it expects to report further growth in the new year on increased capacity and fleet expansion.


Network International Holdings Extends Brookfield Takeover Deadline

Network International Holdings said it has extended the long stop date for its acquisition by Brookfield Asset Management after receiving further regulatory clearance.


Graft Polymer Shares Fall as Geopolitical Situation Hits Financial Position

Graft Polymer shares fell after it said its financial position has become precarious due to the geopolitical situation and that it has been forced to undertake an urgent review of its future direction.


Glencore Poised for Outperformance on Copper Exposure, Cash-Generation

1034 GMT - Glencore's cash-generation potential, coupled with its copper exposure and thermal-coal price hitting the bottom, will likely drive an outperformance this year, RBC Capital Markets analysts write in a research note. Even if coal prices drop 28% below the 12-month forward curve--which is highly unlikely--the Swiss mining giant's free cash-flow yield would still be in line with its peer average, they say. Additionally, its 30% exposure to copper, along with the unsanctioned copper heavy-growth portfolio, should support the share price in the near-to-medium term, they say. Shares are up 1.9% at 425.20 pence. (


Vodafone's Sale of Italian Business Seen as Final Step of Its European Reshaping

1034 GMT - Vodafone's sale of its Italian business mark the final step of its European portfolio reshaping and will lead the company to financial recovery, AJ Bell Investment Director Russ Mould writes in a research note. Vodafone Group's decision to cut its dividend in half from next year is interesting and will reduces Vodafone's financial commitment to shareholders in the long-term, Mould says. "This may help put capital allocation on a more sustainable footing, but it does dilute one of the key reasons people hold the shares," he adds. However, CEO Margherita Della Valle's ability to deliver consistent growth will be under scrutiny along with her position, Mould says. Shares are up 3.5% at 68.43 pence.(


Gilt Yields Maintain Upward Trend

0936 GMT - Gilt yields maintain this week's upward trajectory as Friday's data calendar remains light. The U.S. industrial production data due at 1315 GMT are unlikely to cause big market movements, UniCredit Research analysts say in a note. "While likely stronger-than-expected U.S. industrial production may keep selling momentum going, we would be surprised to see a significant market reaction to data that are backward-looking." The U.K. 10-year gilt yield rises 1 basis point to last trade at 4.097%, while the 2-year gilt yield climbs 2 basis points to 4.325%, Tradeweb data show. (


Vodafone-Swisscom Deal in Italy Likely to Face Little Antitrust Opposition

0923 GMT - Vodafone Group's proposed sale of its Italian business to Swisscom is unlikely to face opposition from antitrust authorities, but it would bring little repair to the market's competitive nature, Barclays analysts Maurice Patrick and Mathieu Robilliard say in a research note. A combination between Vodafone's Italy unit and Swisscom's Fastweb could be used as a platform to drive greater convergence between fixed and mobile telecommunications services, and business-focused services could become a growth engine, Barclays says. The combined entity could have a market share of around 35%-40% in the business-to-business segment, Barclays says. Vodafone shares jump 4%, while Swisscom rises 2%. (


Sterling Expected to Benefit from BOE's Slow Start to Rate Cuts

0913 GMT - Sterling is expected to receive support if the Bank of England continues not to open the door to interest-rate cuts, analysts at BNP Paribas Markets 360 say. "For now we think the BOE continuing to not open the door to rate cuts is a source of support for the pound when other G10 central banks have already done so," they say in a note. BNP Paribas Markets 360 remains positive on sterling as a result of this, as well as low uncertainty going into the general election and our reduced concerns around the current account deficit. GBP/USD trades down 0.1% at 1.2742. (

Contact: London NewsPlus, Dow Jones Newswires;

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

03-15-24 1319ET