FTSE 100 LIVE: Stocks drop and Unilever U-turns as it opts for UK base

3 min


Unilever’s previous plan to move was dropped in 2018 amid protests from UK shareholders.

Financial director Graeme Pitkethly said that Brexit had had no bearing on the company’s previous plans, despite scepticism from the rest of the market.

Many will see this U-turn as a validation from business for the Brexit campaign.

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The multinational, which makes Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Dove soap, says it wants to update its current structure, which makes it far more cumbersome to carry out takeovers or demergers funded by shares.

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FTSE 100 LIVE: Stocks drop and Unilever U-turns as it opts for UK base

Unilever plans to keep it’s HQ UK-based. (Image: Getty)

Unilever said no jobs would be lost as a result of the move.

“It’s a big departure from the failed plans of 2018, when the group sought a single listing in Amsterdam,” Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Sophie Lund-Yates told the BBC.

“Unilever’s sales have been lacklustre of late, and the pursuit of a single listing is Unilever’s way of making sure it’s in the best possible shape to start the difficult process of rejuvenation.”

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FTSE 100 LIVE: Stocks drop and Unilever U-turns as it opts for UK base

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FTSE 100 LIVE: The US Treasury is looking at the next round of coronavirus aid to help businesses (Image: GETTY)

11.10am update: Finance regulator fines banks

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has fined Lloyds, the Bank of Scotland and The Mortgage Business £64million for failures in how they have handled customers in mortgage arrears.

Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the City watchdog said: “Customers should still pay what is owed, but banks are obliged to treat their customers fairly when making new payment arrangements.

“Firms should take notice of the action we have taken today to ensure that their own treatment of customers meets our expectations.”

The FCA aims to enforce the fair and appropriate treatment of customers experiencing financial difficulty.

Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 pared some of its losses, rising to 6,203. It is now down 1.9% from the day before.

US stock futures also continued to struggle.

FTSE 100 LIVE: Stocks drop and Unilever U-turns as it opts for UK base

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The FTSE 100 looks set to open lower. (Image: Getty)

9.30am update: European data 

European data releases are thin on the ground today, but Italian industrial output has proved to be a small bight spot. Production in April dropped 19.1% month-on-month, according to the National Institute of Statistics in Italy. Economists had been expecting a 24% drop.

Meanwhile in markets, US stock futures continued to trend lower. The Dow Jones Industrial Average looks to open 2.1% lower, while the S&P 500 has edged down by 1.7%.

Germany’s DAX is 2.5% lower, while the FTSE 100 is still hovering around 2.4% lower.

8.42am update: Autos, banks and leisure take a hit

The FTSE bounced slightly, regaining some losses to settle at 2.4% lower.

Among European stocks, sectors that are performing the worst this morning are autos and banks, each down around 4%, and travel and leisure, which has taken a 5% hit.

8.08am update: FTSE falls

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The FTSE 100 fell 2.6% shortly after the opening bell and gold retreated slightly from the strong gains it had made yesterday.

Gold rose yesterday as investors scrambled for haven assets.

European stocks also continued to waver, ahead of a meeting of European finance ministers to discuss the EU’s recovery stimulus package.

Oil prices were under pressure too, as crude slid around 3.5%. US data recently showed that crude inventories had risen to record highs.

7.30am update: Pound wavers

The pound fell against the dollar despite the US central bank’s stark warnings about the health of the US economy. One pound now buys 1.2679 USD.

The FTSE sat at 6,329.13 ahead of the European open. Euro Stoxx 50 futures lost 2.2%.

The S&P 500 looks set to open around 1.4% lower later on.

6.15am update: Federal Reserve 

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said May’s labor numbers were positive but not enough on their own to suggest the US economy and job market was back on track.

Mr Powell explained:  “The labour market may have hit bottom in May.”

He admitted though,  “we’re not going to overreact to a single data point.”

Mr Powell added:  “We’re not thinking about raising rates. We’re not even thinking about thinking about raising rates.”

5.35am update: US inflation weak 

Consumer prices in the US fell in May for a third consecutive month.

Demand for goods remained weak due to the recession caused by coronavirus.

Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. macro strategist at TD Securities in New York told Reuters:  “We expect the crisis to result in a sustained slowing in inflation due to a net increase in slack.”

Additional reporting from Gursimran Hans


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