Britain’s housing market may no longer be defying gravity.
Mortgage lender Nationwide said house prices fell by 0.3 per cent month-on-month in January, the first decline since June, as demand eased ahead of a stamp duty holiday expiring at the end of March.
On an annual basis the market cooled for the first time in six months, with the pace of annual increase slowing to 6.4 per cent from 7.3 per cent in December. The average price in January was £229,748.
Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist, said: “To a large extent, the slowdown probably reflects a tapering of demand ahead of the end of the stamp duty holiday, which prompted many people considering a house move to bring forward their purchase.”
He added: “While the stamp duty holiday is not due to expire until the end of March, activity would be expected to weaken well before that, given that the purchase process typically takes several months (note that our house price index is based on data at the mortgage approval stage).”
The Financial Conduct Authority said buy-now pay-later credit products “should be brought within the regulatory perimeter as a matter of urgency.” Other measures proposed in the FCA’s review of the unsecured consumer credit market included reform of credit union regulation and secure, long-term funding for free debt advice.
BP reported an $115m underlying profit for the fourth quarter, down from $2.6bn a year ago and weaker than analysts’ consensus expectations for a $370m profit. For the year as a whole the company delivered a £5.69bn annual loss, its first in a decade, as reduced long-term energy price forecasts meant writing down the value of assets by $6.5bn. BP said quarterly performance was “significantly” hit by weakness in the downstream business, pressure on fuel sales because of the pandemic and weaker refining margins. The company targeted proceeds from divestments of between $4bn and $6bn this year.
Moonpig has priced its upsized flotation at the top of the range, giving the greetings card company a debut market value of £1.2bn. The company said it raised £491.2m by selling shares at 350p apiece, versus its indicative range of 310p to 350p.
Capital & Counties Properties, the Covent Garden landlord, said it had collected 43 per cent of rents due in the first quarter of 2021. The company’s year-end valuation of the Covent Garden estate was £1.8bn, down 13 per cent in the second half.
Power company SSE said in a fiscal third-quarter trading update that it still expects to deliver full-year earnings per share in the 85p to 90p range, resulting in an 80p per share dividend. The Southern Electric and Scottish Hydro owner said renewables output was just over 5 per cent below plan in the nine months to December and that coronavirus costs were in the middle of its previously guided range of £150m to £250m.
Robinhood has raised $2.4bn in its second capital infusion in a week to shore up finances strained by turbulent trading. The company’s latest round of convertible debt financing — which allows investors to swap their debt for equity — comes as Robinhood faced sharp increases in demands for deposits at clearing houses where trades in stocks and options are processed. “Robinhood has taken a ‘move fast and break things’ approach to financial services,” said one analyst.
The head of German logistics group DHL has accused governments of failing to prepare adequately for the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines, blaming distribution delays on a lack of local storage and delivery solutions. “Overall, we have not seen enough foresight for how the ‘last mile’ will work,” Frank Appel, Deutsche Post DHL chief executive, told the Financial Times. “That is the key bottleneck.”
A report by lawyers for Apollo Global Management into the ties between Leon Black and the late paedophile Jeffrey Epstein is “not enough” to remove the company from a watch list of investments that require extra scrutiny, a top UN pension fund official has said.
Brendan Greeley History shows us silver has limited value as a shelter in catastrophic financial collapse. Taking a long position on the metal looks back to a time that never existed: a time of true strong metal money.
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