London pre-open: Stocks seen lower amid renewed coronavirus concerns

Thu 13 Feb 2020

LONDON (SHARECAST) - (Sharecast News) - London stocks were set to fall at the open on Thursday amid renewed concerns about the coronavirus.
The FTSE 100 was called to open 21 points lower at 7,513.

CMC Markets analyst David Madden said: "Overnight stock markets in China lost ground on the back of renewed fears surrounding the coronavirus situation. Yesterday there was hopes the crisis was being stemmed, but in the past 12 hours the perceptions have changed. There was a spike in the number of cases in the Chinese province of Hubei - the epicentre of the emergency, so equities in mainland China as well as Hong Kong fell. European equity benchmarks are called lower."

In corporate news, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England are investigating past links between Barclays' chief executive Jes Staley and the American paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

In a statement about effectiveness tests for directors Barclays said it had taken into account press reports linking Staley and Epstein, a convicted paedophile who was arrested for sex trafficking in 2019. Barclays said Staley had no conduct with Epstein since becoming CEO in 2015 and that after an internal review he has the full confidence of the board.

The bank said the FCA enquired about Staley's relationship with Epstein. The FCA and the Bank of England's Prudential Regulatory Authority then started an investigation into Staley's account of his relationship with Epstein and Barclays' description of the relationship to the FCA.

Food delivery service Just Eat swung to a full year profit as increased scale offset higher investment in its Scoober business.

The company, which is merging with UK peer Just Eat, reported adjusted core earnings of €12.3m compared with a loss of €11.3m in 2018. Gross revenue grew by 78% to €426.8m.

Germany-based food delivery group Delivery Hero said it would buy 8.4m additional shares of Just Eat through a forward share purchase agreement restoring its exposure to 10.6% after the dilution caused by the merger.Shares in Just Eat started trading in February. The firm is waiting for a final approval from the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) before it can merge operations and brands. The CMA's first probe is due to end on March 5.
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