|Bid||60.65 x 0|
|Ask||60.65 x 0|
|Day's Range||60.35 - 61.53|
|52 Week Range||48.16 - 66.79|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||0.88|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||11.40|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||0.03 (5.31%)|
|1y Target Est||75.37|
● Whitbread rallied after interim results from the Premier Inn owner matched expectations. An 8 per cent fall in first-half earnings before interest and tax was due to margin pressure but revenue per available room proved more resilient than feared thanks to demand in London, which accounts for about a fifth of Whitbread’s estate. The outlook statement reiterated 2020 guidance, albeit with a caution of “increasingly challenging” trading in the UK amid “sustained industry inflation” and weakening leisure demand.
Stocks tend to price in worst-case scenarios. A deal with the European Union—if approved by Parliament—could lead to upside for attractively priced U.K. names.
The British pound surged on Thursday while equities registered moderate gains in the wake of an agreed deal between negotiators for Britain to leave the European Union.
(Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.U.K. and European Union negotiators are closing in on a draft Brexit deal amid optimism there could be a breakthrough before the end of Tuesday, two EU officials said.They cautioned talks haven’t yet finished, and there could be problems hitting the midnight deadline. But there are clear signs that a legal text is close to being ready.The aim would be to present the draft to national delegations on Wednesday morning, an EU diplomat said. The pound surged, climbing as much as 1.2% to $1.2756, the highest level in nearly four months.Prime Minister Boris Johnson will still need to secure the agreement of the U.K. Parliament. Negotiators have approached, and even managed to strike, a Brexit deal before -- only to see it shot down in London. Any concession Johnson makes to secure a deal in Brussels risks incurring the opposition of the Democratic Unionist Party, whose support will be vital for any agreement to pass.All time stamps below are Brussels time (CET).Key developments:EU, U.K. negotiators said to be closing in on draft Brexit dealPound traders are gearing up for a nail-biting finish to BrexitJohnson still needs to persuade his Northern Irish alliesSplits in Tory Ranks Over Deal Proposal (11:45 p.m.)In a sign of trouble ahead for Johnson, the Sun reports that two senior members of his Conservative Party, Iain Duncan Smith and Owen Paterson, are unhappy with the compromises the prime minister is said to be making over Northern Ireland. Duncan Smith is a former Tory leader, and Paterson was Northern Ireland Secretary. “When would any other country ever give up part of its territory as part of trade talks?“ Paterson told the newspaper in an interview. The danger for Johnson is that once some Brexit-backers start to oppose the deal, it will be harder for others not to join them.DUP: ‘Gaps Remain’ on Proposed Deal (10:15 p.m.)Johnson spent around 90 minutes this evening speaking to Arlene Foster, leader of his Democratic Unionist Party allies, along with Nigel Dodds, who leads their contingent in Parliament. They issued a brief statement afterward: “We respect the fact negotiations are ongoing therefore cannot give a detailed commentary but it would be fair to indicate gaps remain and further work is required.”The Northern Ireland-Only Backstop (9:45 p.m.)An EU diplomat, speaking privately, said that the two sides were working on the basis of the old, Northern Ireland-only backstop. Michel Barnier has previously said that the further negotiators move from this off-the-shelf legal text, the longer and more complicated negotiations will be.The diplomat said there’s a chance the two sides won’t conclude the talks tonight, but they could still make sufficient progress for a “concept” of a legal text to be presented at the summit. This would not be a fully ready deal, but its main principles would be clearly outlined, according to the official.In that case, it is possible that the leaders will decide that negotiations can continue after the summit. But some fear that a delay would kill the momentum currently in the talks.Another Push For a Second Referendum (9:30 p.m.)The anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats are pushing for any deal to be put back to the public in another referendum. They’ve put down a motion to go before Parliament on Oct. 22, calling for one. On its own, that vote wouldn’t do the job, but it would demonstrate the level of support in Parliament for the idea. “We cannot predict from one day to the next what will happen in Parliament,“ Tom Brake, one of the MPs behind the move, said. “We need to be ready for all eventualities and to press the people’s vote case at every turn.”DUP Cautious About Potential Deal (7:30 p.m.)Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster has given a wary reaction to the developments, emphasizing that any deal must not threaten the unity of the U.K. We need “a deal that respects Northern Ireland’s constitutional position as per the Belfast Agreement within the United Kingdom and indeed respects the economic integrity of the U.K. single market,” she said in an interview with RTE.Foster suggested the idea of a Northern Ireland-only backstop plan, which has been mooted, won’t be acceptable. “I think that things are very far off the mark in terms of all of that,” she said.But Foster said she expected to engage in further discussions with Johnson later on Tuesday and would be working with the government to try to achieve a deal.Davis: Time to Back Johnson’s Deal (7:15 p.m.)Former Brexit Secretary David Davis has urged his Conservative colleagues to back any deal Johnson can reach. Talking to Sky News, he said his message to the “Spartans” -- the Tory MPs who have so far refused to back any deal, taking their name from ancient Greek warriors who refused to surrender -- was to remember that “the Spartans lost!”Baker: ‘Optimistic’ Johnson Will Get ‘Tolerable’ Deal (7 p.m.)Steve Baker, chairman of the pro-Brexit European Research Group, and a man who refused to vote for Theresa May’s Brexit deal, has left Downing Street after talks on what Johnson is trying to achieve. He sounded like he was minded to support the prime minister, something that raises significantly the chances of a deal passing Parliament. “I’m happy to say it was a very constructive conversation,” Baker told reporters, “and I’m optimistic it is possible to reach a tolerable deal which I’ll be able to vote for.”EU Envoys To Meet Wednesday Afternoon (6:30 p.m.)Ambassadors from the 27 remaining EU governments will be briefed by European Commission negotiators at 2 p.m. on Wednesday.This could be the moment when we find out officially whether Johnson has a deal to take to the summit of leaders on Thursday.Varadkar: Gaps Remain as Talks Make Progress (5:30 p.m.)Irish premier Leo Varadkar said Brexit talks have made “progress,” and are moving in the right direction, but as of a few hours ago, significant gaps still remain between the EU position and that of the U.K. The key difference remains on plans for customs checks on the island of Ireland.Speaking to reporters in Dublin, Varadkar said the situation may have developed in the last few hours and he would be briefed this evening on developments.Negotiators Closing In on Draft Brexit Deal (4:30 p.m.)A dramatic breakthrough in negotiations could come within hours after a productive day of intensive talks in Brussels so far. The British side submitted revised proposals for a deal which appear to have unlocked progress.The U.K’s plans are shrouded in secrecy but the focus is on Northern Ireland’s relationship to the EU’s customs union and the degree to which checks on goods crossing the Irish border can be eliminated. That border has been the scene of violence for decades until the late 1990s and both sides are committed to protecting the peace, which border posts could undermine.Two EU officials suggested that the U.K. had accepted that customs checks would have to take place on goods traveling between Great Britain and Northern Ireland -- in other words between two parts of the U.K. -- rather than at the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.That’s something that Theresa May ruled out, and Boris Johnson’s Northern Irish allies in the Democratic Unionist Party has previously said they cannot support. This means getting a deal on these lines through a vote in Britain’s Parliament could be difficult.Saturday Sitting Will Depend on Talks: Rees-Mogg (3:15 p.m.)Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg said it still hasn’t been decided if the U.K. Parliament should meet on Saturday, and events at the summit of EU leaders on Thursday and Friday will determine if it does.“The events that might require a Saturday sitting have not yet reached their fruition,” Rees-Mogg told the House of Commons. “It will only happen if we have something, subject to what happens in European Council, to debate on Saturday.”He said Parliament meeting on a Saturday for only the fourth time in 70 years would be necessary to fulfill the terms of the Benn Act, which requires Boris Johnson to write to the EU to request an extension if a Brexit agreement has not been reached by then. Chris Leslie, a Labour MP who backed the legislation, said it does not need Parliament to meet for the law to be obeyed.Finnish PM Says U.K. Making ‘Real Effort’ (1:45 p.m.)Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne said an extension to Brexit may come up at the EU leaders’ summit at the end of the week and there are grounds to consider it.Rinne, whose views are significant because his country holds the rotating presidency of the bloc, also said it’s possible an extra summit on Brexit will be needed before the end of the month. “It makes sense to try to reach a common view until the last moment,” Rinne told reporters in Helsinki.“For the first time during this process I have a feeling the U.K. is making a real effort,” he said. “Britain’s actions have shown it is seeking a deal to avoid a hard Brexit.”Johnson, Macron Had ‘Constructive’ Brexit Call (12:48 p.m.)Boris Johnson discussed Brexit with French President Emmanuel Macron in a 20 minute phone call, Johnson’s spokesman, James Slack, told reporters in London.“It was constructive. I would say it was a good discussion,” Slack said, without giving further details of the discussion.The U.K. is working hard to reach a deal with the bloc as time runs short before Thursday’s summit of EU leaders in Brussels, Slack said.The Pound Pares Earlier Gains (12:25 p.m.)After rallying on Barnier’s comments that a deal is possible this week, the pound pared some of its gains, as details emerged from the meeting of EU ministers in Luxembourg, in which remaining sticking points were highlighted.It was still up by 0.3% against the dollar as of 12:20 p.m in Brussels, amid cautious optimism that an accord is within grasp. The whipsaw between positive and skeptical headlines pushed one-week volatility to its highest since July 2016.France Says U.K. Made Serious Brexit Proposal (12:14 p.m.)The French government believes that the U.K. presented a “serious proposal” to exit the EU, though it’s too early to say if there will be a deal by the European summit later this week.The situation regarding Brexit must be clear before the EU leaders meet on Thursday in Brussels, about two weeks prior to the Oct. 31 deadline for the U.K.’s exit from the bloc, a French presidency official said during a briefing with reporters in Paris.JPMorgan Says Pare Back No-Deal Brexit Protection (12:12 p.m.)JPMorgan Chase & Co. credit strategists are so confident that the U.K. will avoid crashing out of the EU without a deal this month that they recommend closing Brexit hedges on no-deal exposed borrowers such as Lloyds Banking Group Plc and ITV Plc.Coveney Says “Today is a Key Day” (12:00 p.m.)“This isn’t the time for optimism or pessimism,” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told reporters in Luxembourg after the meeting with his EU counterparts and Barnier. “The negotiating teams have made progress but it’s been slow,” he added.“This is difficult, but it is possible,” according to Coveney, who reiterated that EU leaders aren’t willing to negotiate on a legal text. Such text must be finalized by negotiating teams.“Today is a key day,” he said. “I don’t want to raise expectations, but later on today or this evening, but if there is going to be a positive report that is needed in EU capitals tomorrow in advance of the EU Summit, well clearly, a big step forward needs to happen today.”Barnier’s Cautious Optimism (11:35 a.m.)Barnier was cautiously optimistic about the prospect of a Brexit deal during his meeting in Luxembourg with EU ministers, according to a national official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. A breakthrough is possible as soon as today, in which case the matter would be to EU leaders when they meet Oct. 17-18, according to the official.While the sticking points remain the same, Barnier’s optimism reflects U.K. willingness to address EU concerns, said the official. Barnier himself, walking by reporters in a hallway in Luxembourg, told them the search for a Brexit agreement is an “ongoing process.”Barnier Sees Chances of Significant Progress (11:05 a.m.)Here’s a bit more from Barnier’s discussion with EU ministers in Luxembourg. “Not all that U.K. has been saying in the last days is totally unacceptable,” the chief negotiator said, according to one of the people in the meeting. “They have moved in our direction on key points and that’s why I think we still can make significant progress today,” he said, according to the official.Rees-Mogg: Parliament Would Approve Deal (10:45 a.m.)Jacob Rees-Mogg, the U.K. minister in charge of steering legislation through the House of Commons, said that if Johnson secures a deal with the EU, it could be ratified by Parliament very quickly. “The votes are there,” Rees-Mogg told LBC radio.For any deal to pass, the issue of the Irish border would need to be solved in order to guarantee the support of the Democratic Unionist Party, which has 10 crucial votes in the legislature.“I don’t know what is being discussed in Brussels,” Rees-Mogg told LBC. “Basically, I am trusting Boris Johnson because he has been a Brexiteer before the term Brexiteer existed.”Barclay: Deal is “Very Much” Possible (10:45 a.m.)“Talks are ongoing and we need to give them space,” U.K. Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay told reporters in Luxembourg. He added that a “deal is very much possible.”Merkel Promises to Work to ‘Last Minute’ (10:40 a.m.)Chancellor Angela Merkel says Brexit talks are like “squaring the circle,” but she will continue to work for a deal until the “last minute.”“It’s very, very complicated,” Merkel said in a speech in Berlin at an industrial conference. “We’ll work on it until the last minute.”Text Ready for Summit? (10:30 a.m.)Barnier has told EU ministers that there is a chance the two sides could have a consolidated legal text ready by Thursday’s summit, according to two officials present at the meeting. The two sides are closing in on an agreement on the Stormont lock and customs checks in Northern Ireland.Barnier cautioned that the talks could still go one of three ways: conclude, reach a deadlock, or need to continue after the summit. He plans to debrief the bloc’s envoys in Brussels on Wednesday about the outcome of the discussions.U.K. Carmakers call for EU deal (10 a.m.)After spending more than 500 million pounds ($628 million) preparing for Brexit, British carmakers made a last-ditch call to the government to reach a deal. Crashing out of the EU would threaten jobs and the industry’s long-term survival, the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders said on Tuesday.U.K. Submits New Proposals (9:55 a.m.)The U.K. submitted new proposals to EU negotiators on Monday clarifying its plan for customs rules for Northern Ireland, two officials said.Barnier had told diplomats on Sunday that the U.K.’s plans were too complex and risked opening up the European single market to fraud. Monday’s proposals were aimed at responding to that, the officials said.France Says a Deal Is Up to the U.K. (9:30 a.m.)France’s Europe minister, Amelie de Montchalin, said she is still hopeful of a Brexit deal -- but the onus is on the U.K. to bring forward its proposals. The complexity of what was being requested for the Irish border and the short time available make things difficult, she said.“An agreement is possible, but it has to be a balanced deal for everyone,” she said.U.K. to Submit New Proposals (9:20 a.m.)The U.K. will bring forward new proposals today, RTE’s Europe’s editor Tony Connelly reported, citing two unidentified people familiar with the matter. It is not clear if they are revised version of the current British plans being discussed -- which involve keeping Northern Ireland in both the EU and U.K.’s customs zones -- or a different plan, Connelly added.Late Night Talks (9:15 a.m.)In a sign of how intensive the Brexit negotiations have become, they didn’t break up until about 11:30 p.m. on Monday, officials with knowledge of the talks said. They have already resumed in Brussels on Tuesday morning, they said.German Minister Not Sure Deal Is Close (9:10 a.m.)“I’m not quite sure a deal is close but we’re doing our best to find a good deal,” Germany’s Europe Minister Michael Roth told reporters in Luxembourg. “A hard Brexit would be a disaster, not just for the U.K., but also for the 27.”Roth said Germany was “extremely flexible” but that the integrity of the single market and the Good Friday Agreement, which brought peace to Northern Ireland after decades of violence, were key.Dutch Minister Says Proposal Needs More Work (8:56 a.m.)The foreign minister from the Netherlands told reporters that the U.K. offer indicates progress, but more work needs to be done.“The U.K. proposal contains some steps forward but doesn’t yet guarantee that the single market will be protected,” Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok told reporters in Luxembourg. “There have been intensive talks and they’re still going on, but let’s use the remaining time until Oct. 31.”Pound Gains After Barnier Comments (8:50 a.m.)The pound jumped on Barnier’s comments, rising as much as 0.7% to $1.2698, close to the three-month high touched last week after leaders said they could see a “pathway” to a potential Brexit deal. Hedge funds and asset managers have been paring their bets on a weaker pound, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.Barnier Says Brexit Deal Difficult, Possible (8:35 a.m)EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said a Brexit deal is possible this week but talks remain tough. “Even if an agreement will be difficult -- more and more difficult to be frank -- it will still be possible this week,” Barnier told reporters in Luxembourg.“Reaching an agreement is still possible. Obviously, any agreement must work for everyone, the whole of the U.K. and the whole of the EU,” he said.He added that it’s high time to “turn good intentions into a legal text.”Earlier:Boris Johnson’s Brexit Deal On Knife Edge as EU Needs More TimeJohnson Has a Big Brexit Problem: His Northern Irish FriendsThe Brexit Threat to World Markets Remains Too Huge to Ignore\--With assistance from Thomas Penny, John Ainger, Jessica Shankleman, Patrick Donahue, Kitty Donaldson, Vassilis Karamanis, Helene Fouquet, Leo Laikola, Jonathan Stearns, Robert Hutton and Greg Ritchie.To contact the reporters on this story: Ian Wishart in Brussels at email@example.com;Nikos Chrysoloras in Brussels at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at email@example.com, Edward Evans, Tim RossFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The British pound jumped Tuesday, shaking off losses seen at the start of the week, after upbeat comments over a possible Brexit deal from the European Union’s negotiator.
European stocks took a step backward on Monday as traders took more skeptical assessments on the prospect of a U.S.-China trade pact and a deal for Britain to leave the European Union.
(Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.The Brexit negotiations have taken a step forward with detailed talks set to begin for the first time since Boris Johnson became U.K. prime minister. The pound and U.K. banking stocks surged.After months of war-like rhetoric and threats, Johnson made a vital breakthrough in talks with Irish leader Leo Varadkar on Thursday, paving the way for detailed negotiations to start in Brussels.The two negotiating teams now have a weekend of intensive work ahead of them, examining draft legal text as they try to thrash out a deal in time for the summit of EU leaders on Oct. 17-18.But while the mood has brightened dramatically, the deal is not yet done. For one thing, it’s not clear what concessions -- if any -- Johnson has promised the EU, and whether he can get any deal through Parliament in London. The critical issue remains how to avoid a “hard” border, with customs checkpoints, at the land frontier between Ireland and the U.K after Brexit.“There is a joint feeling that there is a way forward that we can see a pathway to a deal,” Johnson told broadcasters on Friday. “That doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. There’s work to be done.”Key developments:Michel Barnier briefs EU ambassadors, but won’t reveal details of the U.K. concessionsEU agrees for detailed talks to intensify as negotiators aim for a dealBarnier hosted U.K. Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay for “constructive” meeting in BrusselsJohnson is keeping his Northern Irish Allies in the Democratic Unionist Party informed of his negotiations as they are key to ensuring any deal can pass a vote in ParliamentPound surges; RBS and Lloyds shares jumpThe DUP Responds (4:40 p.m.)Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster has finally given her reaction to Johnson’s latest offer. She reiterated her requirement that any deal must have the consent of the unionist community and fired a warning shot against any attempt to keep Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market. But, crucially, she didn’t go as far as to explicitly rule out supporting the prime minister. She said the party will use its “pivotal role” and “considerable influence” in Parliament to influence the outcome. “There will need to be a clear acceptance that the economic and constitutional integrity of the whole of the United Kingdom will have to be respected as we leave,” she said. “As a consequence of the mandate given to us by voters in 2017 the DUP is very relevant in the Parliamentary arithmetic and regardless of the ups and downs of the Brexit discussions that has not changed.”The DUP is in a formal arrangement to support Boris Johnson’s minority Conservative government and keep it in power. While it only has 10 votes in the House of Commons, some hardline Conservative MPs have indicated they will only back a Brexit deal if the DUP supports it too.U.K. Welcomes EU Talks Decision (3:45 p.m.)Boris Johnson’s office issued a statement welcoming the decision by the 27 other EU member states and saying his government is looking forward to negotiations “in the coming days.”“We welcome this decision, following the constructive meeting between the Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay and Michel Barnier this morning, and building on the meeting between the prime minister and the Taoiseach yesterday,” Johnson’s team said in the statement. “We look forward to these intensified discussions in the coming days.”Industry Groups Raise Fears About Johnson’s Plan (3:40 p.m.)The U.K.’s aerospace, automotive, chemicals, food and drink and pharmaceutical sectors are concerned about Johnson’s plans for post-Brexit trading arrangements, the BBC reported, citing a letter sent by the group to the government. The plans can pose “serious risk to manufacturing competitiveness,” the letter said.In the letter, the industry representatives express their “growing concern” that British negotiators have dropped existing commitments to maintain regulatory alignment with the EU in relevant sectors. They also demanded reassurances that industry interests will be prioritized.Boris Johnson Is Elusive (2:57 p.m.)Johnson struck a cautious, yet optimistic note, in his first public comments since his meeting with Varadkar.“There is a joint feeling that there is a way forward that we can see a pathway to a deal,” the British prime minister told broadcasters in a pooled interview on Friday. “That doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. There’s work to be done.”He went on to say it “would be wrong of me to giving a running commentary on the negotiations. With the greatest possible respect I think, look at everything I’ve said previously. I think you can draw your own conclusions from that. But let’s our negotiators get on.”Pressed on what solutions he had proposed for the contentious Irish border question, Johnson said: “I can certainly tell you that under no circumstances will we see anything that damages the ability of the whole of the United Kingdom to take full advantage of Brexit, and I think that’s what people would expect, and that’s what I think we can achieve.”The pound, in the meantime, keeps rising. It’s now up 2%.The Devil Is in the Detail (2:06 p.m.)Barnier told the ambassadors that the U.K. had made concessions on both customs and consent without going into detail, an official said. Several ambassadors told him that the only thing that would work would be if the U.K. accepted the need for a Northern Ireland-only backstop, similar to the one thrashed out by the two sides last year, but Barnier refused to confirm that this was the plan, the official said.The issue about consent revolves around how the people of Northern Ireland should give their democratic consent to any agreement. It would involve some kind of regular sign-of from the region’s assembly.Question Is What Might the U.K. Have Given Up (1:47 p.m.)The U.K. conceded on some key issues that were standing in the way, an EU diplomat said following the debrief with Barnier. We are now looking to weekend negotiations, the diplomat representing one of the bloc’s member states, added.A second official, who was present in the debrief, said Barnier didn’t clarify what these U.K concessions might be. It’s an important question given how the U.K. depends on a Northern Ireland unionist party for backing in parliament.The EU Commission’s negotiator hinted that they are related to customs, and that we are heading toward a solution almost identical to the original Northern Ireland-only backstop, the ambassador said, asking not to be named, as the debrief wasn’t public.The bad scenario for this weekend is a backtracking from the U.K, in which case Barnier said he ’d discontinue the talks, the ambassador said. The good scenario is to bring a deal which resembles the original Northern Ireland-only backstop proposal of February 2018.In the latter case, a short technical extension may be required, the diplomat said.The meeting with Barnier was tense, with the French ambassador getting annoyed at one point because of the leaks to the media.Nothing Has Changed on Irish Border (1:38 p.m.)Let’s stay cautious. That is the message that resonated from the EU as speculation amped up on whether or not the divorce talks were headed into the final sprint.After meeting with his U.K. counterpart Stephen Barclay on Friday, Barnier told ambassadors from the 27 member states that there has been enough progress for talks to intensify.That isn’t quite the same as entering the so-called “tunnel” -- the formal Brussels process by which the actual legal text of an agreement is thrashed out in secret -- but it’s a sign both sides recognize a deal is still possible.Is It All Headed Into Secret Talks? (1:30 p.m.)So, EU envoys were briefed about a “possible convergence” between Ireland and the U.K, but a lot remains to be negotiated, a participant in the debrief with Barnier said. Ambassadors will reconvene either Sunday or Monday to take stock of the situation, the official said. The gist is to steer clear of using the word, tunnel, which implies a secretive process.What is obvious is that enough progress has been made to keep negotiating through the weekend with the aim of reaching a deal, instead of declaring talks dead today as Tusk said the plan was.Johnson Keeping Foster in Brexit Loop (12:30 p.m.)Boris Johnson has spoken to Arlene Foster, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, about his Brexit proposals, according to a U.K. official.His office is keeping the DUP informed of the status of talks, aware that the party’s support for any deal could be crucial to it passing though The House of Commons.Pound Optimism Continues as Banks Surge (11:55 a.m.)The pound is now headed for its biggest two-day rally since before the Brexit vote in June 2016. The latest step higher came after a European Commission spokeswoman labeled the talks “constructive” (see 11:20 a.m.).Its not just the currency where optimism is mounting. Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Lloyds Banking Group Plc are up more than 9 %.Barclay-Barnier Meeting ‘Constructive,’ EU Says (11:20 a.m.)The European Commission was tight-lipped about the outcome of Friday morning’s meeting between EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and U.K. Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay, with a spokeswoman saying only that the talks were “constructive.”“You can assume they exchanged ideas, discussed many different angles,” Mina Andreeva told reporters in Brussels. “If there’s a will then of course there’s a way, otherwise people wouldn’t be working on this.”A U.K. spokesman used the same word to describe the talks.Brexit Talks May Enter Tunnel, Varadkar Says (11 a.m.)U.K. and EU negotiators may now enter the so-called tunnel for Brexit talks, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar told reporters in Dublin.The focus is now on Brussels, he said, adding that he expects the U.K. will make more detailed proposals. The less said publicly about the talks the better, he said.DUP Lawmaker Warns on Stormont Veto (10.35 a.m.)Removing the so-called Stormont lock from any Brexit deal would leave Northern Ireland’s unionists “marooned,” Democratic Unionist Party lawmaker Jim Wells warned in an RTE radio interview.Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith’s suggestion that no one party in the region would have a veto through a vote in the Northern Ireland Assembly “does worry me,” Wells said, adding that “nothing will work unless unionism is signed up to it.”Acknowledging there had been a change of mood in the talks after Varadkar and Johnson’s meeting on Thursday, Wells, who is a member of the suspended Assembly, made clear that any plan which would force Northern Ireland to follow EU rules would be “unacceptable.”Pound Rises Again on Brexit Optimism (10:25 a.m.)The pound has surged 2.5% since Wednesday’s close, with traders jumping on the signs of Brexit optimism.It gained 0.6% to $1.2511 Friday, with Donald Tusk’s comments (see 10 a.m.) adding to the momentum. Deutsche Bank said Thursday evening it was no longer negative on the U.K. currency following a “pivotal moment” in Brexit talks.Options show sentiment on the pound over the next month is now the most positive since Bloomberg began compiling the data in 2003.Ireland: Detailed Talks Will Start (10:05 a.m.)While Thursday’s meeting between Johnson and Varadkar was positive, the “real detailed negotiation and technical work now will begin and that will be in Brussels,” Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said.Speaking on Newstalk radio, Donohoe pointed to the issue of allowing the region of Northern Ireland to give or withhold “consent” for any new customs system as a crucial area for discussion in the talks. There are differing views in the region on the issue, he said.EU’s Tusk Says ‘Promising’ Signals for a Deal (10 a.m.)EU Council President Donald Tusk gave some mixed messages over the chances of a Brexit deal, saying the U.K.’s proposals aren’t yet realistic but there are “promising signals.”“Unfortunately we are still in a situation in which the U.K. has not come forward with a workable, realistic proposal,” Tusk said in a televised statement in Cyprus. “A week ago I told Prime Minister Johnson that if there was no such proposal by today I would announce publicly there are no more chances” of a deal at next week’s summit of EU leaders.But Tusk said there was some positive news out of Thursday’s meeting between Johnson and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.“I have received promising signals from the Taoiseach that a deal is still possible,” he said. “Technical talks are taking place in Brussels as we speak. Of course there’s no guarantee of success and the time is practically up, but even the slightest chance must be used.”AB InBev Shelves U.K. Expansion On Brexit Fears (9:40 a.m.)Brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev SA put on hold plans to roughly double the size of its U.K. headquarters amid growing uncertainty over Brexit.The Belgian owner of Budweiser and Corona had been in talks to lease additional space in London’s Bureau building, where it already occupies the top four floors, two people with knowledge of the matter said.Fianna Fail Expects Talks to Resume (9.15 a.m.)The leader of Ireland’s main opposition party expects U.K. and EU negotiators to resume formal Brexit talks after Irish PM Leo Varadkar and U.K. leader Boris Johnson met on Thursday.Micheal Martin, who leads the Fianna Fail party, said he would be disappointed if talks don’t restart. “In good diplomacy there has to be accommodation and you can’t have one side losing face against the other,” he told RTE radio.Martin’s party is in a confidence and supply arrangement with the government, so is consulted on most major government decisions. He is likely to have been briefed on Thursday’s meeting.Barclay and Barnier Meet in Brussels (8:30 a.m.)U.K. Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay has arrived at the European Commission in Brussels for talks with the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier. The two will explore where things stand after Thursday’s meeting between the prime ministers of the U.K. and Ireland and discuss whether to restart more intensive talks.There’s no scheduled time for the meeting to end but Barnier is due to address EU ambassadors at 12:30 p.m. Brussels time.Earlier:Brexit Hopes Rise as U.K. and EU Take a Step Closer to a DealBoris Johnson’s Irish ’Pathway’ Is Full of Holes: Lionel LaurentImagine Brexit Heaven. It Isn’t Easy, I’ve Tried: John Authers\--With assistance from Tim Ross, Charlotte Ryan and Peter Flanagan.To contact the reporters on this story: Ian Wishart in Brussels at firstname.lastname@example.org;Nikos Chrysoloras in Brussels at email@example.com;Tiago Ramos Alfaro in London at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Flavia Krause-Jackson at email@example.com, Thomas Penny, Raymond ColittFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- After spending almost the whole year betting Brexit woes would weaken the pound, traders are now on red alert as the potential for a divorce deal sends sterling flying higher.The U.K. currency jumped the most over two days since 2009 after Thursday’s positive meeting between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Ireland’s Premier Leo Varadkar. That was followed by further supportive comments, before a recommendation that Britain and the European Union enter into line-by-line negotiations on a Brexit accord.Markets are taking these developments to be a game-changer. One-month options have never shown a stronger bias in favor of contracts to buy the pound, based on Bloomberg data going back to 2003. U.K. bank stocks surged along with domestically focused equities and government bonds sank for a third day.The “pivotal moment” of a meeting between the British and Irish leaders was enough to convince strategists at Deutsche Bank AG to terminate a recommendation to sell sterling. Further progress on talks before the end of the month would risk greater pain for traders betting against the currency, and also spell danger for holders of U.K. government bonds and FTSE 100 stocks.“We cannot recall a time during the Brexit process of the last year at which the Irish government raised expectations to this extent,” wrote Oliver Harvey and George Saravelos, strategists at Deutsche Bank, who forecast correctly in 2015 that the pound would drop to its weakest level since 1985 in the following years. “We are no longer negative on the pound.”The pound stormed higher after Varadkar and Johnson said Thursday they could see a pathway to a deal before the Brexit deadline of Oct. 31. While much uncertainty still remains, if Ireland -- one of the most important protagonists in talks -- sees a way forward, that could at the least help avoid a crash exit, the worst-case outcome for the U.K. economy and the pound.European Council President Donald Tusk said Friday he has received “promising signals” that a Brexit deal is possible. A meeting between the European Commission’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier and his British counterpart Stephen Barclay was also described by both sides as being “constructive.” Barnier recommended that detailed talks can begin in earnest.Risk reversals, a barometer of market sentiment and positioning, surged for options that benefit from a stronger sterling. And demand for pound calls, which give the right to buy the currency, outweighs that for puts at a 2:1 ratio since the Johnson-Varadkar meeting, according to data from the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation.It’s potentially bad news for hedge funds and asset managers, which were structurally short the U.K. currency, holding a net position close to record highs, according to U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data.The pound gained 1.9% to $1.2678 by 3:00 p.m. in London Friday, following a 1.9% jump on Thursday. U.K. government bonds fell, sending 10-year yields 11 basis points higher to 0.70% as a Brexit deal may bode well for the economy and inflation.The currency may rally even more should a lack of bad news between the negotiating parties begin to turn into materially good news, according to Nomura International Plc strategist Jordan Rochester. The bank is recommending investors short the euro versus sterling. The pound jumped 1.4% to 87.20 pence per euro, reaching its strongest level since May.The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index rose 0.5%, but underperformed a rally of nearly 2% for the STOXX Europe 600 Index as a stronger pound may dent earnings from abroad. Both Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Lloyds Banking Group Plc climbed more than 12%, rallying with homebuilders, domestically focused stocks on the FTSE 250 index, and Irish equities.Shorts WhackedInvestors remain more cautious on sterling’s longer-term prospects. A September fund manager survey from Bank of America showed the U.K. has been the least favored region by investors in terms of equity allocation globally. Thirty percent of fund managers said they were underweight U.K. stocks.While demand for options that look for a weaker pound has waned, the market is still biased in favor of downside protection. That may partly reflect the dollar’s allure amid global growth concerns and trade jitters. A further improvement in market sentiment could come from trade talks between the U.S. and China, and that in turn may see bets on a stronger pound gain additional traction.“Momentum feeds momentum in sterling,” said Lars Merklin, a strategist at Danske Bank A/S. “Without more details it is impossible to say this time is the big one where a deal gets done.”(Updates with Bank of America survey, Danske comment.)\--With assistance from Blaise Robinson.To contact the reporters on this story: Vassilis Karamanis in Athens at firstname.lastname@example.org;John Ainger in London at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Dobson at firstname.lastname@example.org, Neil ChatterjeeFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- British bank shares jumped amid optimism that a U.K. deal to leave the European Union would support domestic lenders.Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc rose as much as 16.4% on Friday, the biggest intraday rise since May 2010, and Lloyds Banking Group Plc gained as much as 12.5%, its largest increase since February 2016. Bonds of both firms rallied sharply, while Barclays Plc shares spiked as much as 7.2%.The surge came after European Council President Donald Tusk said he’d received “promising signals” that a Brexit deal is possible, following talks between U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar. The pound rose as much as 2%.British banks have repeatedly said they are ready for any Brexit scenario. Still, RBS Chairman Howard Davies has also said there is “considerable uncertainty and considerable nervousness” in the U.K. economy. Some lenders have taken provisions to prepare for an economic slowdown and a surge in bad loans in event of a departure from the EU without a deal, and RBS is unlikely to hit profitability targets next year.“Any deal is better than no deal,” said David Herro, chief investment officer for international equities at Harris Associates, which owns 2.86% of Lloyds shares and 2.05% of RBS. “Certainly Lloyds trades at a huge Brexit discount. And it’s the same thing for RBS.”Both banks’ shares trade below the levels seen before the EU referendum that set the course for Brexit in June 2016. RBS is also under pressure from the prospect of a new election, as Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour party, has considered halting disposals of the government’s majority stake.“Amid all the talk of a no-deal Brexit, the knee-jerk reaction to any sort of deal is positive,” Allan Monks at JPMorgan Chase & Co. said in a note to clients. “Many hurdles to a deal remain.”(Updates with share price move, adds analyst quotes.)To contact the reporter on this story: Stefania Spezzati in London at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ambereen Choudhury at firstname.lastname@example.org, Marion Dakers, Keith CampbellFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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(Bloomberg) -- Follow @Brexit, sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, and tell us your Brexit story. Boris Johnson will meet Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Thursday as the U.K. and European Union seek a breakthrough in stalled talks to reach a Brexit deal. EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier warned the two sides are in no position to reach an accord, but said that with "goodwill" there’s still the possibility of doing so. Johnson said he is "cautiously optimistic.”Johnson has also scheduled an emergency sitting of Parliament for Oct. 19, the day after he returns from a summit of EU leaders in Brussels. The crisis session will give MPs the chance to debate the way forward. A rare Saturday session in the House of Commons, it’s set to be fraught as politicians weigh their options: delaying Brexit, crashing out with no deal, or trying to bring down the government.Key Developments:Johnson and Varadkar to Meet in northwest England on ThursdayParliament to sit on Saturday Oct. 19 after crunch EU summit. Parliament has only met four times on a Saturday since 1939.Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay to hold talks with EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier on ThursdayBarnier: a deal is “very difficult, but possible”Johnson’s DUP allies reject mooted European compromise plan for Irish borderBrexit Talks Go On Hold as Leaders Focus on Pinning BlameJohnson Says He’s ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ (5:45 p.m.)Boris Johnson posted a campaign video on Twitter summing up his week so far, including announcements on hospitals and police, a reference to Extinction Rebellion protests in London and -- inevitably -- a reference to Brexit."We’ve been also negotiating with our friends and partners in the EU about Brexit,” Johnson said. “I’m still cautiously, cautiously optimistic."U.K. Banks to Help Companies With Brexit Loans (5:25 p.m.)U.K.’s banks signed up to a government-backed program designed to ensure small and medium-sized companies have access to the cash they need to prepare for Brexit.The government’s British Business Bank will make 1.3 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) available to lenders to enable them to help SMEs invest in capital, increase export capabilities and manage cash flow, the Business Department said in an emailed statement.The program was finalized at a meeting of the government’s Business Finance Council, co-chaired by Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom and Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen. Banks signed up include Barclays, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds and Santander.Johnson and Varadkar to Meet On Thursday (5:05 p.m.)The British and Irish leaders will meet over lunchtime on Thursday for what looks likely to be a make-or-break conversation for the chances of getting a Brexit deal by the Oct. 31 deadline. Boris Johnson is hosting Leo Varadkar in northwestern England for the private talks, along with members of their senior teams, according to statements released by both sides."This will be a private meeting to allow both leaders and their teams to have detailed discussions about the process for securing agreement for a Brexit deal," the Irish government said in a statement.Barnier Aims For Moral High Ground (4:50 p.m.)The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator distanced himself from some of the more inflammatory rhetoric that emerged on Tuesday, saying the bloc would remain “calm, vigilant, constructive and respectful of the United Kingdom and those who govern it.”Michel Barnier told European lawmakers that while the two sides were still far apart, there was the possibility of an agreement -- as long as there’s “goodwill.” But, with negotiations at an impasse, he didn’t show any sign that the EU is ready to give ground.He spelled out some of the more serious issues of disagreement, describing Brexit as “something that’s long-term” and “creating specific serious problems, first and foremost for Ireland.”The biggest area of dispute relates to customs arrangements on the Irish border. Barnier rejected the U.K.’s bid to work those out during a post-Brexit transition period because if that didn’t end up happening it would lead to “no checks whatsoever,” which would damage the EU’s single market.He also criticized the U.K.’s plan to give the Northern Ireland assembly a veto over the deal and the government’s request to remove the so-called level playing field commitments, agreed by Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May -- which would prevent the U.K. undercutting the EU on issues such as taxation, environmental standards and social protection. That was about “a basic sense of fairness and loyalty,” he said.Barnier: No Position at Moment to Get Brexit Deal ( 4:15 p.m.)EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told the European Parliament that “time is pressing” to get a Brexit deal, but the sides aren’t in a position to reach an agreement yet.Among disagreements is the issue of customs checks on the Irish border, he says. “We need to have proper rigorous checks all along our external border,” he said.EU’s Juncker Says Don’t Blame EU (4:00 p.m.)EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says he doesn’t “exclude a deal” on Brexit.“We are not accepting this blame game which started in London -- we are not to be blamed,” he told the European Parliament in Brussels.Ireland Holds Out For Brexit Solution (2 p.m.)Ireland needs a solution to the border with Northern Ireland that “can be sustained into the future” after Brexit, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said in a Bloomberg TV interview in Dublin. Ireland still requires a deal that preserves “the principles behind the backstop,” he said.Any proposal to seek the consent of Northern Ireland tied must “respect the role” of the two communities of Northern Ireland, Donohoe added. The U.K. plan in its current form could give an effective veto to just one political party in the region.Merkel Not Breaking Code of Silence (1:30 p.m.)Angela Merkel’s chief spokesman, Steffen Seibert, kept getting pressed about the now-famous morning phone call. The U.K. side have given their take on it but Germans are not, but one can try and read between the lines.Here is what he said to reporters in Berlin:“We have no new position on Brexit, neither the chancellor nor the government. This is what we’ve always said. The government will work to find a solution until the last possible moment, so that we can have an orderly U.K. exit out of the EU and avoid the scenario of a no-deal or disorderly exit, because that is the worst-case scenario for all involved.”Asked more pointedly whether the chancellor said what the British press (or Downing Street) said she said: “A private conversation is a private conversation.” He went on to say, again, that Germany’s position hasn’t changed.Barnier: Deal Is ‘Difficult But Possible’ (12:15 p.m.)Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, said a deal with the U.K. is “very difficult but possible” as he prepared to meet with Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay on Thursday.“The EU will remain calm, vigilant, respectful and constructive. The technical talks continue and I’m invited for working lunch with Steve Barclay tomorrow,” Barnier told reporters on Wednesday. “I think a deal is possible, very difficult but possible.”Irish Backstop Can’t Have time limit, EU Says (12 p.m.)EU Budget Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said he and his European Commission colleagues had discussed Brexit and all agreed the latest British proposal was inadequate. The Irish backstop can’t have a time limit, Oettinger told reporters in Brussels.Boris Johnson Has a Plan B for Brexit If the EU Rejects His DealReported EU Plan Non-Runner, DUP Says (11:35 a.m.)The DUP moved quickly to kill off a reported move by the EU to break the deadlock by giving the Northern Ireland Assembly a say over how long EU customs rules last (see 11:20 a.m.). Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson said this would allow Sinn Fein keep the region bound to the EU indefinitely.“This is worse than Mrs May’s deal, which at least contained the pretense of these arrangements only being used as an insurance policy,” he said in a statement. “This proposal confirms the intended permanency of keeping Northern Ireland in the EU and removing us from the United Kingdom.”Scottish Court Delays Decision on Extension (11:25 a.m.)Scottish judges held off intervening in the Brexit furor by postponing a decision on whether they need to commit to sending a letter requesting an extension, giving Boris Johnson a temporary legal victory.The judges ruled that Johnson hadn’t acted unlawfully but left the door open to a new case if he fails to reach a deal with the EU and refuses to request an extension by Oct. 19, as he would be required to by law. Under a power peculiar to Scottish law, known as nobile officium, Scottish courts can intervene in any way they see fit to fix an outcome.At the hearing in Edinburgh, Johnson’s lawyers promised he will obey the law and request an extension from the EU, while also arguing that there’s nothing to stop the prime minister continuing to say he intends to leave on Oct. 31.Potential Backstop Offer Floated (11:20 a.m.)The EU may be willing to make a major concession to Boris Johnson over the Irish border by giving the Northern Ireland Assembly a say over how long EU customs rules last in the province, the Times newspaper reported.In an attempt to break the deadlock, the bloc is dangling the prospect of the assembly in Belfast being able to pull Northern Ireland out of the so-called backstop mechanism, aimed at preventing a hard Irish border, but it would need to vote at some point after a few years with a double majority, an EU official said.This would mean it would need to be approved by both nationalist and unionist politicians, something that was immediately rejected by Sammy Wilson, Brexit spokesman for the DUP. Sinn Fein also appeared to reject the idea.It would also need Johnson to agree to keep Northern Ireland in the EU’s customs union until then, and possibly forever, something he’s said he’s not willing to do.The idea is not an official EU position and would need the approval of the Irish government, but officials say it is seen as a potential compromise and that has been made clear to U.K. negotiators. Bloomberg reported last week that the EU was considering offering to time-limit the backstop linked to the assembly’s consent.Barclay and Barnier to Meet on Thursday (11 a.m.)Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay will travel to Brussels for talks with European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Thursday.The meeting is being seen as a stock-take, rather than an indication of a breakthrough -- or breakdown -- in negotiations, according to British officials.Parliament Set For Emergency Saturday Sitting (Earlier)MPs will sit in emergency session in London on Saturday Oct. 19, just 12 days before Britain is set to leave the EU, the day after a crunch summit of EU leaders in Brussels.If Boris Johnson strikes a deal with the EU, it will be a chance for politicians to vote on it, but if he doesn’t, it could also present an opportunity for the premier to ask Parliament to sanction a no-deal Brexit.Parliament has already passed a law requiring Johnson to ask for an extension to negotiations if no deal is reached by Oct. 19, but he could use the debate as an opportunity to set out ways he plans to get around the so-called Benn Act and deliver on his promise leave the EU on Oct. 31.It will be the first time the House of Commons has met at a weekend since 1982, when MPs debated the Falklands War.Denmark Increases Support for SMEs (Earlier)Just two days after Boris Johnson called Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen to discuss Brexit, the Business Ministry in Copenhagen announced it is spending an extra 50 million kroner ($7.4 million) to help the country’s small and medium-sized companies deal with the fallout from the U.K.’s departure from the EU.“A no-deal Brexit continues to be a high-risk scenario and that’s why we need to step up preparations,” Business Minister Simon Kollerup told reporters. “Denmark will be hit really hard by a no-deal Brexit, especially if we are not prepared enough.”Earlier:Brexit Talks Go On Hold as Leaders Focus on Pinning BlameBanks Warned Over Failure to Move Employees in Time for BrexitBOE Warns U.K. May Face Economic Turmoil in No-Deal Brexit\--With assistance from Morten Buttler, Kitty Donaldson, Patrick Donahue, Anna Edwards, Jonathan Stearns, Rodney Jefferson and Dara Doyle.To contact the reporters on this story: Tim Ross in London at email@example.com;Ian Wishart in Brussels at firstname.lastname@example.org;Alex Morales in London at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org, Thomas PennyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
We wouldn't blame Lloyds Banking Group plc (LON:LLOY) shareholders if they were a little worried about the fact that...
The threat of a no-deal Brexit has sent profits and sentiment in Britain's financial services falling at their fastest pace since the global financial crash a decade ago, a CBI/PwC survey showed on Tuesday. The latest quarterly survey by the CBI, a business trade body and consultants PwC, said that in the three months to Sept. 30, the level of business activity at banks fell at its fastest pace in 28 years. Banking, insurance and investment funds bring in billions of pounds in tax revenues for the British economy, but direct access from London to its most important market, the European Union, could be blocked if there is a no-deal Brexit on October 31.