Today’s Markets: Omicron fears weigh on stocks, oil.

FTSE falls as Omicron concerns grow

The increasingly dark background music around the scale of the Omicron infection wave across the UK hit sentiment hard as the stock market’s last week before the Christmas holidays began. The FTSE100 lost more than 2% in morning trading as all other major UK indices followed suit, although most regained some of their losses at midday only to trade around 1% lower.

Unsurprisingly, the companies with the most to lose due to growing restrictions on populations across Europe were among the biggest slaughterers, such as International Consolidated Airlines, Rolls Royce and Whitbread among the biggest slaughterers, only Royal Mail and Ocado attracting positive support. Excluding equities, oil fell around 3% on fears of a longer-term effect of Omicron on the global economy.

Despite the lack of firm government guidelines on restricting social contact, UK consumers have already taken it upon themselves to go out of business as Christmas approaches, with restaurants and pubs reporting large-scale cancellation of reservations and the Retailer footfall is said to be 19 percent below pre-pandemic levels over the past week.

Rio Tinto Hires Canadian Ambassador to China as President

Iron ore giant Rio tinto (RIO) initially rejected the Australian government’s demands for a Director General at the antipodes when Jean-Sébastien Jacques replaced last year and has now chosen Canada’s Ambassador to China as their new president. Dominic Barton resigned the post earlier this month after spending years lobbying for the release of the “Two Michaels,” Canadian academics arrested in China in retaliation for the arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer.

Barton, who spent years at McKinsey before taking on the role of China, will succeed Britain’s Simon Thompson. The outgoing president announced his departure earlier this year, saying he was “ultimately responsible for the failures that led to the tragic events at Juukan Gorge”.

The destruction of a sacred aboriginal site in Western Australia in 2020 will likely define his rise to the top, as it also led to Jacques’ resignation, while his tenure also included struggles at the underground copper mine in Oyu Tolgoi. in Mongolia and, on the bright side, record dividends as iron ore and copper prices have soared this year.

Barton has said he wants to return to the private sector at a time of change. “I look forward to working with Jakob and the Board of Directors to implement a strategy that places decarbonization at the heart of the business and positions Rio Tinto as a leader in solving complex global problems, while establishing and by maintaining trust with the host communities, ”he said. . Ah

Employees join Wetherspoon board of directors

In a surprisingly egalitarian approach, JD Wetherspoon (JDW) has appointed four frontline employees to its board of directors.

The group received over 100 nominations after deciding they would benefit from a more hands-on advertising experience at the board level. He ultimately chose two regional managers, an area manager and a pub manager to fill the roles.

From December 20, two of the recruits will have full director status and two will act as associate employee directors for an initial term of three years.

President Tim Martin said employee directors “will help preserve the culture of the company for the future”. He added that a successful advertising business “depends primarily on incremental improvements, based on employee suggestions.”

While campaigning for Prime Minister in 2016, Theresa May pledged to give worker representation on UK business boards. She argued that because non-executive directors are “drawn from the same close social and professional circles as the management team”, the scrutiny they offer is “just not enough”. However, May then backtracked and the reforms were never implemented.

Some argue that forcing companies to appoint workers’ representatives to boards would undermine shareholder interests, as job protection would take priority over performance. JS

Rolls-Royce confirms Qatari investment in nuclear consortium

Rolls Royce (RR) announced that the consortium he is leading to build a series of small nuclear reactors across the UK has secured investments from Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.

The Qatar Investment Authority is investing £ 85million for a 10% stake in Rolls-Royce SMR, a consortium that also includes BNF Resources and Exelon Generation. The consortium has now secured £ 495million in equity and grants, including a £ 210million infusion of government funding last month.

He is developing plans to build small modular reactors about a tenth the size of a conventional nuclear power plant, which will each generate around 470 megawatts. This equates to around 150 terrestrial turbines and is enough to power a million homes.

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the consortium will help the UK strengthen its energy independence.

S&P Global said last week that Europe urgently needs to find ways to replace its aging fleet of nuclear reactors. Nuclear power generation in Western Europe is expected to decline by 11% by 2030 and 27% by 2040. Small modular reactors offer nuclear a role in Europe’s energy deal “if they are” are technically viable, economical and acceptable from a regulatory point of view, ”according to the rating agency’s report.

Despite the announcement, Rolls-Royce shares fell 4% on Monday as market fears grew over the potential disruption to the global economy from the Omicron coronavirus variant. MF.

Float Car Parts Maker Set

Portsmouth-based auto parts maker CT Automotive said it has secured £ 33.6million from investors in an initial public offering scheduled to take place this week. The company’s shares will be floated on the alternative investment market on Thursday.

CT Automotive sold nearly 22.9 million shares at 147p per share. It floats a 45% stake in the company in a deal that gives it a market capitalization of £ 75million.

The proceeds will be used to repay the debt.

CT Automotive manufactures interior panels and other parts such as armrests and cup holders for end customers, including mass manufacturers like Ford and Nissan as well as luxury brands Bentley and Lamborghini. The company has two factories in China and other manufacturing branches in Turkey, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom. MF

* The merchant is taking a Christmas break and will be back the week of January 4th “

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