Good morning. We’ll find out later today whether the UK economy expanded in the three months to the end of September, as third quarter GDP numbers are published.
Economists are anticipating a 0.4pc increase, rebounding from the 0.2pc contraction in the second quarter, with the UK’s dominant services sector expected to be the main driver of growth.
5 things to start your day
1) Tech giant Prosus is warning Just Eat investors that it will walk away from its pursuit of the delivery company if they back a rival plan to merge with Takeaway.com: Prosus gatecrashed Just Eat’s marriage with Takeaway.com at the end of last month. Despite being armed with a €20bn (£17bn) war chest, boss Bob van Dijk is telling Just Eat shareholders that Prosus is not interested in buying both and would walk away if they pursue the Takeaway.com deal.
2) Energy sector woes ‘just tip of the iceberg’ as 28 suppliers go under: At least 28 electricity companies have gone bust since the start of 2018, a substantially higher number than previously thought, as rising wholesale costs and renewable power commitments squeeze smaller suppliers. And now, experts say, a “single insolvency can potentially push multiple wholesalers into financial difficulty, or even collapse”.
3) A wintry washout dealt a fresh blow to Britain’s retailers, putting off would-be shoppers from venturing out on to the high street last month: Footfall fell 3.2pc compared with last year – the largest drop in October for seven years, according to figures released today.
4) A lack of new homes is hampering plans to create innovative technology clusters between Cambridge and Oxford, research has found: One million new jobs could be created in industries including cybersecurity and biotechnology across the so-called Oxford-Cambridge arc, Savills said – but first, land for 680,000 homes needed to be found, as well as 9.6m sq feet of office space, and 69m sq feet of warehouse space.
5) More than 200,000 employees at major companies including Ikea, Aviva and Nationwide are in line for a pay rise after campaigners announced a rise in the voluntary UK Living Wage today: The new rate comes as major political parties make low-pay a key battleground in the general election.
What happened overnight
Asian markets turned lower on Monday as another record close on Wall Street was overshadowed by uncertainty over the China-US trade talks, while Hong Kong was also hit by fresh protests in which at least one person was shot.
Expectations Beijing and Washington will agree a mini pact have fuelled an stock market rally for the past few weeks. Hopes were given an added boost Thursday after China said the two sides had agreed to roll back some tariffs as the negotiations progress.
But the US side sent out some confusing signals after that announcement, before Donald Trump denied such an agreement, leaving investors scratching their heads.
Still, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro provided a lift to sentiment, saying Trump could postpone tariffs on Chinese goods scheduled to take effect in December. The S&P 500 and Dow both ended at fresh all-time highs.
However, Asian investors were unable to extend the winning streak.
Tokyo went into the break 0.2pc lower and Singapore shed 0.4pc with Seoul, Taipei and Manila also lower.
Shanghai dropped 0.9pc, with traders keeping tabs on Alibaba’s annual “Singles’ Day” shopping frenzy, the world’s biggest 24-hour shopping event, which acts as a gauge of the country’s consumer spending.
Total gross merchandise volume settled through the company’s payments platform Alipay hit 100 billion yuan ($14.3 billion) within 63 minutes and 59 seconds, according to Alibaba – 43 minutes ahead of last year’s pace. The firm said the first $1bn was spent in just 68 seconds.
Hong Kong sank more than 2pc as the city was gripped by another wave of protests that have jammed up the transport network and led to the closure of several businesses.
At least one person was hurt after a policemen fired several shots are demonstrators, as the five-month-long unrest – which has battered the city’s image and dragged on the economy – shows no sign of letting up.
Tensions have soared in recent days following the death on Friday of a 22-year-old student who succumbed to injuries sustained from a fall in the vicinity of a police clearance operation a week earlier.
On currency markets the pound struggled to bounce back after suffering a sell-off Friday in reaction to news that Moody’s had downgraded the outlook for Britain’s debt, citing mounting policy challenges as the Brexit saga rumbles along.
Coming up today
Full-year results: Carrs Group
Trading statements: Dignity
Economics: Third quarter GDP figures (UK), Industrial production (UK), Manufacturing production (UK)