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2021-06-21

¡¡¡¡Airbus

¡¡¡¡Airbus?handed over?50 jets to customers in May, five more than in April to take?it?closer to a planned recovery from the?pandemic. It totaled seven orders and three cancellations.

¡¡¡¡Boss?Guillaume Faury announced last month that the European planemaker?is planning to gear up production of the best selling A320-series jets beyond 2019 levels within two years.

¡¡¡¡It has delivered 220 aircrafts so far this year, compared to 160 for the same period in 2020.

¡¡¡¡US?rival Boeing?will report its?figures tomorrow. It has outpaced Airbus on orders net of cancellations so far this year, but fresh problems with the 737 Max aircraft means it is lagging behind on deliveries, a key predictor of cash flow.

¡¡¡¡5:17PM

¡¡¡¡Fraud investigators have seized ¡ê248,000 from a criminal network which set up a fake customer account using an address for a cow shed.?

¡¡¡¡My colleague Simon Foy reports:

¡¡¡¡The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said the account was linked to the criminal gains of Virendra Rastogi, a former director of RBG Resources convicted in the UK of running an international metal trading scam which cost banks around the world $700m (¡ê494m).

¡¡¡¡The agency¡¯s investigation found that the company¡¯s supposed customers did not exist, showing that one customer address was actually a cow shed while several allegedly independent customers had the same address.?

¡¡¡¡Mr Rastogi, who once appeared in the Sunday Times¡¯s rich list, devised the plan alongside two other RBG Resources directors. The scheme fabricated customers and metal trades to secure billions of dollars in funding from banks.?

¡¡¡¡They created over 300 fake customers in the US, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, India, France and Italy, which they used to create fictitious metal trades to secure cash advances from banks.?

¡¡¡¡Three of Mr Rastogi¡¯s brothers participated in the fraud from the US, the United Arab Emirates, and Singapore, helping to devise and deliver the scheme, the SFO said.?The three RBG directors were found guilty of conspiracy to defraud in April 2008 and were sentenced to between seven and a half years and nine and a half years in prison.

¡¡¡¡The SFO was able to secure the ¡ê248,000 through new account forfeiture powers that were first used in 2019. The money will now be returned to the public purse.

¡¡¡¡4:44PM

¡¡¡¡BT Group shares have surged to near the top of the FTSE100 today, up more than 4pc,?after investment banking company Jefferies raised its price target to 260p per share.

¡¡¡¡Travel stocks IAG (up 3pc) and Rolls Royce (2.7pc) were also boosted by airlines?Delta, United and American Airlines?issuing?a joint plea for transatlantic travel to resume after both countries’?vaccination progress.?

¡¡¡¡Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC markets UK, said: “It¡¯s been a relatively subdued session for European markets today with the DAX posting yet another notional record high, while the FTSE100 looks to be on course for a positive session, despite weakness in mining stocks which is acting as a drag, due to disappointment over the latest China trade numbers.”

¡¡¡¡4:30PM

¡¡¡¡The cost of a key HS2 station in Birmingham has ballooned by ¡ê100m before builders have even submitted bids to win the lucrative tender, reports Oliver Gill.?

¡¡¡¡He writes:?

¡¡¡¡The Birmingham Interchange Station, the penultimate stop on the new high-speed link before Birmingham, was originally expected to cost ¡ê270m.

¡¡¡¡However, having spoken to construction firms, HS2 says it will now cost ¡ê370m.

¡¡¡¡The Midlands rail station is expected to open in 2026 and is being dubbed by engineers one of the world¡¯s most sustainable railway stations.

¡¡¡¡It will boast driverless trains that ferry more than 2,000 people an hour to Birmingham Airport, the National Exhibition Centre, and the nearby international rail station. Services will run along a 2.3km route every three minutes across a new viaduct that is up to 12 metres above the ground.

¡¡¡¡Read his full story here.?

¡¡¡¡4:07PM

¡¡¡¡MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor?

¡¡¡¡MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor?

¡¡¡¡Credit:

¡¡¡¡Joe Raedle?/Getty Images North America?

¡¡¡¡Software company MicroStrategy?is borrowing $400m to buy more Bitcoin while also writing down the value of its existing holdings. It¡¯s the first-ever junk bond sale used for financing purchases of the volatile cryptocurrency.

¡¡¡¡Bloomberg reports:?

¡¡¡¡The Tysons Corner, Virginia-based enterprise software company said in a filing Monday that the senior secured notes will be available to qualified institutional buyers. The private placement is $23m higher than the company¡¯s entire operating cash flow since 2016, according to Bloomberg data. MicroStrategy, in a separate filing, said that it¡¯s taking a roughly $284.5m charge during its next earnings report thanks to losses related to fluctuations in the price of the digital asset. That amounts to more than its cumulative earnings since 2011.

¡¡¡¡MicroStrategy has, with Michael Saylor at its helm, emerged as one of the most bullish public companies on cryptocurrencies. It has already issued convertible bonds worth around $1 billion in its quest to scoop up more of the coins. Saylor¡¯s focus on Bitcoin, including making it an official corporate strategy, has drawn the ire of critics.

¡¡¡¡¡°The $400m in debt isn¡¯t being used to fund an acquisition or growth. It¡¯s being used to speculate on a volatile asset,¡± said Marc Lichtenfeld, chief income strategist at the Oxford Club. ¡°Does MicroStrategy even have a business anymore or is it simply a proxy for Bitcoin — with borrowed money?¡±

¡¡¡¡In mid-May, the MicroStrategy disclosed that it holds approximately 92,079 Bitcoins, which it says were acquired for about $2.25bn at an average of about $24,450 per token. Monday¡¯s filing shows the company¡¯s existing cache of Bitcoins will be held by a newly formed subsidiary called MacroStrategy LLC.

¡¡¡¡3:52PM

¡¡¡¡Heavyweight technology stocks shrugged off a deal reached over the weekend to introduce?a global minimum corporate tax?of at least 15pc which targeted multinational technology companies such as Amazon and Google.

¡¡¡¡Shares of Apple, Amazon, Facebook Inc and Google-parent Alphabet Inc opened flat or slightly lower, in line with the broader market’s move.?The technology-heavy Nasdaq index declined less than 0.1pc.

¡¡¡¡Analysts say market ramifications still depend on details that need to be ironed out over the coming months.

¡¡¡¡”While it all sounds good, the road to implementation (of the tax deal) is full of rocks and potholes,” Ken Polcari, managing partner at Kace Capital Advisors told Reuters.

¡¡¡¡”I would not react by becoming a seller in any of these names on this headline just yet.”

¡¡¡¡3:31PM

¡¡¡¡Richard Branson has congratulated fellow space entrepreneur Jeff Bezos on Twitter, after the Amazon ?founder?announced he would be travelling into space next month on a test flight launched by his space tourism company Blue Origin.?

¡¡¡¡Read more about Bezos’ plans to launch into space here.?

¡¡¡¡Many congratulations to @JeffBezos & his brother Mark on announcing spaceflight plans. Jeff started building @blueorigin in 2000, we started building @virgingalactic in 2004 & now both are opening up access to Space – how extraordinary! Watch this space¡­

¡¡¡¡¡ª Richard Branson (@richardbranson) June 7, 2021

¡¡¡¡3:26PM

¡¡¡¡My colleague Tim Wallace reports on the latest central bank warning about digital currencies:

¡¡¡¡A large-scale shift to digital currencies could risk undermining Britain’s banks, potentially forcing regulators to step in and limit the scale or speed of any move, the Bank of England has warned.

¡¡¡¡If a central bank-issued digital currency or a private sector ¡°stable coin¡± tied to sterling proved to be popular with households, they could take money out of commercial banks and move it into the new digital currency instead.

¡¡¡¡As a result, those lenders may have to find ways to cope without so many customer deposits.

¡¡¡¡¡°Commercial banks have never faced a large-scale, system-wide displacement of the deposits they create,¡± the Bank of England said.

¡¡¡¡¡°Uncertainty around demand for new forms of digital money is why the Bank is considering the need for limits to manage the transition period as they emerge.¡±

¡¡¡¡Read his full story here.?

¡¡¡¡3:09PM

¡¡¡¡Foxtons is facing an investor revolt after Hosking Partners, which owns 11.2 per cent of the business, called for ¡°board-level change¡±, citing concern about the estate agent’s share price which has fallen from 94p per share pre-pandemic to 59p now.?

¡¡¡¡Jeremy Hosking, the boss of Foxtons¡¯ biggest investor, wrote to chairman Ian Barlow to outline his dissatisfaction, the Times first reported.

¡¡¡¡Hosking was also reportedly unhappy with bonuses received by chief executive Nic Budden, after the company took ¡ê7m in government support.?

¡¡¡¡2:53PM

¡¡¡¡Consumer groups have issued a fresh warning about buy-now-pay-later services after online payments business Klarna announced plans to extend interest-free shopping to UK customers across all online retailers, reports Simon Foy.

¡¡¡¡Europe¡¯s most valuable start-up said it will allow shoppers in the UK to use its service for any online order, regardless of whether it has a partnership with the retailer.?

¡¡¡¡However, critics argue that its buy-now-pay-later model encourages young people to spend beyond their means and have likened its business model to that of a payday lender.?

¡¡¡¡Dame Clare Moriarty, chief executive of Citizens Advice, a consumer charity, said: ¡°Buy-now-pay-later borrowing can be easy to unwittingly slip into and much more difficult to get out of. We found a quarter of people who used a buy-now-pay-later firm in the last 12 months regretted it.

¡¡¡¡¡°While it can work for some people, it can also have serious consequences including debt collectors chasing repayments. It’s essential people know what they’re signing up for and are properly protected.”

¡¡¡¡In April, the group warned that such products can be a “slippery slope into debt” and called for greater regulation.

¡¡¡¡2:45PM

¡¡¡¡Wall Street opened flat today as traders awaited key inflation data coming later this week

¡¡¡¡Wall Street opened flat today as traders awaited key inflation data coming later this week

¡¡¡¡Credit:

¡¡¡¡Carlo Allegri/Reuters

¡¡¡¡Wall Street’s main indexes opened unchanged on Monday as investors?opted to tread cautiously ahead?of key inflation data due out later this week, while heavyweight technology shares largely shrugged off the G7’s decision to agree a minimum corporate tax rate.

¡¡¡¡The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.03pc at the open to 34766.2 while the?S&P 500 fell 0.01pc and the Nasdaq inched 0.08pc lower at the opening bell.

¡¡¡¡Despite the world’s richest nations’ support for a global rate of 15pc tax on the world’s biggest companies, shares of Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook fell by less than 1pc.

¡¡¡¡”While it all sounds good, the road to implementation (of the tax deal) is full of rocks and potholes,” said Ken Polcari, managing partner at Kace Capital Advisors. “I would not react by becoming a seller in any of these names on this headline just yet.”

¡¡¡¡2:36PM

¡¡¡¡Nigeria has ordered broadcasters to stop using Twitter as a source of information after the government?banned the platform indefinitely over the weekend following its removal of a tweet deemed abusive by?President Muhammadu Buhari.

¡¡¡¡Now the country’s media regulator has begun drafting new rules that will require Twitter to have a licence to operate, Bloomberg reports:

¡¡¡¡The National Broadcasting Commission ordered all broadcasters to suspend ¡°patronage of Twitter immediately¡± and stop using the social media company as a ¡°source of information gathering for news and programs,¡± according to a statement published on Facebook on Monday.

¡¡¡¡¡°It will be unpatriotic for any broadcaster in Nigeria to continue to patronize the suspended Twitter as a source of its information, therefore strict compliance is enjoined,¡± the NBC said. The media regulator’s Twitter handle was still active, with almost 25,000 followers, at 14:00 on Monday.

¡¡¡¡2:26PM

¡¡¡¡Janet Yellen argued higher interest rates could be a plus for the US economy

¡¡¡¡Janet Yellen argued higher interest rates could be a plus for the US economy

¡¡¡¡Credit:

¡¡¡¡REUTERS?

¡¡¡¡Coming back to markets and global stocks are still largely on the rise after US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen sought to downplay concerns over steeper?interest rates if inflation continues to climb.

¡¡¡¡US?equity-index futures fluctuated as investors?weighed the risk of rising inflation and the potential fallout of a minimum corporate tax that could enable foreign governments to impose levies on US giants.

¡¡¡¡Futures on the S&P 500 and Dow pushed higher?after reversing earlier losses, while the Nasdaq looked flat pre-open. Ten-year US Treasury yields rose two basis points after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Sunday a slightly higher interest-rate environment would be a plus.

¡¡¡¡Yellen told Bloomberg News that US President Joe Biden should push ahead with his $4 trillion recovery plan for the world’s top economy even if it triggers high inflation that leads to interest rate rises.

¡¡¡¡And she argued higher rates could prove to be a plus for the economy, saying:?”If we ended up with a slightly higher interest rate environment, it would actually be a plus for society’s point of view and the Fed’s point of view.

¡¡¡¡”We’ve been fighting inflation that’s too low and interest rates that are too low now for a decade.”

¡¡¡¡?

¡¡¡¡1:59PM

¡¡¡¡British consumer sentiment rose last month to a five-year high, bolstered by expectations of greater job security and rising house prices, according to new figures published today by YouGove and Cebr.?

¡¡¡¡Britain¡¯s consumer confidence index improved by 3.1 points to 113.6 in May, as travel resumed and pubs, restaurants and galleries welcomed guests indoors. Any score above 100 means more consumers are confident than not.

¡¡¡¡Optimism about job security and house prices are the biggest factors in the positive uptick, said polling company YouGov.?

¡¡¡¡When asked how secure their employment will be over the next 12 months, workers’ confidence rose by 5.1 points to an all-time high of 118.9.?

¡¡¡¡Darren Yaxley, Director of Reputation Research at YouGov, said:

¡¡¡¡YouGov/Cebr¡¯s May index paints another picture of growing confidence in the post-COVID recovery, with the index increasing to its highest level since May 2016. The growth is yet again driven by confidence in house value as property prices climb to a seven year high, but is also supplemented by huge increases in optimism for job security over the coming twelve months likely due to labour shortages.

¡¡¡¡With not a single metric decreasing this month, business activity for the past 30 days and outlook for household finances over the next 12 months are the only metrics to show little change. Despite this the metrics are still firmly in the positive showing more Britons are feeling confident than not.

¡¡¡¡Consumer confidence has hit a five-year high of 113.6, our latest analysis with @Cebr_uk showshttps://t.co/HIlPWYgbRI pic.twitter.com/AP1wx7D90X

¡¡¡¡¡ª YouGov (@YouGov) June 7, 2021

¡¡¡¡1:50PM

¡¡¡¡Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers

¡¡¡¡Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers

¡¡¡¡Credit:

¡¡¡¡Eddie Mulholland?/Telegraph

¡¡¡¡De Beers has raised some rough-diamond prices by about 10pc, as the world¡¯s top producer cashes in on rampant demand from cutters and polishers.

¡¡¡¡Bloomberg reports:?

¡¡¡¡The diamond industry roared back to life in the past six months, after stalling at the start of the pandemic last year. Cutting centers in India and Antwerp have been replenishing supplies after they¡¯d been unable to buy during the worst of the crisis. At the same time, demand jumped amid surprisingly good festive sales.

¡¡¡¡That¡¯s created an opportunity for the biggest producers to rapidly escalate prices. De Beers has been increasing since the end of last year and was already back to pre-coronavirus levels. It sold more than $1.6bn (¡ê1.1bn)?in rough gems in its first three sales of 2021, the most since 2018.

¡¡¡¡The increase at this week¡¯s sale is unusually sharp for De Beers. The miner this week increased the prices for some rough diamonds bigger than 2 carats by about 10pc, with other expensive goods rising in high single digits, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.

¡¡¡¡1:37PM

¡¡¡¡Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Guy Ryder

¡¡¡¡Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Guy Ryder

¡¡¡¡Credit:

¡¡¡¡REUTERS?/DENIS BALIBOUSE?

¡¡¡¡The head of the International Labour Organisation said the impact of the pandemic on global employment will be?worse than that of the 2008 financial crisis.

¡¡¡¡Speaking at the opening of the ILO’s two-week ministerial conference, director-general Guy Ryder said: “The impact has been devastating, cataclysmic.”

¡¡¡¡He added: “Taken as a whole this represents a world of work crisis four times as severe as the one triggered by the financial crisis of 2008-2009.”

¡¡¡¡The United Nations agency last week said it expected at least 220m people to remain unemployed globally this year and that pandemic-linked job losses would not recover?until at least 2023.

¡¡¡¡”As we increasingly look to the recovery process with some economies growing quickly, very quickly and jobs now being created at great speed, I think we need to be conscious about just how uneven recovery will be if continues on its current trajectory,” Ryder said.?

¡¡¡¡1:22PM

¡¡¡¡Luxembourgish steel giant?ArcelorMittal is seeking EU approval?after bidding to buy French steel assets from beleaguered British businessman Sanjeev Gupta.

¡¡¡¡The company is planning to buy the majority of the shares in Liberty Steel France Holding SAS, which owns the Ascoval and Hayange plants, according to European Commission documents.

¡¡¡¡Gupta has been struggling to refinance his metals empire after the collapse of Greensill Capital, its biggest lender.

¡¡¡¡A spokesperson for ArcelorMittal confirmed it had bid for the assets and said it planned to invest in them.

¡¡¡¡A spokesperson for Liberty Steel, GFG¡¯s steel arm, said it was taking ¡°prudent steps to explore sale options for these businesses¡± after they faced ¡°a significant reduction in working capital support since the collapse of Greensill Capital.¡±

¡¡¡¡The EU has not given a deal fast-track ¡°simplified¡± status that would allow for a quick approval. The deadline for ruling on the deal is July 9.

¡¡¡¡Liberty Steel timeline

¡¡¡¡1:09PM

¡¡¡¡Liz Truss, the International Trade Secretary?

¡¡¡¡Liz Truss, the International Trade Secretary?

¡¡¡¡Credit:

¡¡¡¡Geoff Pugh?/The Telegraph

¡¡¡¡Ministers are beefing up efforts to protect the interests of British farmers in future trade deals, reports Russell Lynch.?

¡¡¡¡The Department for International Trade is setting up a new Trade and Agriculture Commission to pore over the text of agreements to highlight any potential weakening of agricultural standards.?

¡¡¡¡The TAC¡¯s first job is expected to be to scrutinise the final details of the UK¡¯s new trade deal with Australia – already the subject of a heated Westminster row over ¡°selling out¡± UK farmers – as well as all future deals.?

¡¡¡¡The DIT is calling for 12 independent experts on international trade, animal welfare and health and the environment to join the new commission, which is now being placed on a permanent footing.

¡¡¡¡Trade Secretary Liz Truss said the TAC would make a ¡°crucially important contribution¡± to protecting UK standards.?

¡¡¡¡She said: ¡°Our approach to free trade includes a fierce commitment to our high standards for food and farming, and to supporting UK farmers. Ensuring effective scrutiny of new full Free Trade Agreements is an important part of delivering on this.¡±

¡¡¡¡The TAC will examine the wording of trade deals to decide whether measures on agricultural trade could damage statutory protections for animal and plant health, animal welfare and the environment across the UK.

¡¡¡¡1:03PM

¡¡¡¡Tesla?shares dropped 2.2pc in premarket trading in the US today, after chief executive Elon Musk said plans for its Model S Plaid+ sedan have been cancelled.?

¡¡¡¡The stock has fizzled more than 30pc?since late-January, following a price run-up pushed?its market capitalisation to as high as $837bn and briefly made Musk the world¡¯s richest person.

¡¡¡¡A tweet from Musk on Sunday said that the Plaid+ would be canceled because there was no need for it as the Plaid version ¡°is just so good.¡±?

¡¡¡¡Tesla?had previously said the car would offer more than 520 miles (837 kilometers) of range, compared with about 390 for the regular Plaid model. It has been taking refundable deposits for the car for months.

¡¡¡¡Last week, Tesla shares slipped after it was reported that sales in China for May had fallen by nearly half from April. A US regulator has also disclosed recalls of?Model 3 and Y Teslas over seat-belt flaws.

¡¡¡¡0 to 60mph in under 2 secs. Quickest production car ever made of any kind. Has to be felt to be believed.

¡¡¡¡¡ª Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 6, 2021

¡¡¡¡12:41PM

¡¡¡¡My colleague James Cook has more on Jeff Bezos’ plan to fly to space next month. He writes:

¡¡¡¡Blue Origin announced the flight in May but at the time did not reveal that Mr Bezos and his brother would be travelling on it.

¡¡¡¡The rocket will travel 100km above sea level into space before the Crew Capsule detaches. The rocket and capsule will then return to earth, with the capsule touching down in the West Texas desert using parachutes to slow its descent.

¡¡¡¡The third passenger on the flight to space with the Bezos brothers will be the winner of an auction currently being held by Blue Origin. Bidding for the spot has reached $2.8m (¡ê1.9m), with proceeds set to be donated to charity.

¡¡¡¡Read his full story here.?

¡¡¡¡12:25PM

¡¡¡¡Pedestrians, some wearing face coverings due to Covid-19, walk past shops on Oxford Street in central London

¡¡¡¡Credit:

¡¡¡¡TOLGA AKMEN?/AFP

¡¡¡¡Shopping destinations?received a half term boost last week, with retail footfall?rising 11.6pc, according to consumer activity analysts Springboard.?

¡¡¡¡High street shoppers rose by 17.4pc last week, with coastal and historic towns registering the biggest uplift, up 37.1pc and 24.8pc. Footfall in central London was also up 23.8pc.?

¡¡¡¡However shopping centres and retail parks registered a more modest rise – up 8.7pc and 2.3pc respectively. ?

¡¡¡¡12:16PM

¡¡¡¡The FTSE 100 is up 0.2pc after falling in early trading, while the?mid-cap?FTSE?250 was up 0.3pc, hovering just below record highs.

¡¡¡¡12:05PM

¡¡¡¡Jeff Bezos announced today he will travel to space with his brother and a competition winner on July 20 -?15 days after he is due to step down as CEO of Amazon.?

¡¡¡¡In an Instagram post, the Amazon CEO marked out his ambition to become one f the first space tycoons to enter space on a test flight operated by his company Blue Origin.?

¡¡¡¡Richard Branson has also announced plans to fly to space with his company Virgin Galactic but that flight is expected later in 2021.?

¡¡¡¡View this post on Instagram

¡¡¡¡A post shared by Jeff Bezos (@jeffbezos)

¡¡¡¡11:46AM

¡¡¡¡Coal delivery trucks queue at a weighbridge at the Goedehoop coal mine, operated by Anglo American Plc, in Mpumalanga, South Africa

¡¡¡¡Coal delivery trucks queue at a weighbridge at the Goedehoop coal mine, operated by Anglo American Plc, in Mpumalanga, South Africa

¡¡¡¡Credit:

¡¡¡¡Waldo Swiegers?/Bloomberg?

¡¡¡¡Thungela Resources, the spinoff holding Anglo American’s South African coal mines, was valued at about 3.09bn rand (¡ê162m) on its debut in Johannesburg, below the expectations of some analysts.

¡¡¡¡Bloomberg has the details:

¡¡¡¡The coal miner could be worth $440 million to $950 million, according to Liberum Capital. SBG Securities said in a June 4 note that Thungela has a value of about 4.4 billion rand.

¡¡¡¡While Thungela initially fell short of those valuations, the spinoff takes Anglo closer to its goal of exiting thermal coal. The world¡¯s biggest miners are looking for ways to dump coal assets amid pressure from environmentalists and some investors, who either can¡¯t or don¡¯t want to hold a company that directly exposes them to the most polluting fuel.

¡¡¡¡”It was always going to be tough because of the known sellers,¡± said Ben Davis, an analyst at Liberum. ¡°It will take time to shake out that ratio. No one¡¯s going to jump in with both feet on day one.¡±

¡¡¡¡Anglo Chief Executive Officer Mark Cutifani has previously acknowledged that the company probably missed the best opportunity to get the highest price for its coal assets. Instead, he said the focus was on handing over the mines in a responsible way.

¡¡¡¡11:33AM

¡¡¡¡A woman walks past the AMC Georgetown 14 Theatres in Washington

¡¡¡¡Credit:

¡¡¡¡MANDEL NGAN?/AFP

¡¡¡¡Memestock AMC resumed its upward trajectory in US premarket trading today after two days of declines for the money-losing movie cinema?chain.

¡¡¡¡The stock traded at $50.03 as of 5:19am?in New York, up 4.5pc?from Friday¡¯s close.

¡¡¡¡AMC has become a a favourite among?retail traders, gaining 2,200pc?this year, more than?any other stock in the Russell 3000 Index.

¡¡¡¡In a drastic turnaround from a company on the brink of bankruptcy just a few months ago, the stock¡¯s surge has enabled AMC?to sell equity and shore up its shaky balance sheet.

¡¡¡¡11:10AM

¡¡¡¡Royal Mail shares are surging 3pc today, leading the FTSE 100 for gains, following an announcement it will offer timed delivery slots next year in an effort to better compete with Amazon.?

¡¡¡¡My colleague James Cook had more on the changes in his article out yesterday:

¡¡¡¡Customers will be offered the ability to pay extra for a premium service that allows them to specify time windows for receiving parcels.

¡¡¡¡The delivery windows, set to be launched next year, are part of a planned overhaul of Royal Mail¡¯s services which will include the introduction of three tiers of Royal Mail delivery, according to an internal video seen by the Mail on Sunday. The current base service will remain but two tiers of premium parcel deliveries are expected to be added for an extra cost.

¡¡¡¡A middle tier, expected to be named ¡°My Choice¡± when it launches, will reportedly allow customers to choose which day their items will be delivered. Only the most expensive delivery tier would allow customers to choose a specific time slot for their delivery.

¡¡¡¡Royal Mail also plans to cut down duplicate services to avoid bewildering customers with choice.

¡¡¡¡Read the full story here.?

¡¡¡¡11:01AM

¡¡¡¡An Amazon.com Inc. Echo smart speaker sits on display inside a shop in Berkeley, California

¡¡¡¡Credit:

¡¡¡¡Cayce Clifford

¡¡¡¡/Bloomberg?

¡¡¡¡Half of UK households now own a voice assistant such as an Amazon Echo or a Google Home, according to research by Ampere Analysis.?

¡¡¡¡Over the last 12 months, voice assistant ownership has increased 12pc in the UK, with 52pc of the country’s online households owning a device.?

¡¡¡¡Minal Modha, Principal Analyst and?Consumer Research Lead at Ampere Analysis says:

¡¡¡¡As smart homes become more popular, voice assistants are at the forefront of consumer adoption. While penetration varies by market, the device¡¯s increasing popularity is evident in its yearly growth.

¡¡¡¡Google faces an uphill battle for market share in core Amazon territories, where Echo devices are highly embedded within the ecosystem of Amazon products. But the tech giant has clear white space in countries in which Amazon has no significant retail presence.

¡¡¡¡10:54AM

¡¡¡¡An outbreak of coronavirus at a factory in Taiwan is threatening to disrupt the already strained production of chips critical to global technology supply chains.?

¡¡¡¡King Yuan Electronics shut down its main plants in Taiwan’s Miaoli County over the weekend and reported 182 confirmed cases as of June 5, mostly among its overseas workforce.

¡¡¡¡The government has now?placed all 2,000 of its overseas workers, around 30pc?of its workforce, into two week?quarantine and the company is relying on temporary local workers to restart production lines.

¡¡¡¡King Yuan resumed operations last night at lower-than-normal production volumes, said Aaron Chang, acting spokesperson of the company.

¡¡¡¡¡°Once migrant workers return to production lines in two weeks, the company will speed up production to make up for its loss,¡± he said. ¡°The company sees no major impact on annual finances and businesses.¡±

¡¡¡¡Taiwan, a global hub for semiconductor chip manufacturing, has?seen a recent surge in cases with authorities reporting?more than 11,000 local cases and 260 deaths, mostly in the last five weeks.?

¡¡¡¡10:41AM

¡¡¡¡Here’s today’s best from The Telegraph’s money team

¡¡¡¡How to turn ¡ê50k into ¡ê250k: the ultimate plan for investors under 30

¡¡¡¡’How do I spend my ¡ê520k pension without paying any tax?’ Hugh Hamil will pay income tax if he withdraws more than ¡ê12,570 ¨C but there is a solution

¡¡¡¡’O2 charged me ¡ê6,800 for a mobile contract I thought was cancelled’: Has a company treated you unfairly? Our consumer champion, Sally Hamilton, is here to help?

¡¡¡¡Sign up for the Money newsletter here.?

¡¡¡¡10:32AM

¡¡¡¡Shares in US technology giants fell slightly in premarket trading after the world’s richest nations agreed on a landmark global minimum corporate tax deal.

¡¡¡¡The Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies agreed this weekend to back a minimum global corporate tax rate of at least 15pc.?

¡¡¡¡Shares of Facebook, Amazon.com, Apple , Microsoft and Google-parent Alphabet were all down between 0.1pc?and 0.5pc.?

¡¡¡¡”…the immediate market implications are likely to be minimal,” Ian Williams, economics & strategy research analyst at Peel Hunt, told Reuters.?

¡¡¡¡”No G7 nation currently charges that low a rate and the details, including agreement from numerous smaller countries, require plenty of work.”

¡¡¡¡Read more about the deal here.?

¡¡¡¡10:25AM

¡¡¡¡Travelodge have opened the doors to seven new hotels today, betting on strong demand this summer as people choose to spend their holidays within the UK instead of wrestling with complicated restrictions to go overseas.?

¡¡¡¡The company has opened new locations in St Albans, Boston, Faringdon, Poole, Witney and two new hotels in Bristol, following a ¡ê70m injection of new finance.?

¡¡¡¡Chief executive Craig Bonnar said:?

¡¡¡¡We are delighted to mark the start of the summer holiday season by extending our UK hotel network by officially opening seven new hotels in one day and taking the Travelodge brand to four new markets.?

¡¡¡¡With more Britons holidaying on British shores this year, we are well placed to support the nation with their Staycation breaks by having hotels in the right locations at a great value price.

¡¡¡¡10:11AM

¡¡¡¡Uber¡¯s ride-hailing business in the UK bounced back?to pre-pandemic levels in?mid-May, with the pace of the recovery so strong in some regions that demand is starting to overtake Uber’s supply of drivers.?

¡¡¡¡This is true in cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, however London is lagging behind other parts of the UK as office workers and tourists continue to?stay home.?

¡¡¡¡¡°We are anticipating we will need up to 20,000 additional drivers for the growth we need in the UK,¡± Anabel Diaz Calderon, Uber¡¯s regional general manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told the Financial Times.?

¡¡¡¡¡°We were frankly not anticipating the speed of the recovery we have seen in some key geographies and definitely the UK.”

¡¡¡¡Find the full interview here.?

¡¡¡¡9:57AM

¡¡¡¡Houses under construction on a new housing development site.

¡¡¡¡Credit:

¡¡¡¡Joe Giddens?/PA

¡¡¡¡My colleague Rachel Mortimer reports:?

¡¡¡¡Agents had warned the cliff edge of the original stamp duty deadline, at the end of March, would cause a slump in house prices. However Andrew Montlake, of mortgage broker Coreco, said this happening with the June cut-off point was unlikely.?

¡¡¡¡”There is talk that the property market will fall flat on its face the moment the stamp duty holiday ends. That’s not going to happen. Covid-19 has triggered a socio-corporate shift that will drive transactions for some time yet as people seek more space to work remotely and proximity to the office becomes less important.

¡¡¡¡”The future of the property market, in the short to medium term, will be inextricably linked to our post-pandemic lifestyles,” he added.

¡¡¡¡Read her full story here.?

¡¡¡¡9:53AM

¡¡¡¡Google has?agreed to pay ¢ã220m (¡ê189m) to settle a French antitrust probe over its abuse of power in online advertising.

¡¡¡¡Bloomberg has more details:?

¡¡¡¡The French Competition Authority said?Google?has been unfairly sending business to its advertising server and its online-ad auction house, to the detriment of rivals.

¡¡¡¡In addition to the fine,?Google?promised to remedy the situation by improving the interoperability of its?Google?Ad Manager services for third parties.

¡¡¡¡¡°The decision fining?Google?is particularly significant as it is the first throughout the world to tackle complex algorithmic auction processes used for online display-advertising,¡± Isabelle de Silva, who heads France¡¯s Autorit¨¦ de la concurrence, said in a statement on Monday.

¡¡¡¡With separate cases into?Google, Apple Inc. and Facebook Inc., French antitrust regulators are starting to rein in anti-competitive behavior in online advertising. While?Google¡¯s case ended with a fine, Facebook last week tried to avoid that by making commitments to placate regulators.

¡¡¡¡The?Google?case stems from a complaint lodged in 2019 by Rupert Murdoch¡¯s News Corp., French newspaper Le Figaro and Belgian media group Rossel La Voix.

¡¡¡¡9:25AM

¡¡¡¡After initially falling on opening, the FTSE 100 is now up 0.2pc as gains by housebuilders push the index higher.?

¡¡¡¡9:23AM

¡¡¡¡The sterling dropped against the dollar today, after Health minister Matt Hancock said on Sunday it was “too soon” to say whether the June 21 reopening plan could go ahead.

¡¡¡¡Hopes the economy will fully reopen this month have faded in recent weeks, as rising cases of the delta variant have prompted some scientists to call for a push back the full lifting of restrictions.

¡¡¡¡This morning, the?pound was down 0.2pc against the dollar at $1.4136, and down a similar amount against the euro at 86.06 pence.

¡¡¡¡9:14AM

¡¡¡¡8:56AM

¡¡¡¡House prices have risen 1.3pc since last month,?with the?average price of a UK property soaring to a new record high of ¡ê261,743, according to the Halifax Price Index.?

¡¡¡¡House prices reach another record high in May according to the @Halifax House Price Index as the race for outside and #WFH space joins forces with the #StampDutyHoliday stampede. Hold on to your hats for a busy June housing market pic.twitter.com/h9GUzkKTEt

¡¡¡¡¡ª Anthony Codling (@anthonycodling) June 7, 2021

¡¡¡¡Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax, said:

¡¡¡¡Heading into the traditionally busy summer period, market activity continues to be boosted by the government¡¯s stamp duty holiday, with prospective buyers racing to complete purchases in time to benefit from the maximum tax break ahead of June¡¯s deadline, after which there will be a phased return to full rates.

¡¡¡¡For some homebuyers, lockdown restrictions have also resulted in an unexpected build-up of savings, which can now be deployed to fund bigger deposits for bigger properties, potentially pushing property prices even higher.

¡¡¡¡Whilst these effects will be temporary, the current strength in house prices also points to a deeper and long-lasting change as buyer preferences shift in anticipation of new, post-pandemic lifestyles ¨C as greater demand for larger properties with more space might warrant an increased willingness to spend a higher proportion of income on housing.

¡¡¡¡These trends, coupled with growing confidence in a more rapid recovery in economic activity if restrictions continue to be eased, are likely to support house prices for some time to come, particularly given the continued shortage of properties for sale.

¡¡¡¡8:41AM

¡¡¡¡Miners are weighing on the FTSE 100 today, with Antofagasta and Anglo American both down more than 2pc. Polymetal, Glencore and Fresnillo are down by more than 1.5pc.?

¡¡¡¡BT is leading the index for gains (up 1.36pc) after announcing it will launch a new business division that will provide home office users with enterprise-grade connectivity and customer support.?

¡¡¡¡Homebuilders Barratt and Persimmon are also up,?1.34pc and 1.24pc.?

¡¡¡¡On the FTSE 250, housebuilder Redrow lead the index for gains (up 2.77pc) while? office space provider IWG was down 14pc, after reporting a?¡ê650.2m loss last year.?

¡¡¡¡8:29AM

¡¡¡¡NetScientific Plc has surged 22pc this morning?after the lifesciences company announced one of its subsidiaries had entered an exclusive licensing agreement with AstraZeneca Plc to globally sell a COVID-19 test.

¡¡¡¡Wholly owned subsidiary ProAxsis?will take responsibility for the validation and global commercialisation for?the Covid-19 serology ELISA test which was developed by a research team at AstraZeneca, the company said.?

¡¡¡¡Ruth March, SVP, Precision Medicine, AstraZeneca said:

¡¡¡¡The development of this serology ELISA by our team is another example of AstraZeneca’s comprehensive response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This highly sensitive and specific blood test makes use of simple and convenient fingerstick sample collection that will be well suited to large scale deployment and has the potential to play an important role in antibody analyses in large populations.

¡¡¡¡8:06AM

¡¡¡¡The FTSE 100 opened flat this morning, before falling 0.3pc and is now trading at around 7,048 points this morning.? The FTSE 250 is also down 0.1pc, at around 22,807.?

¡¡¡¡Michael Hewson, Chief Market Analyst at CMC Markets UK, comments:?

¡¡¡¡Despite Friday¡¯s strong finish in the US, European markets look set to open the week slightly on the back foot after the latest China trade data for May showed that exports slowed more than expected, rising 27.9pc, although imports rose from 43.1pc?to 51.1pc, while US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that higher interest rates might not be such a bad thing in comments made at the weekend, helping to push US bond yields higher, and take some of the steam out of last weeks end of week rebound in stock markets, with markets in Europe set for a slightly lower open.

¡¡¡¡European Opening Calls:#FTSE 7071 +0.02%#DAX 15663 -0.19%#CAC 6503 -0.19%#AEX 720 +0.03%#MIB 25553 -0.07%#IBEX 9077 -0.12%#OMX 2270 -0.04%#STOXX 4086 -0.09%#IGOpeningCall

¡¡¡¡¡ª IGSquawk (@IGSquawk) June 7, 2021

¡¡¡¡7:31AM

¡¡¡¡Good morning. The FTSE 100 is set to open flat?after Asian markets turned cautious. Other European markets are tipped to open flat or lower.

¡¡¡¡5 things to start your day?

¡¡¡¡1)?Analysts warn of ethical investment bubble.?The amount of money pouring into green and ethical funds has more than doubled to nearly ¡ê1?trillion in a year.

¡¡¡¡2) Any further restrictions could spell end for Caffe Nero?.?The business has been carrying out stress tests to examine the potential impact of a drop in revenue.

¡¡¡¡3)?Steel industry fears UK will be flooded by cheap imports.?Britain¡¯s steel industry is braced for a decision on the UK¡¯s tariff protections as soon as this week.

¡¡¡¡4)?Navy ¡®should double in size¡¯ to help shipyards.?The chairman of the Commons defence select committee?says the UK?should build more ‘low-end’ ships ¨C both for its own Navy and for export.

¡¡¡¡5)?Royal Mail plans timed delivery slots in Amazon battle.?Customers will be offered the ability to pay extra for a premium service that allows them to specify time windows for receiving parcels.

¡¡¡¡What happened overnight?

¡¡¡¡Asian shares turned lower on Monday as relief over the benign US jobs report was chilled by caution ahead of key inflation data later this week, while a coronavirus outbreak in Taiwan took a toll on chip manufacturers.

¡¡¡¡Investors were wary on how shares of major tech firms would react to the G7’s agreement on a minimum global corporate tax rate of at least 15pc, though getting the approval of the whole G20 could be a tall order.

¡¡¡¡So far, the reaction was muted with both Nasdaq and S&P 500 futures down 0.2pc. EUROSTOXX 50 futures and FTSE futures eased 0.1pc.

¡¡¡¡MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.3pc and risked a fourth session of losses. Japan’s Nikkei edged up 0.2pc and touched its highest in almost a month.

¡¡¡¡Taiwan stocks lost 1.7pc as a spike in Covid cases hit three tech companies in northern Taiwan, including chip packager King Yuan Electronics.

¡¡¡¡Chinese blue chips were off 0.3pc ahead of data on exports and imports for May.

¡¡¡¡Coming up today

¡¡¡¡Full-year results: Sirius Real Estate

¡¡¡¡Economics: Halifax house prices index (UK), imports, exports (China), manufacturing orders (Germany), industrial production (Spain)