FTSE 100 edges closer to record high

Trader in LondonImage copyright Getty Images

The FTSE 100 was within range of a fresh record high on Friday after mining and banking stocks rose.

Shortly after midday the UK's benchmark share index[1] was up 19.06 points at 7.542.10, but it had touched 7,560 earlier which is above the record close of 7,556.24 hit last week.

Rising copper prices boosted mining shares, with Antofagasta up 2.6%.

Banks also supported the index, with Standard Chartered up 2.5% and Royal Bank of Scotland 1.7% higher.

Intercontinental Hotels Group slid 0.9% despite the Holiday Inn owner reporting rising third-quarter revenues.

The company said that the key measure of revenue per available room, or RevPAR, rose 2.3% in the three months to September.

However, there was a big split between its performance in Europe and the Americas.In Europe, RevPAR jumped 7.1% as tourists returned to markets previously hit by terror attacks, but in the Americas it was up just 0.8% in a quarter affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

On the currency markets, the pound rose 0.2% against the dollar to $1.3181 and was up 0.6% against the euro at €1.1159....


  1. ^ benchmark share index (www.bbc.co.uk)

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Kobe Steel uncovers more evidence of quality mistakes

A man walks past the company name on a signImage copyright Reuters

Scandal-hit Kobe Steel has found fresh evidence of mistakes with data on the quality of its products.

The Japanese company said on Friday it had uncovered a new case of fake data at a subsidiary that processes steel plate.

Kobe also said it had found a case of employees not reporting evidence to an internal investigation.

The company now plans to set up a panel of outsiders to look into its problems, in addition to the in-house probe.

The number of companies that may have used Kobe steel which was not correctly certified is about 500, including carmaker Daimler, aircraft manufacturer Airbus, and the maker of Japan's bullet trains.

Among the new cases uncovered, the thickness of steel supplied to customers "was fabricated", a Kobe spokesman told the BBC.

"It is not clear how and why this happened.It is under investigation," he said, adding that it "shouldn't be a problem with safety".

Kobe said that 3,793 tonnes of steel plates shipped to one customer had the wrong measurements.

When asked whether the problem of data fabrication could have been going on for more than a decade, the spokesman said:"It could be longer than a decade, we are looking into it now."

Kobe Steel also confirmed that an external law firm is helping with the investigation.There is an in-house committee looking into scandal that is chaired by the company's president....

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InterContinental Hotels sales boosted by Europe tourism

Crowne PlazaImage copyright Intercontinental Hotels Group

InterContinental Hotels Group said sales rose as the effect of terror attacks in key markets wore off.

Revenues per available room, a key indicator for the hotel industry, increased by 2.3% in the third quarter.

The Holiday Inn owner expanded its hotel offerings by the fastest rate in almost a decade, it said, as it ramped up international expansion.

Sales in Europe rose by 7.1%, while those in the US increased just 0.8% as hurricanes battered the region.

"Hurricanes Harvey and Irma had a mixed impact," the group said in a trading update[1].

"Displacement activity, together with the relief and reconstruction efforts, benefited our franchise business;but performance across the managed estate was negatively impacted by the cancellation of group bookings at some hotels."

'Confident' outlook

Markets previously hit by terror attacks, such as France, Belgium and Turkey, enjoyed strong growth.Southern Europe was also boosted by higher demand during the summer months.

Revenues from China increased 7.8%, buoyed by stronger demand for leisure services in Macau.

"Despite macro-economic and geopolitical uncertainties around the world, we remain confident in the outlook for the remainder of the year," said group chief executive Keith Barr.

InterContinental has expanded its room offering by 20,000, bringing the number available up to 235,000.

The results were "reasonable" and had put the company on track to meet full-year earnings forecasts, said Anna Barnfather, an analyst at Liberum....


  1. ^ a trading update (www.investegate.co.uk)

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