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Reports UK

UK stock market morning note (July 18, 2014)

July 18, 2014, Friday, 07:15 GMT | 02:15 EST | 10:45 IST | 13:15 SGT
Contributed by SVS Securities

The FTSE 100 is called to open lower this morning following the overnight performances on Wall Street and in Asia on the impact of the news of the Malaysian passenger jet being shot down over the Ukraine and the Israeli Gaza offensive. The economic diary today is confined to the US with the release of the preliminary reading of the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index. Commodity prices are flat to lower and on the foreign exchanges, the pound is slightly higher against both the dollar and the euro but all are trading within narrow ranges. It is a quiet end to the week for major corporate news.

Company Announcements

Co-op Group

It has confirmed that it has entered into an agreement to sell the pharmacy business for GBP620m to the privately owned Bestway Group. The deal is due to complete in October 2014 with the net proceeds being used to cut the Co-op's debt and invest in its core Retail and Consumer Services divisions. Bestway will have the right to operate under the Co-operative Pharmacy brand for a transitional period of 12 months, with the Co-op also to provide certain services to the Pharmacy business for up to 18 months.

Competition and Market Authority (CMA) Banking Announcement

It has said that personal current accounts and small business banking are not working well for customers and is now consulting on its provisional decision to launch an in-depth investigation. The CMA is interested in hearing views on the 'in principle' proposals to remedy suspected problems in the SME banking sector put forward by Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland. These include the banks giving the CMA undertakings to set up a comparison website to improve transparency.