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Most-bought FTSE 100 and AIM shares in June 2018



Most-bought FTSE 100 and AIM shares in June 2018

Most bought FTSE 100 stocks in June from interactive investor, the UK’s leading flat fee investment platform 

Richard Hunter, Head of Markets:

The FTSE100 had an anodyne month in June, losing 0.5% overall, hampered by fears of an imminent trade war between the major economic blocs, intermittent sterling strength and generally lighter trading volumes.

Perennial favourites Lloyds Banking (1st), Glencore (2nd) and Vodafone (3rd) comfortably retained their places in the top ten most bought shares on the interactive investor trading platform in June.  Elsewhere, income-seeking clients continued to buy BP (dividend yield 5.2%) which came in at 9th, and Legal & General (yield 5.9%), which returned to the top tier at number seven after a one-month absence.

After large leaps last month, BT (5th) and Randgold Resources (10th) retained places in the top ten as investors continued to take a positive view on their potential recovery stories, with this theme being echoed by the new appearance of Royal Bank of Scotland at number eight. The announcement in early June that the government had sold off nearly 8% of its stake for some £2.5 billion was warmly received by investors, despite the sale crystallising a loss for the government and with another 62% remaining. Even so, there is clearly an appetite to return the bank to being free of its clutches and even the possibility of a return to normality was enough to tempt buyers into the stock for the first time in quite a while.

Some weakness in Standard Life Aberdeen shares in early June, as Lloyds Banking announced it was to sell its 3.3% stake for £344 million, was also pounced upon by bargain-hunting clients as it eased into sixth place. The additional attraction of a 6.5% dividend yield also provides another incentive should these clients need to wait for the shares to climb.

 Rank Company  Previous rank*
1 Lloyds Banking Group 2
2 Glencore 4
3 Vodafone 1
4 Barclays 5
5 BT 3
6 Standard Life Aberdeen new entry
7 Legal & General new entry
8 Royal Bank of Scotland new entry
9 BP 6
10 Randgold Resources 10

*May 2018

Source: interactive investor, 3 July. Shows most bought FTSE 100 stocks by interactive investor’s customers in June 2018.

 Most bought AIM stocks in June from interactive investor, the UK’s leading flat fee investment platform

Lee Wild, Head of Equity Strategy:

Barely making the Top 20 in May, UK Oil & Gas was the most popular AIM share on the interactive investor trading platform in June. The surge in popularity coincided with the resumption of flow test operations at its part-owned oilfield a stone’s throw from Gatwick Airport.

UKOG confirmed in results a few days later that it is still losing money, but it’s the long-term potential of the field as a significant producer of oil and cash flow over many years that’s generating interest. This uptick in demand bumped the share price up by 45% in June to prices not seen since February, although they’re still way below last year’s peak at 11p.

Greatland Gold came out of nowhere last month to grab second spot in the popularity stakes. Just days into a maiden exploration programme at its Black Hills licence in Western Australia, the company struck gold. Hope here is that Black Hills can replicate some of the success of the large Telfer gold mine just 30 kilometres to the west. If it does, the trebling in value of the share price during June will be just the start. Positive drill results from the Havieronlicence, also in the Paterson region of Western Australia, have kept up the momentum.

Graphene group Versarien had a busy month. Appointed to the US National Graphene Association’s industry council, a deal signed with Arrow GreenTech in India soon after launching its Graphinks brand is potentially significant, and there’s optimism that 2D materials will generate substantial commercial demand. A range of earphones using Versarien’s graphene also paves the way for further monetising the technology.

Rank Company Previous Rank*
1 UK Oil & Gas new entry
2 Greatland Gold new entry
3 IQE 2
4 Tern 10
5 88 Energy new entry
6 5
7 Versarien new entry
8 Seeing Machines new entry
9 EQTEC new entry
10 MySQUAR new entry

*May 2018

Source: interactive investor, 3 July. Shows most bought AIM stocks by interactive investor’s customers in June 2018.

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Sunak to use budget to expand apprenticeships in England



Sunak to use budget to expand apprenticeships in England 1

LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak will announce more funding for apprenticeships in England when he unveils his budget next week, the government said on Friday.

Employers taking part in the Apprenticeship Initiative Scheme will from April 1 receive 3,000 pounds ($4,179) for each apprentice hired, regardless of age – an increase on current grants of between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds depending on age.

The scheme will extended by six months until the end of September, the finance ministry said.

Sunak will also announce an extra 126 million pounds for traineeships for up to 43,000 placements.

Sunak’s March 3 budget will likely include a new round of spending to prop up the economy during what he hopes will be the last phase of lockdown, but he will also probably signal tax rises ahead to plug the huge hole in the public finances.

Sunak is also expected to announce a “flexi-job” apprenticeship scheme, whereby apprentices can join an agency and work for multiple employers in one sector, the finance ministry said.

“We know there’s more to do and it’s vital this continues throughout the next stage of our recovery, which is why I’m boosting support for these programmes, helping jobseekers and employers alike,” Sunak said in a statement.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken)

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UK seeks G7 consensus on digital competition after Facebook blackout



UK seeks G7 consensus on digital competition after Facebook blackout 2

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is seeking to build a consensus among G7 nations on how to stop large technology companies exploiting their dominance, warning that there can be no repeat of Facebook’s one-week media blackout in Australia.

Facebook’s row with the Australian government over payment for local news, although now resolved, has increased international focus on the power wielded by tech corporations.

“We will hold these companies to account and bridge the gap between what they say they do and what happens in practice,” Britain’s digital minister Oliver Dowden said on Friday.

“We will prevent these firms from exploiting their dominance to the detriment of people and the businesses that rely on them.”

Dowden said recent events had strengthened his view that digital markets did not currently function properly.

He spoke after a meeting with Facebook’s Vice-President for Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, a former British deputy prime minister.

“I put these concerns to Facebook and set out our interest in levelling the playing field to enable proper commercial relationships to be formed. We must avoid such nuclear options being taken again,” Dowden said in a statement.

Facebook said in a statement that the call had been constructive, and that it had already struck commercial deals with most major publishers in Britain.

“Nick strongly agreed with the Secretary of State’s (Dowden’s) assertion that the government’s general preference is for companies to enter freely into proper commercial relationships with each other,” a Facebook spokesman said.

Britain will host a meeting of G7 leaders in June.

It is seeking to build consensus there for coordinated action toward “promoting competitive, innovative digital markets while protecting the free speech and journalism that underpin our democracy and precious liberties,” Dowden said.

The G7 comprises the United States, Japan, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Canada, but Australia has also been invited.

Britain is working on a new competition regime aimed at giving consumers more control over their data, and introducing legislation that could regulate social media platforms to prevent the spread of illegal or extremist content and bullying.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Gareth Jones and John Stonestreet)


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Britain to offer fast-track visas to bolster fintechs after Brexit



Britain to offer fast-track visas to bolster fintechs after Brexit 3

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Friday it would offer a fast-track visa scheme for jobs at high-growth companies after a government-backed review warned that financial technology firms will struggle with Brexit and tougher competition for global talent.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak said that now Britain has left the European Union, it wants to make sure its immigration system helps businesses attract the best hires.

“This new fast-track scale-up stream will make it easier for fintech firms to recruit innovators and job creators, who will help them grow,” Sunak said in a statement.

Over 40% of fintech staff in Britain come from overseas, and the new visa scheme, open to migrants with job offers at high-growth firms that are scaling up, will start in March 2022.

Brexit cut fintechs’ access to the EU single market and made it far harder to employ staff from the bloc, leaving Britain less attractive for the industry.

The review published on Friday and headed by Ron Kalifa, former CEO of payments fintech Worldpay, set out a “strategy and delivery model” that also includes a new 1 billion pound ($1.39 billion) start-up fund.

“It’s about underpinning financial services and our place in the world, and bringing innovation into mainstream banking,” Kalifa told Reuters.

Britain has a 10% share of the global fintech market, generating 11 billion pounds ($15.6 billion) in revenue.

The review said Brexit, heavy investment in fintech by Australia, Canada and Singapore, and the need to be nimbler as COVID-19 accelerates digitalisation of finance, all mean the sector’s future in Britain is not assured.

It also recommends more flexible listing rules for fintechs to catch up with New York.

“We recognise the need to make the UK attractive a more attractive location for IPOs,” said Britain’s financial services minister John Glen, adding that a separate review on listings rules would be published shortly.

“Those findings, along with Ron’s report today, should provide an excellent evidence base for further reform.”


Britain pioneered “sandboxes” to allow fintechs to test products on real consumers under supervision, and the review says regulators should move to the next stage and set up “scale-boxes” to help fintechs navigate red tape to grow.

“It’s a question of knowing who to call when there’s a problem,” said Kay Swinburne, vice chair of financial services at consultants KPMG and a contributor to the review.

A UK fintech wanting to serve EU clients would have to open a hub in the bloc, an expensive undertaking for a start-up.

“Leaving the EU and access to the single market going away is a big deal, so the UK has to do something significant to make fintechs stay here,” Swinburne said.

The review seeks to join the dots on fintech policy across government departments and regulators, and marshal private sector efforts under a new Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT).

“There is no framework but bits of individual policies, and nowhere does it come together,” said Rachel Kent, a lawyer at Hogan Lovells and contributor to the review.

($1 = 0.7064 pounds)

(Reporting by Huw Jones; editing by Jane Merriman and John Stonestreet)


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