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Oil dips after unexpected rise in U.S. crude stocks

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Oil dips after unexpected rise in U.S. crude stocks 1

By Ahmad Ghaddar

LONDON (Reuters) – Oil slipped on Thursday after industry data showed a surprise increase in U.S. crude inventories that revived pandemic-related demand concerns, but United States stimulus hopes limited the price downturn.

Brent crude futures fell 47 cents, or 0.8%, to $55.61 a barrel by 1030 GMT.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 43 cents, or 0.8%, to $52.88 a barrel, following two days of gains on expectations of massive COVID-19 relief spending under new U.S. President Joe Biden.

U.S. crude oil inventories rose 2.6 million barrels in the week to Jan. 15, according to data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute, compared with analysts’ forecasts in a Reuters poll for a 1.2 million barrel fall. [API/S]

Official Energy Information Administration (EIA) inventory data is due on Friday.

“If delayed EIA numbers tomorrow show a similar crude oil build, it would be the first build seen since early December,” analysts at bank ING said.

Rising COVID-19 cases in China, the world’s largest crude oil importer, also weighed on prices.

Beijing plans to impose strict COVID testing requirements during the Lunar New Year holiday season, when tens of millions of people are expected to travel, as it battles the worst wave of new infections since March 2020.

The commercial hub of Shanghai reported its first locally transmitted cases in two months on Thursday.

Elsewhere, new U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration has committed to curb carbon emissions and among his first actions as president, Biden announced America’s return to the Paris climate accord and revoked a permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline project from Canada.

The administration is also committed to ending new oil and gas leasing on federal lands.

The administration will also seek to lengthen and strengthen the nuclear constraints on Iran through diplomacy and will be raising the issue in early talks with foreign counterparts and allies, according to the White House.

(Additional reporting by Sonali Paul in Melbourne and Koustav Samanta in Singapore. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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Deliveroo to deliver $7 billion dual-class London listing

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Deliveroo to deliver $7 billion dual-class London listing 2

By Abhinav Ramnarayan and Pushkala Aripaka

LONDON (Reuters) – Deliveroo plans a London stock market listing that could value the British food delivery firm at around $7 billion and mark the biggest new share issue in Britain in three years.

It said it will use a dual-class share structure for the first three years of the listing, which will give co-founder and chief executive Will Shu more control over the company.

This means Deliveroo will not initially be eligible for a “premium” listing that would allow it to join the major FTSE indices, although it said in a statement on Thursday it will move to a single structure after three years.

The Deliveroo IPO is one of the most eagerly watched-for initial public offerings (IPOs) expected in London in the first half of 2021, after petcare firm IVC Evidensia abandoned its immediate IPO plans in favour of private funding.

Dual-class share structures are a common feature of listed technology companies in the United States but are frowned on by some British investors as they can give executives outsized influence on shareholder votes relative to their stake sizes.

Britain signalled this week that companies may soon be eligible for a “premium” listing using a dual-class structure after a review commissioned by Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, although not in time for Deliveroo’s listing.

Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan are leading the deal, while Bank of America, Citi, Jefferies and Numis are also part of the syndicate of banks managing the transaction, sources told Reuters earlier this year.

(Reporting by Abhinav Ramnarayan in London and Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni, Rachel Armstrong and Alexander Smith)

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Honda to sell limited batch of level 3 self-driving cars

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Honda to sell limited batch of level 3 self-driving cars 3

TOKYO (Reuters) – Honda Motor Co Ltd on Thursday said it will sell a limited batch of its flagship Legend sedan equipped with level 3 autonomous driving technology that enables vehicles to navigate congested highways.

When the level 3 “Traffic Jam Pilot” is activated, a driver can watch movies or use the navigation on the screen, helping to mitigate fatigue and stress when driving in a traffic jam, Honda said in a statement.

The Japanese automaker’s plan to sell 100 of the vehicles with the advanced technology would represent a significant step towards its goal of being the first company to mass produce a car with level 3 technology.

The Legend’s “Traffic Jam Pilot” system can control acceleration, braking and steering under certain conditions.

It can also alert the driver to respond when handing over the control, such as vibration on the driver’s seatbelt, Honda said. And if the driver continues to be unresponsive, the system will assist with an emergency stop by decelerating and stopping the vehicle while alerting surrounding cars with hazard lights and the horn, it added.

The announcement comes after the Japanese government awarded a safety certification to Honda’s “Traffic Jam Pilot” in November.

Global automakers and tech companies, including Google parent Alphabet Inc’s Waymo and Tesla Inc, have been investing heavily in autonomous driving.

Yet even as the technology advances, regulations on autonomous driving differ from country to country. Audi unveiled an A8 sedan with level 3 technology in 2017 but regulatory hurdles have prevented it from being widely introduced.

The limited edition Legend will be sold from Friday in Japan at a retail price of 11 million yen ($103,000), Honda said.

The automaker has no plans to increase production or sales of a level 3-equipped Legend for now, its operating officer told reporters on Thursday.

($1 = 107.0500 yen)

(Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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William Hill’s FY adjusted profit plunges 91% on pandemic hit

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William Hill's FY adjusted profit plunges 91% on pandemic hit 4

(Reuters) – British bookmaker William Hill, which is being taken over by Caesars Entertainment Inc, posted a 91% fall in annual adjusted pre-tax profit on Thursday as it business struggled due to a lack of global sporting events and shop closures.

The company, which operates around 1,400 betting shops in the UK, reported an adjusted pre-tax profit of 9.1 million pounds ($12.71 million) for the year ended Dec. 29, compared with 96.5 million pounds a year earlier.

Online betting, however, has enjoyed a boost as coronavirus restrictions encouraged customers to bet more from home, with the company’s online net revenue rising 9%.

“We anticipate that the systemic and structural change in our customers’ behaviour will outlive the pandemic as they conduct more business and access more leisure activities online, and thus expanding our opportunities,” the company said.

It also said momentum built towards the end of 2020 in the United States has been sustained in the first weeks of 2021, with staking during the Superbowl nearly doubling compared with last year.

Its betting shops will reopen from April 12, Chief Executive Officer Ulrik Bengtsson told reporters on a call, in line with government guidance on the reopening of non-essential shops then.

Caesars last year agreed to buy the company for 2.9 billion pounds to expand in the fast growing sports-betting market, with the deal expected to complete in the second quarter of 2021 or as early as March.

($1 = 0.7162 pounds)

(Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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