BUSINESS LIVE: Heathrow lifted by Thanksgiving; Approval of GSK treatment; Hipgnosis sells assets

The FTSE 100 is down 0.4 percent in early trading. Companies with reports and trading updates today include GSK, Hipgnosis and Begbies Traynor. Read the Business Live blog from Monday, December 11 below.

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The technology boss is concerned that people will lose control of AI

The boss of British tech giant Arm Holdings has revealed he is concerned about humans losing control over artificial intelligence.

Rene Haas, CEO of Cambridge-based chip designer Arm, told Bloomberg that “what worries me most is that people are losing their capabilities” because of the machines.

The FTSE 100 starts the week lower ahead of key economic data

Victoria Scholar, head of investments at Interactive Investor:

'After closing at a seven-week high on Friday, the FTSE 100 is trading slightly lower to start the week. Rolls-Royce is trading at the top of the index after Citigroup increased its price target on the stock from 294p to 431p, while Endeavor Mining languishes at the bottom.

'Key economic developments are expected in the UK this week, with unemployment data on Tuesday, GDP figures on Wednesday and the Bank of England interest rate decision on Thursday. In the US, all eyes are on the Fed's interest rate decision on Wednesday and the latest US inflation figures on Tuesday. Goldman Sachs now expects two Fed rate cuts next year, starting in the third quarter.

'Overnight consumer prices in China fell 0.5% in November, compared with a decline of 0.2% in October and below expectations. It was the fastest decline since November 2020, with food prices falling the most in two years.”

Increase in UK drinks exports – report

(PA) – The value of UK drinks exports has risen by more than £1 billion in the past year, new research shows.

The total rose from £8.3bn in 2021/22 to £9.4bn in the 12 months to July this year, according to business advisers Hazlewoods.

Spirits play a key role in rising drinks exports, with continued demand for whiskey from traditional markets in EU countries including France, Germany, Spain and Poland, as well as India and Singapore, the report said.

Sales of other drinks, such as beer, to the EU have suffered due to Brexit-related red tape, the report said.

Rebecca Copping of Hazlewoods said: “British heritage brands have successfully positioned themselves as a luxury in the international drinks market.

“Much of this success is due to young, wealthy consumers buying quality drink brands that convey status and success.

“Despite volatility in the economy and high interest rates in much of the world, consumer spending on luxury goods has held up well, although luxury sales growth is slowing.

'This post-Covid boom in luxury goods sales has certainly contributed to increasing UK drinks exports.

“Now the industry is focused on long-term growth and reaching larger, untapped markets. The UK government can support that by securing trade deals that lower barriers to expansion.”

Home loans are falling by 23% as interest rates rise

Mortgage lending is expected to fall by a quarter this year, while the number of borrowers in arrears exceeds 100,000 – with worse consequences in 2024, data shows.

Lending for home purchases has fallen by 23 percent to £130 billion by 2023 – the lowest in seven years, as high interest rates and the cost of living take their toll.

And this figure is expected to fall to £120 billion next year, before rising again in 2025, according to a report from UK Finance, which represents banks and building societies.

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Market open: FTSE 100 down 0.1%; FTSE 250 flat

London-listed shares are down marginally in early trading, with mining stocks among the biggest fallers, as the focus remains on a plethora of central bank meetings taking place this week.

Industrial metals miners lost 1.2 percent as prices of most base metals fall following a firmer dollar, while iron ore prices lose ground on disappointing Chinese consumer price data.

Anglo American is down 1.3 percent, the biggest decline for the FTSE 100 after at least four brokers cut their price targets for the stock.

Lower gold prices are also pushing precious metals miners down 1.5 percent.

All eyes are now on the major central banks, with the Bank of England, the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank all set to announce their monetary policy decisions this week.

All three are expected to keep interest rates at current levels.

FTSE 100 shortage of Monday motivation during the open

Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown:

'The FTSE 100 lacks motivation on Monday, opening lower in early trade despite indications of a more resilient outlook for Britain as concerns about the Chinese economy persist.

'Energy giants have risen on the back of the recovery in oil prices, but mining giants are lagging behind due to demand concerns. On Wall Street, investors saw signs of robustness in the US as a good news story, pointing to a softer landing for the US, even as the potential for early rate cuts has diminished somewhat.

“With the key monthly jobs snapshot coming in stronger than expected, but inflation still trending in the right direction, the longed-for Goldilocks scenario may still be lurking. There may still be some ogres on the horizon as the effect of the rapid rate tightening takes hold, but right now there is optimism in the air.”

RUTH SUNDERLAND: Work is no longer fashionable

When I saw Madonna's concert at the O2 last week, I thought about the economics of the 1980s and not just the music. Yes, I should probably get out more, but bear with me.

Madonna was never the greatest singer, but she wholeheartedly embraced the aspirational culture of the 1980s.

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Heathrow closed by Thanksgiving

Traffic at Heathrow was halted in November due to the Thanksgiving and Diwali trade, with Britain's busiest airport pushing for government and industry collaboration to boost production of sustainable aviation fuel after taking part in the first transatlantic flight using the technology.

November traffic rose 10.2 percent to about 6.1 million, bringing passenger numbers to 72.5 million in 2023, up 30.2 percent year-on-year.

Thomas Woldbye, CEO of Heathrow, said:

'For so many, holidays and cultural festivities are all about spending quality time with friends and family. Last month, passengers traveled to celebrate Thanksgiving and Diwali with their loved ones, and we are making final preparations for the Christmas outing.

“We must protect these benefits of aviation in a world without carbon dioxide, where history has proven that 100% transatlantic SAF flights are possible.

“Now we need collaboration between industry and government, both of which have critical supplies, to scale up SAF production so that 100% SAF flights become an everyday reality.”

Saudi Arabia could take control of Heathrow

Saudi Arabia could become the majority shareholder of Heathrow Airport according to a report suggesting fellow investors in the hub are ready to sell.

The speculation comes after the country's sovereign wealth fund along with French private equity firm Ardian recently struck a deal to buy a 25 percent stake in the airport for £2.4 billion from Ferrovial.

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