What to watch: ITV slides with FTSE, pound sinks on economic woes and Burberry hit by COVID-19

Kumutha Ramanathan
ITV shares slid on Thursday as it announced Q3 earnings heavily impacted by COVID-19. Photo: Neil Hall/Reuters

Here are the top business, market, and economic stories you should be watching today in the UK, Europe, and around the world.

ITV slides with rest of FTSE

ITV (ITV.L) shares are trading lower along with the rest of the FTSE (^FTSE) as the UK continues to struggle to weather the COVID-19 storm.

Shares were trading lower by 0.9% on Thursday as the business shared its Q3 update which showed external revenue was down 16% at £1.86m ($2.41m), compared to £2.209m in 2019.

“COVID restrictions and further national lockdowns have added production costs and are making it challenging to bring ITV Studios productions back to full capacity,” said Carolyn McCall, ITV chief executive.

Despite the news, the business remains optimistic.

The company said advertising trends have been improving with the Q4 forecast slightly up year on year and 85% of ITV’s productions in the UK and internationally that were paused as a result of COVID-19 now being back in production or have been delivered.

Pound sinks on economic woes

The pound’s mid-week gains against the euro and dollar have worn off as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported disappointing UK economic data and markets accepted that a viable COVID-19 vaccine won’t enter the market immediately.

The pound was 0.27% lower against the dollar (GBPUSD=X) and 0.4% lower against the euro (GBPEUR=X) on Thursday around 9:10am in London.

The UK economy grew by a record 15.5% between July and September, the ONS said on Thursday, showing a partial recovery for the UK economy before the second wave of COVID-19 hit. This figure missed economists’ estimates that third quarter GDP would grow by 15.8%.

Burberry hit by COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly hurt sales at British luxury brand Burberry (BRBY.L) but a recovery is already underway thanks to a revival in Asia and the Americas.

Burberry published its interim results on Thursday, showing sale fell by 30% to £878m (£1.1bn) in the six months to the end of September. Operating profit fell 75% to £51m.

COVID-19 forced Burberry to close the majority of its stores around the world in March. 10% of the brand’s shops remain closed across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

However, the company said a recovery was already underway thanks to growth elsewhere. Sales in America grew by 21% in the three months to September and grew by 10% in China.

Markets pare gains as coronavirus vaccine euphoria wears off

Europe and Asian markets had a largely negative start to the market open on Thursday.

This is after the FTSE100 (^FTSE) outperformed on Wednesday as part of an extended global rally, hitting its best levels since June.

The FTSE (^FTSE) was lower by 1% in early trading on Thursday, following disappointing UK Q3 GDP data released by the Office for National Statistics that showed the economy grew by 15.5%, missing economist estimates of 15.8%.

Elsewhere in Europe, the CAC 40 (^FCHI) fell by 0.7% in Paris and the DAX (^GDAXI) dropped by 1% in Frankfurt.

US futures were also lower. S&P 500 (ES=F) was down 0.6% in New York and the Dow Jones (YM=F) was lower by 0.6%. The Nasdaq (NQ=F) fell by 0.3%.

Markets are mixed in Asia. Japan’s Nikkei (^N225) rose by 0.7%, while South Korea’s KOSPI (^KS11) fell by 0.4%.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng (^HSI) fell by 0.2%, the Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) dropped 0.1% on the mainland and the Shenzen Component (399001.SZ) gained by 0.5%.

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-With additional reporting from Oscar Williams-Grut