Here are the top business, market, and economic stories you should be watching today in the UK, Europe, and abroad:
The UK economy avoided sliding into recession in the third quarter, but official figures show annual growth has dropped to its lowest pace in almost a decade.
New estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show British GDP rose 0.3% in Q3 from July to September, after a 0.2% decline in the previous quarter.
Chancellor Sajid Javid welcomed “solid” growth, but business leaders warned it was “nothing to celebrate.”
The quarterly figure of 0.3% came in lower than expected by the Bank of England, Barclays and a Reuters poll of economists, who had forecast 0.4% growth. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research had expected even higher growth at 0.5%.
Shares in Greggs (GRG.L) were up 15% in morning trading in London after it said profits would be higher than previously expected, fuelled by sales of vegan sausage rolls and other new initiatives.
Healthier food options, savvy publicity, eat-in stores and late-night opening trials have helped Greggs shrug off the troubles of many other well-known high street chains.
The company said on Monday like-for-like sales were up 8.3% in the six weeks to 9 November in its company-managed branches, and total sales were up 12.4%.
It said in a trading statement full-year pre-tax profits would be higher than stated previously.
Prosus, which is Europe’s largest consumer internet company, published the full terms of its all-cash offer for the company, arguing that it had made an “attractive and fair” offer that would offer shareholders “certainty”.
The offer clashes with the proposed all-share merger of Just Eat and the Dutch Takeaway.com — a tie-up that both companies have argued creates more value for shareholders.
In July, the London-based Just Eat said that it had agreed to merge with Takeaway.com, creating a European food delivery giant with roughly 360m global takeaway orders.
But the plan has been thrown into a spin by the Prosus offer.
Hong Kong unrest hits Asian markets
Escalating tensions in Hong Kong sent Asian stocks towards their worst day since August, according to Reuters.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index (^HSI) fell 2.6% overnight after police shot and wounded a protester in the latest protests after months of continued unrest.
An MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slid 1.2% from six-month highs.
Meanwhile in Europe, Britain’s FTSE (FTSE) fell 0.7%, potentially dragged down by sluggish GDP growth and a credit downgrade for the UK over the two main political parties’ major spending pledges.