Lloyds Bank to axe 1,600 jobs across branches

Lloyds Bank to axe 1,600 jobs across branches

Thanks for joining me. France’s government is reportedly demanding a multibillion-pound handout from Britain to cover the budget of nuclear power projects being built in the UK by French energy giant EDF.

Paris is pushing for a “global solution” to solve funding issues at the Sizewell C plant and the new Hinkley Point site in Somerset, a French official told the Financial Times.

It comes after EDF this week admitted the cost of construction at Hinkley Point had risen by as much as £10bn to £35bn.

It added the reactors will come online up to four years later than planned.

The Government this week had already committed an additional £1.3bn in funding for the construction of Sizewell C, the planned nuclear plant in Sussex owned by EDF and the Government.

Taxpayers own a stake in the plant after the Government became uncomfortable with it being part-owned China General Nuclear.

“It’s a Franco-British matter,” the French economy ministry official told the FT.

“The British government cannot at the same time say EDF has to figure it out alone on Hinkley Point and at the same time ask EDF to put money into Sizewell.

“We’re determined to find a global solution to see these projects through.”

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What happened overnight

Asian shares rose to a one-week high as an intervention by China’s government supported the battered Chinese stock market, while bonds were under pressure ahead of a European Central Bank meeting later in the day.

The Shanghai Composite rose 2pc and was headed for its largest daily gain in six months.

The blue-chip index rose more than 1pc and the Hang Seng climbed for a third straight session to take it 9pc above Monday’s 15-month trough.

All three indexes remain down for the year on investors’ frustration at the lack of large-scale response from Beijing to China’s economic slowdown, though Wednesday’s cut to bank reserve requirements has again raised expectations of official help.

Tokyo stocks closed modestly higher partly helped by gains in Chinese markets amid uncertainty about when the Bank of Japan might shift from negative interest rates.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index added less than 0.1pc, or 9.99 points, to 36,236.47, while the broader Topix index ended up 0.1pc, or 2.70 points, at 2,531.92.

Wall Street was mixed on Wednesday after strong gains for Netflix and some influential technology stocks helped offset losses across much of the US stock market.

The S&P 500 added 0.1pc, closing at 4,868.55 and set a record for a fourth day on the trot. The strength of tech stocks had the Nasdaq Composite index gain 0.4pc, reaching 15,481.92. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 leading US companies fell 0.3pc, closing at 37,806.39.

Stocks have rocketed to records on hopes that lowering inflation will convince the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates several times this year.

Bond traders have recently been trimming their bets of rate cuts following stronger-than-expected reports on the economy, which keep worries about a recession at bay but could also add upward pressure on inflation. The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury bonds rose to 4.17pc from 4.14pc late on Tuesday.

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