FAA working ‘nonstop’ on United Airlines Boeing 777 engine failure probe

The Telegraph

Business demands furlough and loans extensions as Johnson lays out roadmap

Businesses across the board generally welcomed the clarity Boris Johnson gave in the roadmap out of lockdown, but also urged that a lot more needs to be done to help ailing sectors. Industry bodies are urging the Government to focus on continuing to support businesses – via furlough and loan extensions – until restrictions are fully eased. Among them, the British Chamber of Commerce called for key support schemes to be extended through the summer. The Federation for Small Businesses urged Rishi Sunak to do “whatever it takes” to keep companies afloat until the summer, including bringing more people under support measures and extending business rates relief. Separately on Monday, the pound slightly extended its world-beating rally, holding above $1.40 after breaking the threshold for the first time since 2018 at the end of last week. Sterling stood at about $1.407 at the European close, having made bigger gains than any other major currency so far this year. It shrugged off Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s presentation of a roadmap for Britain’s exit from Covid-19 restrictions, with investors continuing to favour the UK thanks to the fast rollout of vaccines. ING currency analyst Francesco Pesole said investor positioning around the pound still does not appear “particularly overstretched”, adding there should be a continued build-up in “long” positions on the currency over the coming weeks. The slight rise in the pound was enough to keep the FTSE 100 just shy of flat as international earners felt forex pressure. But the blue-chip index recovered strongly from an early drop to close almost unchanged. As has been the trend at several points over recent months, it was the companies that stand to gain the most from reopening that captured the biggest gains. British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines rose 12.4p to 178.1p, buoyed further after taking steps to boost the flag carrier’s liquidity by £2.45bn. Engine maker Rolls-Royce also rose, closing up 6.8p at 105.5p against a backdrop of reopening hopes and fresh headaches for Boeing that regulators said are related to problems with a rival company’s engines. Making up the rest of the top five FTSE 100 risers were events group Informa, caterer Compass and Holiday Inn owner InterContinental Hotels. Insurer Aviva rose 0.3p to 374.8p after Bank of America analysts upgraded the group from “hold” to “buy”, saying its shares were valued “well below” those of its peers. Analyst Blair Stewart said the company’s effort to sell off non-core businesses was making a meaningful difference to its prospects. Once again, Ocado was left to carry the can amid optimism about a return to normal. The grocery group’s shares fell 158p to £24.01. Opening-up hopes similarly dictated many of the biggest moves on the FTSE 250. Mitchells & Butlers led risers with a 46.1p jump to 337.5p after confirming plans for a £351m cash call. Shore Capital’s Greg Johnson said the group should be in a strong position to expand once restrictions ease. Other pub groups also performed well as the PM offered up April 12 as a planned day for outdoor hospitality offerings to resume – JD Wetherspoon rose 102p to £13.38. Other mid-cap winners included Cineworld, easyJet and Wizz Air. G4S was the FTSE 250’s biggest faller, tumbling 26.4p to 242.6p after suitor Gardaworld refused to raise its takeover bid.