Themes from May

Marks & Spencer reported adjusted pre-tax profits of £580.9m down 5.4% for FY18 and held its dividend at 18.7p per share. The company reduced net debt to £1.82bn from £1.93bn.

PM Theresa May struggled to secure the agreement of her cabinet to a UK/ EU “customs partnership” which would avoid the need for paperwork at UK/EU borders.

UK Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said the UK will require betting shops to cut the maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBT) to £2 from the current £100 level.

Ocado agreed to share its Ocado Smart Platform technology with US retail giant Kroger. Kroger is also subscribing for a 5% stake in Ocado paying £183m or 552p per share.

UK Department of Transport took back control of the InterCity East Coast line from Virgin Trains East Coach (90% owned by Stagecoach).

Netflix overtook Walt Disney in market value becoming the world’s most valuable media company despite revenues less than a third of Disney’s $55.1bn.

Barclays reportedly has instigated early stage merger talks with Standard Chartered. The unconfirmed rumours have hit Barclays shares with investors concerned at the risk of another Barclays rights issue to fund an acquisition.

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