What to watch: Flutter, Glencore and Standard Life Aberdeen troubles

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
The offices of Standard Life Aberdeen in Saint Andrew Square, Edinburgh. Photo: REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

Here are the top business, market and economic stories you should be watching today in the UK, Europe, and abroad:

Glencore profits plunge as world’s largest cobalt mine suspended

Glencore (GLEN.L) has seen its profits slide by almost a third over the first half of the year, sending its share price tumbling 1.6% to close a three-year low.

The commodities trader blamed a collapse in global copper prices which will force it to suspend production at Mutanda, the world’s largest cobalt mine.

It said the planned suspension at the world's largest cobalt mine, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, showed the "reduced economic viability in the current market environment.’

Reuters reports Glencore’s earnings before tax were lower than expectations at £4.59bn ($5.58bn) for the six months to 30 June, compared to $8.18bn a year earlier.

Standard Life Aberdeen profits slide

Standard Life Aberdeen has seen its adjusted profits before tax slide by almost 10% to £280m in the first half of the year.

It said it had found £234m of a £350m target for savings as part of a significant cost-cutting programme.

But it reported that its assets under management and administration had risen by 5% to £577.5bn.

It also said it had kept £35bn of Lloyds bank’s assets after a legal row between the two companies, according to PA.

Flutter bucks trend of store closures

Flutter is the new name for Paddy Power Betfair. Photo: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Paddy Power and Betfair owner Flutter says it will “take advantage” of the storm facing UK bookmakers, expecting to gain market share from rivals hit harder by a government clampdown.

The company, previously known as Paddy Power Betfair, said earnings from gambling on sports events were double those of its rivals, helping it survive while it expects competitors to announce more store closures.

It has also expanded its online and international operations in recent years, with revenue up 46% in the US.

But the company still suffered a 10% drop in its underlying earnings in the first half of the year, blaming higher taxes in Ireland and Australia.

It also forecast a dip in full-year earnings in line with expectations, while it said its pre-tax profits were down 24% to £81m.

European stocks recover

European stocks are showing signs of recovery after several days of sell-offs linked to the escalating US-China trade dispute.

Investors drew hope after China appeared to take steps to stop its currency dipping further, despite reacting angrily after the US labelled it a “currency manipulator” for letting the renminbi slide.

Britain’s FTSE 100 (^FTSE) index was up 0.5% at around 9am in London after six days of losses, though Glencore dragged mining stocks lower.

The Euronext 100 (^N100 ) and France’s CAC 40 (^FCHI) were both up 1%, while Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) was up 1.3%.

Markets slid overnight in Asia, with Japan’s Nikkei (^N225) and China’s Shanghai Composite index (000001.SS) both down 0.3%, and the Hong Kong Hang Seng (^HSI) flat.

What to expect in the US

US stocks look set for a flat open on Monday. S&P500 futures (ES=F) and Dow Jones futures (YM=F) were both unchanged, while Nasdaq futures (NQ=F) were up 0.2%.