What to watch: M&S job cuts fears, Amigo losses, EU talks plough on

Tom Belger
·Finance and policy reporter
·3 min read
A woman enters a Marks and Spencer store where the food hall remains open in Shrewsbury as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A woman enters a Marks and Spencer store where the food hall remains open in Shrewsbury as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. Photo: PA

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

M&S shares drop on report job cuts looming

Marks & Spencer (MKS.L) fell 1.4% on Monday, after Sky News reported the retail giant is planning to axe hundreds of jobs this week.

A spokesperson said: “We don’t comment on speculation, and if and when we have an announcement to make our colleagues will be the first to know.”

READ MORE: M&S profits sink 21% with stores shut and clothing sales falling

M&S is reported to be set to become the latest in a string of high street names to announce redundancies, after Debenhams, John Lewis, Boots, Burger King and other leading brands also wielded the axe.

M&S had announced central support costs and headcount “will be examined at all levels” in its full-year results in May. Retailers have taken a heavy hit from months of lockdown, and footfall on UK high streets remains significantly below pre-pandemic levels despite restrictions easing.

Subprime lender Amigo swings to £37.9m loss

UK subprime lender Amigo (AMGO.L) swung to a £37.9m ($48m) pre-tax loss in the last financial year, as it dealt with a surge in costs linked to complaints.

The company said on Monday its profits had been wiped out, after a £111m profit the previous year.

Revenues for the year to 31 March came in at £294m, with the lender attracting 200,000 new customers.

It said complaints had cost the company £126.8m in the last financial year, up from only around £100,000 a year earlier.

Stocks mixed with all eyes on EU talks over €750bn stimulus

European stocks edged higher on Monday, as hopes of a breakthrough in EU stimulus talks outweighed nerves over coronavirus infection rates worldwide.

Leading indices in Europe opened in the red, but most were trading higher in late morning trading on optimism Europe’s leaders could break the deadlock over a joint recovery package.

Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) was up 0.6%, the pan-European STOXX 600 index (^STOXX) was up 0.3% and France’s CAC 40 (^FCHI) was up 0.2% at around 11am in London. Britain’s FTSE 100 (^FTSE) pared back most early losses but was still down 0.2%.

READ MORE: EU leaders meet to thrash out recovery package

Many investors’ attention was focused on events in Brussels on Monday, with mixed signals over the fate of a potential €750bn (£683bn, $859bn) recovery fund to revive ailing economies.

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte told journalists on Monday: “We are not there yet, things can still fall apart. But it looks a bit more hopeful than at the times where I thought last night that it was over.”

Hopes of a compromise deal have risen over the weekend as the talks, only scheduled for Friday and Saturday, continued into a fourth day on Monday. The euro remains near four-month highs against the dollar (EURUSD=X), at almost $1.15.

What to expect in the US

US futures were also pointing to a mixed open. S&P 500 futures (ES=F) and Dow Jones futures (YM=F) were down 0.1%, while Nasdaq futures (NQ=F) were up 0.1% at around 6am eastern time.