What to watch: Markets rally on stimulus hopes, Ocado gains, Mitie sale and Uber hire

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
An Ocado van as its share price rose. Photo: PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images.

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

Markets rally on hopes of stimulus

Stock markets have rallied around the world as investors hope that governments and central banks will step in with stimulus measures to revive growth.

Panic on the markets had grown last week on recession fears, linked to the inversion of the US bond yield curve and figures showing Germany’s economy was shrinking.

China’s central bank could reform interest rates to lower borrowing costs for firms, according to Reuters.

Expectations are also growing that Germany’s government could ditch its balanced budget rules to up its spending.

READ MORE: Signs on strain on the global economy from Japan

The Euronext 100 and France’s CAC 40 (^FCHI) were both up 0.6% at around 9.45am in London, while Britain’s FTSE 100 (^FTSE) and Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) were both up 0.7%.

US stocks looked set for a higher open, with S&P500 futures (ES=F) and Dow Jones futures (YM=F) both 0.7% higher, while Nasdaq futures (NQ=F) were up 0.8%.

Overnight in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei (^N225) was up 0.7%, China’s Shanghai Composite index (000001.SS) grew by 2.1% and the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index (^HSI) rose even further, up 2.2%.

The stimulus hopes also dampened demand for bonds and gold.

Ocado shares rise on JP Morgan report

Ocado (OCDO.L) was the biggest gainer on Britain’s FTSE 100 (^FTSE) in early trading on Monday, up 3.5% at 9.50am.

A JP Morgan report on the grocery and tech firm said it had reached a “tipping point” in its profitability, according to Reuters, and had a superior model to its store-based rivals.

It also said it would continue to benefit from the shift to online shopping, pushing up Ocado’s shares.

Rival Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L) shares were up 3%, after reports it is not looking for an internal candidate to replace its CEO.

Outsourcing giant Mitie sells catering firm

CH&CO provides catering for the Queen, pictured with Boris Johnson. Photo: Victoria Jones/Pool via REUTERS

The UK outsourcing giant Mitie (MTO.L) saw its shares grow 2.5% after it said it would sell its catering and hospitality business for up to £85m ($103.4m) to CH&CO.

The company, which has more than 3,600 staff in the UK, has been trying to turn itself around after a series of profit warnings two years ago.

The sale is part of an effort to focus on its “core” technology-led, facilities management services. The buyer CH&CO provides catering services to clients including the Queen.

UK summer property sales at four-year high

Summer asking prices in Britain are up 1.2% on a year ago, according to property website Rightmove, while property sales now at their highest at this time of year since 2015.

The company said asking prices had slid 1% between July and August, but figures showed a “buying spree” meant the dip was far lower than usual and than the 2.3% drop in the same period last year.

“We often see an autumn activity bounce, but perhaps this year’s political activities have brought that forward into a summer surge as buyers have gone bolder and earlier than usual,” said Miles Shipside, a Rightmove director and housing market analyst.

Uber appoints new UK and Ireland boss after London mayor licence row

Former Uber London general manager Tom Elvidge answers questions. Photo: PA

Uber (UBER) has appointed a new UK and Ireland boss, just a month before it loses its licence to operate in London after a row with transport authorities run by mayor Sadiq Khan.

Melinda Roylett, former Europe chief at digital payment firm Square, will take over today, replacing Tom Elvidge.

Transport for London turned down Uber’s request to renew its licence in the UK capital in 2017, amid concerns over driver background checks and reported failings reporting serious crimes.

Uber appealed and was granted 15 months’ more time to operate, but this expires on 25 September.

READ MORE: Germany 'in a technical recession,' say Deutsche Bank