(Bloomberg) -- A trio of pharmaceutical companies faced an extraordinary market rout in the summer, totaling a combined $40 billion in market value, off the back of concerns around litigation in relation to Zantac, a once-popular heartburn drug. Yesterday’s US court ruling rejecting medical evidence will therefore be a relief to the companies, including London-listed GSK and Haleon. Meanwhile, a sharp fall in UK house prices spells further pain for homeowners, with high interest rates showing little sign of easing in the near term.
Here’s the key business news from London this morning:
In The City
GSK Plc: The pharmaceutical giant says it will continue to defend itself “vigorously,” against legal claims that heartburn drug Zantac causes cancer, after a Florida judge tossed out the cases on scientific grounds.
- The judge said plaintiffs’ scientific experts used “unreliable methodologies” to conclude the drug degrades into NDMA inside of the human body, in her ruling
- GSK’s New York-listed shares rose after the announcement yesterday
Moonpig Group Plc: Order volumes at the greeting card retailer was impacted by Royal Mail’s industrial action during September and October, impacting the delivery of cards-only orders.
- Meanwhile, in October and November trading conditions have become “progressively more challenging,” causing the company to restate its full year revenue guidance
Mitchells & Butlers Plc: The pub chain expects costs to increase by about £1.8 billion over the current year, up between 10% to 12% excluding any efforts to mitigate prices increases.
UK Property: House prices fell at the sharpest pace in 14 years in November after interest rates surged, reducing the affordability of properties, Halifax said.
- The mortgage lender said prices fell 2.3%, the third consecutive decline
Britain and the US agreed to work together to ensure liquefied natural gas keeps flowing next year in an effort to underpin energy supplies threatened by Russia’s war in Ukraine. The UK will also sign its third pact with a US state in the absence of a bilateral free trade agreement.
The UK government is fighting a losing battle with unions over public-sector pay that will only extend strikes and delay wage inflation, two senior economists warned.
Families, meanwhile, are having to make tough decisions to cut back on presents and Christmas dinner as inflation squeezes finances.
In Case You Missed It
The government will move away from talking about a “Big Bang 2” for the City of London, in part a recognition of the fact that changes will be gradual due to their complexity and opposition from critics. The plans may include reversing the EU MiFID II ban on banks bundling the costs of company research with other fees as well as a deregulation of trading rules to boost flexibility for investors.
Elsewhere, Vodafone Group Plc and Three UK are battling to overcome a raft of regulatory and political hurdles threatening to derail efforts to create Britain’s largest mobile operator, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.
British American Tobacco Plc, Sports Direct-owner Frasers Group Plc and construction firm Balfour Beatty Plc are due to report tomorrow. Frasers could see its strategy of elevating its offering sustain revenue even as shoppers rein in discretionary spending, says Bloomberg Intelligence, while a report that the EU is mulling “aggressive” levies on vapes and cigarettes is seen as potentially worrisome for BAT.
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--With assistance from Kwaku Gyasi.
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