NatWest sinks to bottom of FTSE as Farage calls for whole board to resign

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Thanks for being with us. The City minister will meet bank bosses today to discuss concerns about closing customer accounts over their political views.

The gathering comes as the banking sector reels from the resignation of NatWest chief executive Dame Alison Rose following weeks of controversy over the decision by Coutts to “de-bank” Nigel Farage.

5 things to start your day 

1) Bill for Bank of England money printing balloons by £50bn Predicted losses on quantitative easing rise to £270bn amid bets on higher interest rates.

2) Unilever claims staying in Russia is its ‘least bad option’ as profits soar on price rises The new chief executive of Unilever defended its ethical record as questions mount up over so-called greedflation and its continued presence in Russia.

3) Google defies ChatGPT threat as sales jump Google has shrugged off fears that ChatGPT threatens its dominance in internet search after its parent company Alphabet posted nearly $75bn (£58bn) in sales.

4) Comment: Sunak’s net zero flip-flopping makes investing in the UK a fool’s game Boris Johnson once accused Keir Starmer of having “more flip-flops than Bournemouth beach”. Yet, the Government’s record leaves it in danger of rivalling the departure lounge at Rhodes airport.

5) Apple accused of ‘colluding’ with Amazon to keep iPhone prices artificially high Apple has been accused of striking a secret deal to keep the price of iPhone, Beats headphones and its other products on Amazon artificially high.

What happened overnight 

Asian stock markets retreated Wednesday after Wall Street hit a 15-month high ahead of a Federal Reserve meeting that traders hope will end with the final increase in this interest rate cycle.

Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul declined.

Investors expect the Fed to raise its key lending rate on Wednesday by 0.25 percentage points to a 22-year high.

Meanwhile, traders waited to see how China’s ruling Communist Party will carry out its promise to shore up sluggish economic growth. 

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong sank 0.6pc to 19,311.50, giving up part of Tuesday’s 4.1pc surge following the Chinese announcement. The Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.2pc to 3,225.75. It rose 2.1pc the previous session.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shed less than 0.1pc to 32,669.00 and the Kospi in Seoul lost 0.3pc to 2,627.26.

Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 surged 1pc after the government reported Australian inflation eased to 5.4pc in June from the previous month’s 5.5pc, reducing pressure on the central bank for another interest rate hike to cool upward pressure on prices.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose to 4,567.46 for its highest close since early April 2022.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.1pc to 35,438.07. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.6pc to 14,144.56. 

Microsoft posted tepid quarterly sales growth and forecast a continued slowdown in its Azure cloud-services business, overshadowing optimism about customer interest in new artificial intelligence-powered products. The shares dropped almost 4pc in late trading.

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