FTSE 100, house prices, tax rises, Zoom, Unilever: your commercial news round-up

updated on 02 September 2020

As teachers across the country prepare to welcome back students into the classroom for the first time since March, there are a number of other important updates for you to catch up on in this week’s commercial news round-up.

  • In this morning’s early trading the FTSE 100 increased 1.3% to 5,940 points, after falling sharply by 1.9% on Tuesday. Property groups Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon and Berkley rose sharply on the FTSE 100, with housebuilder Barratt Developments rising 7%, making it the biggest riser on the FTSE 100 after a rebound in demand.
  • As lockdown restrictions were eased, UK house prices grew at the fastest pace in 16 years last month, with the average house price rising to £224,123 in August. According to data from building society Nationwide, this average price is the highest on record. House prices have increased by 3.7% over the past 12 months despite the UK having to weather the unprecedented impact of the global pandemic and subsequent recession, as well as the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, and 2019’s general election. In a bid to prevent a major slump in house prices as a result of coronavirus, Chancellor Rishi Sunak introduced a stamp duty holiday, which will be available until 1 April 2021.
  • A rise in corporation tax and capital gains tax, among other measures, could be introduced in a bid to “plug the budget black hole left by the government’s coronavirus response”, according to City AM. Plans to implement £30 billion in tax rises are being drawn up by Sunak, with other measures including a break to the pension triple-lock guarantee and a cut in foreign aid being considered.  
  • Following a surge in virtual events and calls as a result of the global pandemic, video conferencing platform Zoom has reported a growth in revenue of 355% to £494 million in the second quarter of the company’s financial year, which ended in July. Meanwhile, related profits grew from $5.5 million (2019) to £138 million.
  • In a bid to reduce carbon emissions, multinational consumer goods company Unilever will invest £890 million in an effort to remove fossil fuels from its cleaning products by 2030. The fossil fuels will be replaced with plant-based ingredients and marine sources such as algae, according to the company. By replacing the petrochemicals, which make up 46% of the company’s overall carbon footprint, with more sustainable ingredients Unilever will reduce its carbon footprint by up to 20%.

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