BUSINESS LIVE: Recession confirmed; Thames Water survival fears; Lloyd’s of London swings to profit

The FTSE 100 will open at 8am. Among the companies with reports and trading updates today are Thames Water, Lloyd’s of London, Spirent Communications, AO World and JD Sports. Read the Thursday 28 March Business Live blog below.

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Trader Tom Hayes vows to fight on in bid to clear his name as Court of Appeal upholds Libor rigging conviction

Convicted Libor trader Tom Hayes has vowed to fight on to clear his name after losing his appeal against conviction.

Hayes, who was jailed in 2015 for manipulating benchmark lending rate Libor, will now seek to take his case to the Supreme Court.

The former Citigroup and UBS trader claims he was made a scapegoat for the financial crisis.

Recession ‘almost certainly already over’

Thomas Pugh, economist at RSM UK:

‘This morning’s data confirmed that the UK endured the smallest of recessions in the second half of last year. But it’s almost certainly already over.

‘A jump in retail sales and an improvement in business surveys, such as the PMIs, point to the economy improving in the first quarter of this year. We then expect growth to accelerate in the second half of this year and into 2025 as sharply lower inflation, tax cuts and falling interest rates give households an income boost.

‘The big unknown is how much of this rise in incomes households will actually spend. Indeed, despite real households’ disposable income growing by 0.7% in Q4, the household saving ratio rose to 10.2% in the latest quarter, up from 10.1% in Quarter 3, suggesting that households were still rebuilding saving buffers at the end of last year.

‘The good news is that consumer confidence has been improving gradually over the last year and UK consumers’ confidence in their personal finances has reached the highest since 2021 as the impact of rising real wages filters through into people’s pockets, even though consumers remain cautious overall.

‘We expect this to continue over the next year. That suggests household savings patterns will start to return to more normal levels in the first half of the year.

‘On that basis, we think the improvement in households’ real incomes that is set to intensify later this year will translate into an increase in spending that will kick start the economic recovery and finally drag the UK out of stagnation.’

UK recession confirmed

Britain’s economy entered a recession in the second half of last year, fresh data from the Office for National Statistics confirms.

GDP shrank by 0.1 per cent in the third quarter and by 0.3 per cent in the fourth quarter, unchanged from preliminary estimates.

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