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  • Johnson's low-carbon agenda at risk as Dungeness nuclear plant shuts

  • Bitcoin falls more than 2pc

  • FTSE 100 trading flat

  • US markets fall on inflation and tax concerns

  • Matthew Lynn: Wind up furlough now before it chokes off our robust recovery

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08:24 AMActivist Cevian reveals Aviva stake and pushes for £5bn of capital return

Aviva shares rose more than 3pc this morning after activist investor Cevian Capital said the insurer should return £5bn of excess capital in 2022, after revealing it had built up a near 5pc stake in the British insurer.

"Aviva has been poorly managed for many years, and its high-quality core businesses have been held back by high costs and a series of bad strategic decisions," Christer Gardell, managing partner and co-founder of Cevian said, adding Aviva should have a value of more than £8 per share within three years, and more than double its dividend to 45p.

The statement puts the new chief executive Amanda Blanc, who joined in July, under pressure to accelerate the pace of disposals.

Aviva has sold eight businesses since Blanc's appointment and said last month it had raised £7.5bn from disposals and planned to return money to shareholders, without sharing speicifics.

08:11 AMTrump calls Bitcoin 'a scam' threatening the dollar's dominance

Donald Trump has called Bitcoin a "scam" that is "competing against the dollar", following news that El Salvador planned to make the world's biggest cryptocurrency legal tender.

Speaking to Fox Business, the former President said he wanted the dollar to be the "currency of the world".

Some countries, including Iran, have in the past tried to use cryptocurrencies as a way to evade sanctions and circumvent a financial system dominated by the dollar.

However experts are divided about whether Bitcoin really does pose a threat to America's influence.

In May, blockchain analytics firm Elliptic said at its current level of mining, Iran's bitcoin production would amount to revenues close $1bn a year – allowing the country to buy imports and lessen the impact of US sanctions.

Story continues08:01 AMEasyjet share price tries to regain lossesBritish holidaymakers returning home on the last day before the UK designates Portugal as a Covid Amber Zone – ASA/GC /SOLARPIX.COM

Easyjet's share price was trying to claw back losses this morning (up 1.6pc) after the government removed Portugal from the quarantine-free travel 'green list' – a decision described by EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren as a "huge blow" that hurts both the business and travellers.

Despite gains this morning, the airline's share price remains almost 5pc lower than the beginning of May when the travel industry was more optimistic and hoped the vaccine roll-out would bring more consistency with rules around overseas travel.

07:27 AMStrong earning reports push up the FTSE

The FTSE 100 is edging higher, after opening flat this morning – boosted by earnings updates from alternative asset manager Intermediate Capital Group (up 4.3pc) and British American Tobacco (up 1.9pc).

Intermediate Capital Group posted a 19pc jump in its annual third-party assets under management (AUM) as coronavirus vaccines and government support measures boosts investor sentiment.

Meanwhile British American Tobacco raised its annual revenue growth forecast to more than 5pc as the cigarette maker reaps the rewards of pivoting to newer products like e-cigarettes and tobacco-heating devices.

However, gains on the blue chip index were limited on the FTSE 100 by a fall in heavyweight oil majors BP (down 0.5pc) and Royal Dutch Shell (down 0.8pc) following slipping crude prices.

The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index advanced 0.2pc, as mortgage provider Paragon Banking Group lifted 4.6pc after reporting new mortgage loans jumper 45pc in the half year to March. The group unveiled a £40m share buy scheme as its profits surged.

07:10 AMFTSE opens flat

The FTSE 100 has opened flat at around 7,081 points while the FTSE 250 is up 0.1pc at 22,940 points.

Following a mixed session on Wall Street, markets in London are set for another uneventful day. Instead, drama is coming from cryptocurrencies – which are are falling around 10pc this morning.

Memestocks AMC Entertainment and GameStop were also both rallying yesterday as investors attempted to bump them up into the large-cap Russell 1000 index.

The annual re-ordering is based on information available on rank day – this year, May 7 – Catherine Yoshimoto, FTSE Russell’s director of product management told Bloomberg.

An existing Russell 2000 index member would have had to have a total market cap exceeding $7.3bn in order to move into the Russell 1000 index which tracks the highest-ranking stocks in the Russell 3000 Index, she said.

Going by that, AMC – with a market cap of $4.28bn on May 7 – would fall short of inclusion, while GameStop and its $11.97 billion market cap would make it.

06:35 AMBitcoin ransom recovered

Bitcoin has fallen more than 2pc and tumbled almost 6pc at one point in Asian trading. The cause of the latest slide is unclear but could be related to the recovery of a high-profile Bitcoin ransom in the US.

The US Justice Department on Monday said it had recovered some $2.3m in cryptocurrency ransom paid by Colonial Pipeline, cracking down on hackers who launched the most disruptive US cyberattack on record.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said investigators had seized 63.7 Bitcoins paid by Colonial after last month's hack of its systems that led to massive shortages at US East Coast gas stations.

The fact that investigators “could trace the untraceable and seize it might be undermining the libertarian, free-of-government-control case,” Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at Oanda, told Bloomberg. The implications of that may have provoked the selling, he said.

06:30 AMCryptocurrencies fall

Good morning. Bitcoin has resumed sliding while the FTSE is tipped to open flat.

5 things to start your day

1) Johnson's low-carbon agenda at risk as French shut nuclear plant: Concerns UK's net zero target could be missed as technical problems force EDF to bring forward closure of Kent power plant by seven years.

2) Sadiq Khan to axe Tube and bus services in brutal cost cuts: London mayor must save £900m a year under terms of TfL’s latest bailout from Westminster after business model was wrecked by Covid.

3) Amazon transforms home hubs and door bells into stealthy wireless network: Tens of millions of Amazon smart home devices across the US will become transmitters for a new wireless network.

4) Corporation tax plan targets Amazon's cloud computing business: The OECD, which is at the centre of the plans, is considering treating Amazon Web Services, its cloud computing division, as a separate entity.

5) Sunak vows to protect the City in face of Brussels bid to steal its crown: The Chancellor told bank bosses in a private call that the City will remain "competitive and dynamic" despite Brussels bid to steal its crown.

What happened overnight

Asian stocks opened higher on Tuesday, cruising in the slipstream of a record high overnight gauge of global equity markets, with investors hoping for inflation and monetary policy clues later in a week full of key central bank meetings and data points.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.32pc at 0130GMT, while Japan's Nikkei 225 edged up 0.35pc, as the country revised first-quarter data showing the economy shrank at a slower pace than initially reported.

MSCI's gauge of Asia Pacific stocks outside Japan rose 0.11pc, following the path taken by its All-Country World Index, which advanced 0.1pc on Monday, hitting its sixth record close in seven days.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index opened up 0.4pc while China's benchmark CSI300 Index opened flat.

Coming up today

  • Corporate: British American Tobacco, Paragon Banking, RWS Holdings (Interim); Card Factory, Intermediate Capital, Oxford Instruments, Palace Capital, Vp (Full year)

  • Economics: BRC retail sales monitor (UK), GDP Q1 final (Japan, eurozone), industrial production, ZEW surveys (Germany)