Boeing shares – up more than 8.3% – helped shove the Dow Jones past the 21,700 threshold today. Markets are still eyeing the up-coming US Federal Reserve’s interest rate update (6pm London time). The odds on a rate climb for August are low but it's the inference and nuance of chairman Yellen’s words that matters, particularly on inflation, currently too low at 1.6% for the Fed’s comfort.
Currency markets remain broadly stable for the main pairs. The euro was down -0.15% at $1.1634 against the dollar at 4pm while the pound was up 0.21% at $1.3051, helped slightly by the expected (and lacklustre) 0.3% climb in UK second quarter GDP earlier.
Better news for oil with Brent crude hitting $50. The oil price leap was boosted by the US Energy Information Administration reporting more pressure on US commercial crude oil inventories. The FTSE 100 ended 15 points higher at 7,449.80.
- UK FTSE 100 7,449.80 +0.20%
- Dow 21,711.78 +0.45%
- S&P 500 2,478.08 +0.04%
- Nasdaq 6,420.41 +0.13%
- Nikkei 225 20,050.16 +0.48%
- DAX 12,303.28 +0.32%
- CAC 40 5,191.75 +0.59%
- Gold 1,254.60 -0.31%
- Oil WTI 48.64 +1.57%
Shoppers and film keep UK’s economy going
The UK’s dismal 0.3% GDP uptick for the second quarter of the year illuminated a big slowdown in construction and manufacturing. “While services such as retail, and film production and distribution showed some improvement in the second quarter, a weaker performance from construction and manufacturing pulled down overall growth,” said Darren Morgan, head of national accounts at the ONS.
What must be particularly frustrating for the likes of the chancellor Philip Hammond is the weakness of the pound. Sterling’s frailty should be powering the UK’s manufacturing exports, but isn’t. Very likely more Brexit investment uncertainty and higher import costs are playing their part.
Meanwhile a report in Der Spiegel last week alleging cartel accusations between VW and Daimler on diesel admissions has forced the two giant carmakers to hold emergency talks today.
"We are well advised not to take part in speculation," Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche said, the BBC reported, adding: "The automotive industry is currently making headlines, and not good ones." The EU is continuing to investigate German car makers including BMW and Porsche.
Meanwhile Top Gear presenter James May told The World at One this afternoon that the government’s just-announced ban on all new petrol and diesel cars by 2040 was going to put huge pressure on the UK’s transport infrastructure.
“Do we have replacement batteries on the cars and can the national grid cope with the increased use of electricity?"
Breaking news: President Trump has indicated a new jobs announcement is imminent, possibly involving Apple.