Asian bourses today showed little sign of a stock market cool-off. Japan’s Nikkei pushed higher again, up +0.89%, meaning the Nikkei remains at a 26-year high. Asahi Group and Kobe Steel were both strongly up, +4.8% and +4.5%; Sony Corp climbed +3.5%.
There was a substantial uplift for Toshiba – its shares closed at a two-month high – after the tech giant managed to rid itself of troubled nuclear business Westinghouse. There are a few grey clouds flecking the Japanese economy, though: its service sector dipped to a three-month low in December, a new survey suggests.
In Hong Kong beer makers saw shares foam higher after some makers hiked prices to offset rising packaging and production costs. China Resources Beer surged more than +10%. Elsewhere the Asia Dow rose +0.65% while the Indian Sensex was up +0.37%.
Currency-wise, the pound, supported by improving Markit Services PMI data, up from 53.8 in November to 54.2 in December, was +0.03% higher overnight to 1.3555. The euro slipped -0.11% against sterling to 0.8894. Against the yen the pound is up +0.3% while the euro is +0.21% higher against the Japanese currency.
- UK FTSE 100 7,695.88 +0.32%
- DAX 13,167.89 +1.46%
- CAC 40 5,413.69 +1.55%
- Dow 24,075.13 +0.61%
- S&P 500 2,723.00 +0.40%
- Nasdaq 7,077.91 +0.18%
- Nikkei 225 23,714.53 +0.89%
- Gold 1,319.40 -0.17%
- Oil WTI 61.95 -0.10%
easyJet December passenger numbers improve
This morning easyJet announced passenger stats for December. There was a +5.5% passenger climb to 5,884,304 while easyJet's load factor - a key efficiency revenue indicator – improved +1.5% from 89.9% to 91.4%. However cancellations climbed: 580 compared to 330 in December 2016.
The main cancellations contributors were bad weather causing 400 flights to be abandoned. “Runway closures making up the majority of the remaining cancellations and some impact from industrial action,” said easyJet.
easyJet shares at 1,509.50p are almost +5% up in the last week and +17.6% higher for the last three months, helped by snapping up profitable new slots from collapsed Air Berlin. Over 12 months the airline’s shares have risen almost +50%. Panmure Gordon recently hiked easyJet from Sell to Hold.
UK car sales slip as diesel worry rises
There is more creeping unease about the state of the UK car industry. New UK car sales dipped for the first time in six years, new Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders data shows. The total number of cars registered was 2.54m, down -5.6%. Some of the tail-off is down to slowing PCP sales growth, a huge driver of new registrations in the last five years.
But the real horror story is diesel registrations, slumping -17% over the year as pollution and tax concern accelerate. Public consciousness about diesel cars were stoked with the VW ‘dieselgate’ scandal. Clean air campaigners continue to warn against nitrogen oxide levels despite diesel cars being more fuel efficient, carrying lower CO2 emissions.
UK car dealer Pendragon issued a profits warning in October. The SMMT predicts new car registrations could fall by as much as -5% again in 2018.