Following a stronger US lead last night – the Nasdaq finished almost +1.9% up while the S&P 500 lifted +1.34% higher – Asian stocks saw more buoyancy on Thursday. In Hong Kong the Hang Seng soared almost +2% helping it back across 31,000 while in Japan the Nikkei surged +1.5%, despite more pressure on the yen. However volumes overall were limited from the Lunar New Year holiday.
In South Africa Jacob Zuma quit as president in a TV address which propelled the rand to its highest level since early 2015 (the rand had fallen back to 11.99 on Tuesday, today 11.73). It’s likely Zuma’s replacement, Cyril Ramaphosa, will be sworn in tomorrow. “I have come to the decision to resign with immediate effect, even though I disagree with the leadership of my organisation,” Zuma said.
Overnight the pound edged up slightly to 1.4017 while the euro was +0.07% higher against the dollar at 1.2473. The dollar spot was -0.26% down at 88.79; there was more concern on sell signs for US 10-year Treasuries with yields pushing to four-year highs, more than +2.9%. Today, Spanish consumer price index numbers emerge plus a eurozone trade update at 10am.
- UK FTSE 100 7,213.97 +0.64%
- DAX 12,33916 +1.17%
- CAC 40 5,165.26 +1.10%
- Euro Stoxx 600 374.53 +1.07%
- Dow 24,893.49 +1.03%
- S&P 500 2,698.63 +1.34%
- Nasdaq 7,143.62 +1.86%
- Nikkei 225 21,464.98 +1.47%
- Gold 1,356.50 -0.11%
- Oil WTI 61.48 +1.45%
GKN brands Melrose bid as “misleading” and “opportunistic”
This morning more jostling on the GKN front with the aerospace engineer firm telling shareholders that the hostile bid from Melrose undervalues the business and is highly opportunistic. In a note to shareholders released at 7am, GKN said the terms, as they stand, also fundamentally undervalue GKN.
“GKN believes that Melrose's stated premium of 22% is misleading. Melrose's market capitalisation is significantly smaller than GKN's, the offer is 80% in shares and Melrose brings no industrial synergies.”
GKN added it remains six times the size of Melrose's largest acquisition and believes Melrose's management team “lacks relevant experience at Board level in several critical areas”. GKN shares were up +0.64% this morning at 412.50p.
Indivior and Schneider Electric claim revenues boost
FTSE 250 pharma player Indivior says net revenues in 2017 were +3% up on a mix of stronger US market growth despite some generic drug competition. On an adjusted basis full year 2017 operating profits climbed +4% to $403m (FY 2016 $387m).
Elsewhere European multinational Schneider Electric says adjusted earnings finished at €3.65bn for the full year with revenue growth up +4.6% for the last quarter. However the group cautioned on currency squalls for the next year, which often turn on the company.
Breaking news: Laura Ashley warns on profits following weaker Christmas sales; pre-tax profits have been clipped close to 50% to £4.3m.