Asian markets were in catch-up mode somewhat on Friday following Japan’s public holiday on Thursday and more mid-week weakness from the dollar. The Nikkei climbed +0.12% while the Hang Seng rose +0.56% with strong performances from Ping An Insurance and WH Group.
Theresa May makes for Brussels this morning to push for negotiations progress from European Council President Donald Tusk. It’s thought the PM may be willing to put up to £40bn on the table to re-energise discussions and accelerate what the UK wants – trade talks.
However some Europeans are disturbed by on-going UK Cabinet chaos and a lack of coherence emerging; Boris Johnson and David Davis come in for particular criticism. Will a concrete cash offer actually arrive? Overnight the pound was down -0.11% against the dollar at 1.3294 while the euro was -0.05% weaker at 1.1845.
Today, high streets almost everywhere undergo the onslaught of Black Friday. It’s estimated £2.5bn could be spent in the UK with £10bn over the Black Friday weekend as a whole. Consumer group Which? warns that many deals look poor. There is also worry about online shopping Buy Now conversion rates. Punishingly low margins also lurk for many retailers.
- UK FTSE 100 7,417.24 -0.02%
- Dow 23,526.18 -0.27%
- S&P 500 2,597.08 -0.08%
- Nasdaq 6,867.36 +0.07%
- Nikkei 225 22,550.85 +0.12%
- DAX 13,008.55 -0.05%
- CAC 40 5,379.54 +0.50%
- Gold 1,295.10 -0.13%
- Oil WTI 58.43 +0.71%
Black Friday margin and online conversion worry
While UK internet retail traffic will surge on Black Friday so will online abandonment rates – that decision to ‘Buy Now’. Low conversion ratios means many retailers will fail to make money warns Morten Tonnesen of ad tech marketing player Ve Global.
“So much work goes into attracting customers to your site for Black Friday be it adtech, search and social media.” But Internet traffic never shows up on the balance sheet he says. Some of that reluctance to buy is blamed on interest rate rises, job insecurity and uncertainty in the housing market – “and whatever Brexit means for us.”
This morning Sainsbury's and Argos boss John Rogers told Wake up to Money that Black Friday planning is a year in the marking. But while a “fantastic” day for some shoppers he acknowledged it was margin-thin for many. A reason that some brands like Fat Face will not take part.
Retail profits criticised; Babcock Int and Merlin Entertainments face FTSE 100 demotion
Retail expert Andrew Jennings, previously responsible for House of Fraser and New York department store Saks Fifth Avenue, told the Evening Standard Black Friday force-marched some to slash prices in the pre-Christmas run-up at a time when they can afford it least.
“As a retailer I’m totally against it — the lead up to Christmas should be a great opportunity to sell at full price. The sale period is getting longer so to take a price cut at Christmas is against everything I believe in in terms of getting a retailer profitable.”
Meanwhile takeaway food player Just Eat could be set to make a FTSE 100 debut after its stock market value overtook Sainsbury’s. Just Eat, a digital ordering player, has been on an acquisition frenzy and its market valuation has soared – up +40% in the last 12 months.
Details of the quarterly FTSE 100 re-shuffle will be released on Wednesday. Both Babcock International and Merlin Entertainments, owner of Alton Towers and Legoland, face FTSE 100 demotion.