The Asian spending spree returned on Friday – stock markets across the region saw solid gains with the Hang Seng surging +0.63% to 31,321 (the Hang Seng up more than +8.5% in the last month). China Shenhua Energy and CNOOC Ltd took the biggest interest today, up +2.71% and +2.46% respectively.
A cooler eye though from South Korea and Japan where Samsung shares, down -0.93%, were again on the defensive. A more robust yen kept stock sentiment realistic in Tokyo.
Over in the US President Trump says (again) he wants to pull out of the North American Trade Agreement. "He's not actually going to do it. We are looking at this as a negotiating tactic to try to get what he wants. This is his mode of operation," Carl Weinberg, chief economist at High Frequency Economics, told the BBC earlier.
Meanwhile gold continues to crawl forward, hitting $1,327 helped by more dollar weakness (the greenback is now at its lowest point since September, at 91.75 spot).
Just after 7am the pound was up +0.07% at 1.3544 against the dollar – the pound is increasingly looking supported towards $1.36 despite some weakness at the start of the week (Brexit doom-mongery, mostly) – but -0.11% down against the euro.
- UK FTSE 100 7,762.94 +0.19%
- DAX 13,202.90 -0.59%
- CAC 40 5,488.55 -0.29%
- Euro Stoxx 600 397.25 -0.34%
- Dow 25,574.73 +0.81%
- S&P 500 2,767.56 +0.70%
- Nasdaq 7,211.78 +0.81%
- Nikkei 225 23,653.82 -0.24%
- Gold 1,329.70 +0.54%
- Oil WTI 63.39 -0.63%
Ministers hold crisis discussions with Carillion
There is much focus on Carillion today. Whitehall commences talks with the troubled contactor – Carillion shares are down a shocking -90% in the last 12 months – this morning amid worry Carillion is close to falling apart. Carillion is deeply embedded across government contracts, spanning transport and defence.
The immediate challenge is a short-term cash need of around £250m. Given its super-precarious position how many banks will be willing to make that amount of credit available?
Carillion has 43,000 staff overall and a debt overhang of £900m-plus not to mention a towering pension deficit, thought to be around £580m. Piling on the misery, the Wolverhampton-based company is also being investigated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Carillion's new boss Andrew Davies takes his chair from 22 January.
Christmas trading bump for Mitchells & Butlers
Pubs operator Mitchells & Butlers released a 14-week trading update at 7am. Trading through the three week festive season saw like-for-like sales growth of +3.9%, Mitchells claims. Christmas Day was a record-breaker with like-for-like sales growth of +5.4% and 225,000 meals sold.
Shrinking the comparatives to a 7-week period “sales performance has been encouraging, although impacted by the adverse weather particularly in the run up to the festive season.” Like-for-like sales growth year to date is up +0.5%.
It has been a mixed trading year though: M&B shares are up almost +19% in the last six months but up just +2.5% in the last year; the company has not made clear whether it will pay an interim dividend for the full year. Just in the last week M&B shares were more than -4% down at 267.60p.
Yesterday Numis Securities downgraded both M&B and Greene King citing labour costs and sector gearing.
Breaking news: Angela Merkel's party reportedly claim fresh 'breakthrough' on new coalition.