UK car production is down for first time since 2009 – Brexit worry is clearly underming sales (more below). The Asian share sell-off continued into Wednesday, albeit at a lower clip, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 down -0.83%. The Hang Seng managed a +0.38% lift so a sell-off was not universal. Again, the South Korean Kospi showed robustness helped by a strong showing from Samsung quarterly earnings.
Last night President Donald Trump, in his State of the Union address, was rather more conciliatory on the domestic side – lots of use of the word 'together' – though there were warnings on North Korea and overseas aid funding. Notably, there was no major infrastructure announcements. Or the current investigation into Russian 2016 election meddling. Strategy, overall, was thin on the ground.
The dollar rose initially on Trump’s words but fell back; at 7am the spot price was 88.94, down -0.26%. The pound was +0.27% higher at 1.4192 and +0.06% up on the euro at 1.1413. Meanwhile speaking en route to China, PM Theresa May says the full economic Brexit impact assessment will be given – but only after a Brussels deal is achieved.
- UK FTSE 100 7,587.98 -1.09%
- DAX 13,197.71 -0.95%
- CAC 40 5,473.78 -0.87%
- Euro Stoxx 600 396.12 -0.92%
- Dow 26,076.89 -1.37%
- S&P 500 2,822.43 -1.09%
- Nasdaq 7,402.48 -0.86%
- Nikkei 225 23,098.29 -0.83%
- Gold 1,347.40 +0.56%
- Oil WTI 64.08 -0.65%
UK car manufacturing slides
Latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), shows a -9.8% fall in domestic demand to 336,600 vehicles with a -3% fall in overall vehicles leaving UK factories in 2017. Exports to the EU fell by -5% – disappointing given the weakness of the pound over 2017.
Investment in the UK motor industry shrank hard, down from £1.66bn in 2016 to £1.1bn for 2017. “People are waiting as long as they can before making their investments,” SMMT boss Mike Hawes said. However there was better news from Asia with non-EU demand rising from the US, China and Japan.
SSE positive on dividend rise
Utility player SSE confirmed it will deliver adjusted earnings per share in the range of 116p to 120p. SSE still expects to report an annual full-year dividend increase that keeps pace with RPI inflation.
The utility operator said that the tie-up with nPower remains on course and will be completed by the last quarter of 2018, or the first quarter of 2019. “There will be a greater focus on creating value from owning, operating and developing assets and infrastructure,” it said this morning.
SSE’s share price (1293.00p) performance has been dismal though, down -13% in the last 12 months and more than -5% in the last quarter.