Asian shares today followed the Friday US shares skid – the Dow tumbled -2.54% – with the Japanese Nikkei down -2.55% and the Hang Seng falling -1.08%. The reasons are multiple and overlapping: worry about rising US inflation - average US earnings numbers for January increased more than expected on Friday, the best monthly uptick since 2009 – plus concern over a bruised bond market.
While global growth remains strong the fresh share price falls sees the return of something missing for some time – volatility. However the new share price thump feels more like a long overdue correction rather than something more fundamental.
The new Fed Chair, Jerome Powell, adds an element of unknown for the markets. While interest rates are rising they still remain historically low, meaning less room for maneouvre for Powell, still. A rate meeting for the US Fed is not till later in March.
Despite some crashing equity valuations currencies were a haven of calm in comparison with the pound down -0.06% to 1.4101 and 1.325 against the euro, a -0.09% fall. The dollar spot price was +0.04% higher at 89.20. Expect more stock market falls as markets open this morning. A rash of European PMI data is en route, including UK PMI services numbers at 9.30am.
- UK FTSE 100 7,443.43 -0.63%
- DAX 12,785.16 -1.68%
- CAC 40 5,364.98 -1.64%
- Euro Stoxx 600 388.07 -1.38%
- Dow 25,520.96 -2.54%
- S&P 500 2,762.13 -2.12%
- Nasdaq 7,240.95 -1.96%
- Nikkei 225 22,682.08 -2.55%
- Gold 1,334.30 -0.22%
- Oil WTI 64.87 -0.89%
Ryanair profits climb despite cancellations fiasco
Ryanair has announced a +12% hike in profits for the last quarter of 2017 despite widespread industrial unrest for some of this period. Net profits landed at €106m helped by the demise of some competitors (Air Berlin and Monarch).
Passenger numbers were also up in January. Average fares fell -4% in the last quarter but the all-important ‘extras’ – priority boarding plus excess baggage, in-flight food and beverages – saw a +12% revenue lift for the airline. However Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary is playing it cool on prospects for ticket price climbs for the year ahead.
“We do not share the optimism of competitors and market commentators for summer 2018 fare rises,” he said in a statement. “We would, even at this early date, urge extreme caution on investor and analyst assumptions for fares” to March 2019. Separately, Wizz Air says passenger numbers were up +24% in January.
Lloyds bans Bitcoin on the 'never-never'
This morning the UK’s biggest banking group Lloyds said it was banning customers from buying Bitcoin via credit cards. “Across Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland, Halifax and MBNA, we do not accept credit card transactions involving the purchase of cryptocurrencies,” Lloyds said in a statement to the media.
The ban includes Bank of Scotland and Halifax customers. At 7.15am Bitcoin was valued at $8,081 following a near $20,000 valuation peak just before Christmas. Bitcoin though remains massively above its $900 position a year ago.
The increasing unflattering attention on cryptos may help push valuations lower. Facebook has banned Bitcoin ads while regulators, from South Korea to Russia and India, have also warned on the cryptocurrency. There were reports of Bank of America blocking cryptocurrency purchases on Friday.
Breaking news: Tesco has named Charles Wilson as its news boss when its Booker merger completes.