Asian stocks continued their New Year surge today following a stronger tailwind from the US yesterday, including a +1.5% leap from the Nasdaq. To wit, the Chinese CSI 300 climbed +1.2% while the FTSE Straits Times Index was up +0.46%. The Taiex was up almost +0.90%. There was a share price bump for LG Electronics in South Korea after rumours LG will supply OLED screens for Apple. South Korea’s Lotte Corp also surged +5% on news it would merge units, plus Hyundai Heavy Industries saw a +10% gain on better sales.
Down under, Australian metal producers are looking positive as commodity prices have firmed: the ASX 300 Metals & Mining Index climbed +2% higher today. In the background oil has hit a $67-plus intraday high as Iranian concerns mount. However there is still abundant shale oil pressure generally: despite severe US winter weather and increased US natural gas demand, US gas prices remain steady thanks to the influence of increasingly-dominant shale.
This morning we have a rash of corporate earnings including Next. UK Construction PMI numbers come through at 9.30am following new German consumer price index and unemployment data. Sterling was steady overnight at 1.3595 while the euro was -0.12% against the pound at 0.8857.
- UK FTSE 100 7,648.10 -0.52%
- DAX 12,871.39 -0.36%
- CAC 40 5,288.60 -0.45%
- Dow 24,824.01 +0.42%
- S&P 500 2,695.81 +0.83%
- Nasdaq 7,006.90 +1.50%
- Nikkei 225 22,764.94 -0.08%
- Gold 1,316.10 0.00%
- Oil WTI 60.39 +0.03%
Cold weather warms up Next sales
Next has reported a +1.5% climb on pre-Xmas November-December sales. Although bricks-and-mortar sales were -6.1% down online sales surged +13.6%. Consequently Next is boosting its profit guidance by £8m to £725m.
Subdued consumer demand driven by a decline in real incomes for many plus cost inflation woes remain big challenges for 2018 Next warns, whose share price is now +30% up on a year ago at 607.50p (though only +10% up over three years).
“However, we believe," it said in a release at 7am, "that some of these headwinds will ease as we move through the year; we already know that cost price inflation will reduce to 2% in the first half and believe it will disappear in the second half.”
FCA moves on troubled Carillion
Under siege construction operator Carillion announced this morning that the FCA is investigating it over the timeliness and content of announcements made by it between 7 December 2016 to 10 July 2017.
Carillion says it’s cooperating fully with the FCA. Carillion shares are down more than -90% in the last year alone, currently worth 17.86p following a year high of almost 240p. The construction operator has endured significant write-downs plus ex chief exec Richard Howson resigning midsummer.
Despite this Carillion remains one of the biggest contractors for the government. Before Christmas interim boss Keith Cochrane claimed the company still had the support of its lenders.
Breaking news: The UK's Competition and Markets Authority is upping its investigation into the $1.25bn takeover by Dutch bottler Refresco for Cott of Canada. "These companies supply well-known UK shops and brands with soft drinks, who in turn sell to thousands of people daily," the CMA says. "It is therefore important that we address any issues to ensure that shoppers do not lose out." Online betting operator Plus500 has upped full-year profit expectations due to more crypto-currency interest.