Prime Minister Theresa May saw her Brussels dash end in frustration yesterday as Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission President, rejected an agreement following DUP objections. There is still an expectation a deal will be struck in time for an EU summit next week, but time is getting tight.
The pound was at 1.3437 close to 7am, down -0.27% while sterling was -0.22% lower against the euro at 1.1326. Sterling still seems pitched between potential for big gains – and even big falls, depending on how discussions go. The volatility is unprecedented though the overall direction seems to be erring north – currently.
Even if an agreement is struck and trade discussions commence, there is little UK Cabinet agreement on what looks like a working relationship with the EU in the medium and long term. So sterling volatility is likely to continue, though at a possibly higher floor.
Overnight in Asia another tech sell-off was spawned hitting Taiwanese and Japanese stocks; a modest hike in the yen also played its part in pushing Japanese stocks south though shares in Japanese retailer Uniqlo saw a two-year high. The South Korean Kospi was up +0.2%. Bitcoin has seen a little less volatility in the last 24 hours, trading at close to $11,625.
- UK FTSE 100 7,338.97 +0.53%
- Dow 24,290.05 +0.24%
- S&P 500 2,639.44 -0.11%
- Nasdaq 6,775.37 -1.05%
- Nikkei 225 22,622.38 -0.73%
- DAX 13,058.55 +1.53%
- CAC 40 5,389.29 +1.36%
- Gold 1,277.70 0.00%
- Oil WTI 57.40 -0.10%
Provident Financial's woes continue – car loan business under FCA probe
Provident Financial’s car loan arm Moneybarn is to be investigated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The FCA is concerned how Moneybarn evaluates and scores loan applications. There’s also worry around how Moneybarn responds to customers under financial pressure.
“The Company will work collaboratively with the FCA to investigate the remaining concerns and resolve any outstanding related issues as soon as practicable,” Provident said this morning. “Further to the Company's trading update on 13 October, the Company intends to make a post-closing trading update in mid-January.”
Home credit business Provident has several financial arms including Satsuma, Moneybarn and Vanquis Bank, though Vanquis is also under an FCA investigation currently. Provident, despite the support of star asset manager Neil Woodford, who recently added to his position, has had a grim year with shares down more than -69.1%.
Ferguson sees 1Q revenues rise
Building materials and plumbling supplies FTSE 100 operator Ferguson (formerly Wolseley) says first quarter revenues are +10% up on last year including +7.6% organic growth while gross margins are up +0.2% to 29%. Ongoing trading profit is +13.9% ahead at $394m.
Group boss John Martin says there was strong organic growth in the US – +8.3% – but market conditions are “challenging in the UK where we are continuing to implement our transformation programme”. Organic revenue growth has been broadly in line with the first quarter while trading profit for the full year is in line with analyst predictions.
Breaking news: UK train fares are to rise by +3.4% come 2 January. The Rail Delivery Group says close to 97% of the cash from fare rises go back in to improving UK train services.