Asian stocks lifted modestly overnight with the Nikkei up +1.13%. Asahi Glass and JGC Corp were the top performers, up +5.94% and +4.90%; also Shiseido, climbing +4%. But there was a marked -1.60% fall from the Shanghai Composite as larger stocks dipped. There remains significant amounts of investor scepticism, fed further by more US weakness last night; the S&P 500 was down -0.50% and the Nasdaq -0.90%.
Over in Seoul another twist for the on-going Samsung family saga; with heir Lee Jae-yong just released from prison 76-year-old chairman Lee Kun-hee will be charged with tax evasion, it has been confirmed.
Today, there will be close attention paid to the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee decision at midday plus the quarterly inflation report. A rate rise is not expected from the current 0.50% base rate. But a rise is increasingly being pencilled in as early as May (though dependent on whether, probably, a Brexit transition deal is signed or not).
Some suggest two rate climbs could be possible this year. The UK economy is broadliy thought to be doing better than expected despite the Brexit angst. At a little after 7am sterling was +0.21% up at 1.3905 and +0.09% higher against the euro; sterling is still around -3% lower since mid January.
- UK FTSE 100 7,279.42 +1.93%
- DAX 12,590.43 +1.60%
- CAC 40 5,255.90 +1.82%
- Euro Stoxx 600 380.13 +1.97%
- Dow 24,893.35 -0.08%
- S&P 500 2,681.66 -0.50%
- Nasdaq 7,051.98 -0.90%
- Nikkei 225 21,890.86 +1.13%
- Gold 1,313.30 -0.10%
- Oil WTI 61.65 -0.21%
Talk Talk signals full fibre move
This morning TalkTalk signalled it may plunge into large scale broadbrand infrastructure with a full fibre roll-out. TalkTalk says it’s in discussions with Infracapital, the infrastructure equity investment arm of M&G Prudential, for the creation of an independent company with Infracapital funding 80% and TalkTalk 20%.
The aim is to provide full fibre to more than 3m homes and businesses in mid-sized towns and cities in the UK, TalkTalk claims. The new plans are matched by a £200m rights issue – and a dividend cut, from 7.5p to 2.5p. TalkTalk’s share price sank to an eight-year low recently.
“We see real opportunity to continue growing the core business whilst also investing in full fibre,” says chief exec Charles Dunstone. “We have therefore strengthened our balance sheet and temporarily reduced our dividend to take full advantage of the opportunities available.”
Compass Group revenues rise; £42m loss for Thomas Cook
Catering company Compass Group says organic revenue rose +5.9% for the three months to 31 December with US revenues up +8.2%. However currency gusts had a negative impact on revenues and profit in the quarter of £288m and £24m.
Both Europe and Rest of World are performing better than planned says the food services operator. “Therefore, we now expect to be above the middle of our target 4-6% organic growth range for the full year.”
Breaking news: Lloyds insurer Beazley says pre-tax profits have slumped from $292m to $168m from an increase in natural catastrophe claims. “Looking ahead, we see potential for double-digit growth in 2018,” said chief exec Andrew Horton in a statement this morning.
The average price of a Bellway home is up +8% to £276,000. Thomas Cook revenues climb +7% to £1,749m for the first quarter but there is an overall £42m loss for the travel company. The Evening Standard is reporting that more than 300 Debenhams jobs are to go.