Asda revealed a 2016 5.7% like-for-like sales slump today. Competition in the UK grocery sector is intense and “our sales performance, relative to the market, was behind our expectations," Asda admitted.
Asda’s weak sales though didn’t trouble key rivals Sainsbury’s, Tesco or Morrisons: all maintained positive share prices throughout the day with Tesco shares climbing 1.8% to 178.15p.
Ahead of 'Super Thursday', supplying a rash of important Bank of England news – inflation report, an interest rate decision plus meeting minutes – the pound still managed to keep above $1.32 (sterling was trading at $1.3235 at just after 4pm) while the high euro kept the pressure up on European stock prices.
- UK FTSE 100 7,411.43 -0.16%
- Dow 22,002.57 +0.18%
- S&P 500 2,471.31 -0.20%
- Nasdaq 6,347.40 -0.24%
- Nikkei 225 20,080.04 +0.47%
- DAX 12,180.27 -0.59%
- CAC 40 5,101.76 -0.49%
- Gold 1,275.30 -0.30%
- Oil WTI 48.96 -0.37%
CMA questions Wood Group takeover
More uncertainty for oil with WTI crude down 0.65% to $48.84; Brent crude was down 0.46% to $51.54. However latest Stateside inventories suggested some pressure: “U.S. crude oil imports averaged about 8.3 million barrels per day last week,” the US Energy Information Administration reported earlier, “up by 209,000 barrels per day from the previous week.”
Meanwhile some on-going concern from the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) about Wood Group’s Amec Foster Wheeler takeover. Wood Group and Amec Foster Wheeler have a particularly strong market position in the upstream offshore oil and gas sector in the UK says the CMA.
“The merger would, therefore, remove the rivalry between two of the four main suppliers of these services. Based on our initial investigation, this could significantly reduce customers’ ability to obtain competitive bids.”
Wood Group has a week to outline proposals to deal with the CMA’s concerns.
Apple shares surge again
The dust has started to settle around Apple’s robust third quarter numbers – besting its original forecast – with the Cuppertino company’s share price surging more than 6%, edging $160. This helped the Dow past the 22,000 mark – the Dow Jones is up more than 3,600 points since President Trump's shock November election win.
However shares in Europe were rather more downbeat, with mining and banking stocks, including Rio Tinto, taking a southwards bent.
German auto makers agree to cut derv emissions
The giants of Germany’s car industry – including VW, Mercedes, Audi – have agreed to slash diesel emissions and dangerous nitrogen oxide levels.
At a meeting in Berlin today the automakers said they will ensure there are substantial software updates for many of their Euro-5 and Euro-6 generation diesel vehicles. Their agreement stopped short of substantial hardware changes.
Breaking news: FTSE 100 closes at 7,411, down -0.16% with Standard Chartered bank taking a 6% share price fall. Rolls-Royce Holdings shares were also down heavily. Old Mutual shares climbed almost 3%.