The North Korean crisis was again put on hold by Asian markets on Monday. Safe haven assets were spurned and risk bought. The South Korean Kospi was up more than +1.10% while Japan’s Nikkei 225 edged up more than +0.52%. In the Southern Hemisphere the S&P/ASX 200 climbed more than +0.40%.
Overnight the euro was up +0.07% at $1.1943 against the dollar. Dove-ish comments from ECB policymaker Peter Praet emerged though over the weekend on continued euro stimulus. The pound was up +0.06% at $1.3582 while the yen came under pressure on Japanese election jitters – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is thought to be considering a snap election in October thanks to better poll ratings– down -0.03% against the dollar at 111.16.
For the UK market-moving news waits till Wednesday when UK retail sales arrive. However it’s an enormous week otherwise: the German election dominates (Sunday – Angela Merkel looks set to serve a fourth term under the “life is good and we enjoy it” banner), plus there’s a US Federal Reserve rate decision on Wednesday with some balance sheet tightening on the menu.
- UK FTSE 100 7,215.47 -1.10%
- Dow 22,268.34 +0.29%
- S&P 500 2,500.23 +0.18%
- Nasdaq 6,448.47 +0.30%
- Nikkei 225 19, 909.50 +0.52%
- DAX 12,518.81 -0.17%
- CAC 40 5,213.91 -0.22%
- Gold 1,321.50 -0.28%
- Oil WTI 49.98 +0.18%
Hiscox estimates Hurricane Harvey claims at $150m
Insurers are starting to put out figures on the impact of the US Hurricane season. Hiscox has taken an initial reading of Hurricane Harvey. “Hiscox estimates net claims of approximately US$150m. This is within the Group's modelled range of claims for an event of this nature, and reinsurance protections for the Group remain substantially intact.”
Hiscox boss Bronek Masojada says that while 2017 will be an expensive year for natural catastrophes the industry can cope despite a claimed long period of price reductions in some areas. “In the wider global insurance market for large risks, we expect rates to stabilise and begin to increase."
Cathedral City cheese sales boost Dairy Crest
Next a positive trading update from the market of Cathedral City and Country Life – Dairy Crest. Combined brand volumes will be ahead of last year with Cathedral City likely to see double-digit volume growth in the first half.
“As a result of higher cream prices," says Dairy Crest, "which determine input costs for the butter business, we have reduced promotional activity on Country Life. Whilst this has impacted sales volumes, it has partly mitigated the adverse impact on margins.”
First half profits are expected to be ahead of last year says Dairy Crest; profit expectations for the full year are unchanged despite higher costs. Dairy Crest shares are down -2.1% year-to-date and almost -10% on the full year at 610.05p.
Elsewhere there’s a demotion for Royal Mail, kicked out of the FTSE 100 from today. The Centre for Economics and Business Research claims the UK economy will push +1.6% higher in 2017 compared to a previous +1.3% reading.
Breaking news: Theresa May and Justin Trudea are meeting in Ottowa to discuss worries about potential job losses at Bombardier, Belfast. AkzoNobel, owner of the Dulux brand, has told the BBC that Brexit is not a big business risk.