Asian stocks were mostly higher overnight, boosted by more US positivity on Friday and robust US non-farm payroll data. The Hang Seng, helped by finance stocks, was up more than +0.90%, the Shanghai Composite up +0.80% while the Nikkei lifted +0.50% higher. HSBC shares fired +2.5% higher.
At close to 7am the pound was +0.3% higher at 1.3428 against the dollar while the pound was +0.16% stronger against the euro at 1.1394. The pound’s rise above the 1.34 handle is more encouraging for sterling bulls though there remains plenty of news-related risk this week including a likely US Fed rate rise confirmation due Wednesday plus ECB and Bank of England updates. Theresa May meanwhile addresses her cabinet this morning.
Bitcoin was trading just under $17,000 this morning after its 11pm launch on the CBOE Chicago Futures Exchange last night. Its CBOE debut is seen as another brick in the wall to stabilizing its long-term value – though it is still highly volatile.
"I refuse to use the word legitimate," Chris Ralph, chief investment officer at St James's Place, told Today earlier. "But Bitcoin is certainly moving out of the shadows."
- UK FTSE 100 7,393.96 +1.00%
- DAX 13,153.70 +0.83%
- CAC 40 5,399.09 +0.28%
- Dow 24,329.16 +0.49%
- S&P 500 2,651.50 +0.55%
- Nasdaq 6,840.08 +0.40%
- Nikkei 225 22,938.73 +0.56%
- Gold 1,251.60 +0.26%
- Oil WTI 57.18 -0.30%
Investec confirms Steinhoff position; more Four Seasons worry
This morning Investec clarified how exposed it has been to the disastrous share price fall of South African-listed retailer Steinhoff International (its shares were demoted to junk status by Moody's last week). Investec claims only modest exposure, so far.
“Based on the information currently available to the group, Investec is not expecting to suffer any losses on these credit exposures. The exposures are largely to Steinhoff Africa's subsidiaries, with an immaterial exposure to Steinhoff.”
More concerns for the UK care home sector. Four Seasons has approximately £525m of debt and has to make a £26m interest payment this week. Private equity owner Terra Firma, owned by Guy Hands, is attempting to agree terms with its main lender H/2 Capital Partners.
“Despite our request to H/2 Capital Partners for a sit down meeting with ourselves and Four Seasons, they have not been willing to meet with us,” Terra Firma is quoted by Thisismoney.
UK exposed to Lactalis salmonella risk
UK consumers may be exposed to a global baby milk recall from French dairy giant Lactalis. Salmonella fears are connected to several of the baby milk products marketed via the Picot, Celi and Milumel brands.
Lactalis spokesperson Michel Natel confirmed to AFP that nearly 7,000 tonnes of production may be contaminated. A full list of the at-risk products is here.