Overnight virtual currency Bitcoin went through the $10,000 barrier. Concern remains on its astronomic rise. Many predict a large correction but with more than 100 hedge funds investing in Bitcoin – distributed through a decentralised computer network though spurring worry about drug money use – and a spread of other virtual currencies the jury remains out.
Asian stocks overnight saw more drift though no marked downwards shifts: the Nikkei was -0.04% lower though the Hang Seng is down -0.51% with AIA Group slumping -2.26%. At the margins a key OPEC meeting lurks though markets expect a solid extension of the current production cap – a further nine months looks likely.
Still, US oil production is now near record levels. Just how much that will hit global supply levels over the next 12 months remains difficult to estimate.
Shortly after 7am the Bank of England released the results of its bank stress tests – Barclays and RBS saw some strain but all UK banks can handle a rough EU exit the Bank of England claims (the stress tests have been toughened up since their 2014 introduction). The pound is flat against the dollar at 1.3319 while the euro is slightly lower against the pound at 0.8930.
- UK FTSE 100 7,383.90 -0.35%
- Dow 23,580.78 +0.10%
- S&P 500 2,601.42 -0.04%
- Nasdaq 6,878.52 -0.15%
- Nikkei 225 22,486.24 -0.04%
- DAX 13,000.20 -0.46%
- CAC 40 5,360.09 -0.56%
- Gold 1,298.00 -0.07%
- Oil WTI 57.76 -0.60%
Shell returns to all-cash dividend buoyed by higher oil prices
Good news for Shell investors. Shell is abandoning the part-share, part cash scrip dividend for the fourth quarter. Shell boss Ben van Beurden says the company has upped its outlook for organic free cash flow plus “significant progress” is claimed with its divestment programme.
Annual cash flow is projected to increase to $25-$30bn by 2020 based on a $60 per barrel share price – $5bn more than offered in June last year. Rising oil prices continue to be a large support: Brent crude has surged beyond $60 a barrel in the last fortnight.
“Annual underlying operational expenditure will remain below $38 billion until 2020, with efficiency gains expected to deliver further reductions, building on the more than 20% reduction in operational expenditure since 2014.”
Cranswick revenues profits and revenues up
New numbers this morning from food producer Cranswick. For the six months to 30 September revenues are up +23% at £714.6m while adjusted profit before tax climbs +17.2% higher at £44.4m (2016: £37.9m). Net debt though at £16.7m is quite a bit higher (2016 £2.9m).
“We have invested a record £29m in our infrastructure during the first half of the year,” said CEO Adam Couch. “As part of the development of our rapidly growing poultry business we are announcing today our planned investment in a new primary poultry facility in Eye, Suffolk.”
Cranswick’s share price at 3,011.85p is +28% higher year-to-date and +33% up on the full year. However like many food manufacturers it is under pressure from rising raw material costs though some price rise mitigation can be opted for.
Breaking news: Ocado shares surge on new Groupe Casino deal. Groupe Casino has more than 13,000 stores worldwide. Like-for-like sales at Topps Tiles tumble -2.9% and pre-tax profit slump -15%.