Oil shares were in retreat today with both BP and Shell seeing near 1% falls. The share price slips were on the back of anxiety that OPEC production climbs can't be reined in, despite agreements to keep production down. Oil prices still remain sub $50 and it's abundantly clear that the rebalancing of the oil market – with Brent crude sinking below $45 recently – is going to take time.
Currency-wise the euro was down -0.06% to $1.1401 at 4pm with sterling surging +0.38% to $1.2932. Some softness for the euro after its 14-month high yesterday following better CPI French and German numbers. Domestically, the UK was watching the ‘great repeal’ bill.
“The government is trying to give an impression to its Brexit backbenchers,” said ex Lib Dem MP Nick Clegg earlier, speaking on Radio 4, “that it’s changing everything, calls it a Great Repeal Bill.”
The FTSE 100 was three points lower at 7,413.44 tonight; BT shares surged almost 4% to 301.60p while M&S was up 3.42%. However AstraZeneca shares were down more than 3.4% to 5013p.
- UK FTSE 100 7,413.44 -0.05%
- Dow 21,528.27 -0.02%
- S&P 500 2,443.20 +0.00%
- Nasdaq 6,256.53 -0.07%
- Nikkei 225 20,099 +0.007%
- DAX 12,617.49 -0.07%
- CAC 40 5,230.68 +0.16%
- Gold 1,217.30 -0.16%
- Oil WTI 45.95 +1.01%
Potential Saudi Aramco listing faces ambivalent welcome
Keeping with the oil theme, City watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority appears intent in shaking up listing rules to ease in Saudi state-owned Aramco – if it comes, and with a possible valuation of $1tn.
Aramco will list on Saudi’s own bourse but a secondary listing is in the running for London, New York and Hong Kong, amongst others. Not everyone in the Square Mile is happy about the move by the FCA, including the UK's Investment Association.
Much of the concern is focused on corporate governance and concern tracker funds may be forced to buy in. “The FCA is consulting on removing key investor protections from the premium listed segment to accommodate sovereign-controlled companies,” said boss Chris Cummings. He added:
“It’s vitally important we maintain a good flow of high quality and well-run businesses from across the world, coming to list on the London market.”
Tourists cash in on cheap sterling
Lastly, the Office of National Statistics claims the weakness of sterling has seen a chunky rise in the number of overseas holiday makers visiting the UK. For the first three months of 2017 more than 8.3m visits were recorded – close to a 10% hike compared to the same period last year.
US visitors dominated with a 16% visit surge spending more than £600m. A 29% rise. Record visits were also recorded by Chinese nationals.
Overnight visits to London increased 15.6% to 4.5m as did overnight visits to the rest of England – an increase of 2.7%. Overnight visits to Wales increased by 28.2%, while visits to Scotland were up slightly by 0.7%.
Breaking news: Fed chair Janet Yellen, speaking on Capital Hill, describes 3% GDP growth as "difficult".