Even multiple hurricanes couldn’t kill higher US economic growth: US GDP came in at +3.0% for the July-September quarter earlier – +2.7-3.0% was broadly anticipated – despite some serious weather issues.
Solid consumer spending, exports and business investment were largely responsible for the uptick. Construction spending through was on the defensive. On a year-on-year basis US GDP climbs to +2.3%.
Elsewhere the forex markets were shaken by the Catalan parliament voting for separation from Spain while the Spanish parliament simultaneously rubber-stamped direct rule. The worries about Spain look likely to deepen: Spain's debt load is three times the amount of Greece owed not that long ago and wealthy Catalonia is a key contributor to the Spanish economy.
The independence clash saw the euro plummet -0.60% to 1.1582, its lowest level since midsummer. The pound was down -0.37% against the greenback at 1.3111 while the euro was down -0.22% against sterling.
The FTSE 100 closed tonight up 18 points at 7,505.03 with Cillit Bang maker Reckitt Benckiser taking the biggest price surge, up 3%; Experian shares climbed +2.7%. BA owner IAG saw shares tumble more than -7% as investors stressed about revenue growth per seat, slumping from +1.5% to +0.7% in the last quarter.
- UK FTSE 100 7,505 +0.25%
- Dow 23,397.15 -0.02%
- S&P 500 2,572.43 +0.47%
- Nasdaq 6,654.42 +1.49%
- Nikkei 225 22,008.45 +1.24%
- DAX 13,210.59 +0.59%
- CAC 40 5,495.31 +0.73%
- Gold 1,271.60 +0.16%
- Oil WTI 53.44 +1.52%
Oil crests $60 a barrel
North Sea Brent crude prices breached $60 earlier today. The last time Brent crude was at this price was July 2016. Oil’s gains were given a push higher thanks to rhetoric from Russia and Saudi Arabia about an OPEC production cut extension.
Oil though has proved vulnerable to a sell-off when prices reach this level: $60 could prove difficult to sustain, despite many ‘long’ positions taken by hedge funds. Also, positions on oil production can be retracted. The Russian position, looking ahead, may prove unreliable; earlier this week Energy Minister Alexander Novak said there was a good chance that Russia would hike oil production in 2018.
Alphabet, Microsoft and Amazon shares up on earnings climb; Jigsaw seeks new owner
In the US strong earnings from Microsoft, Intel, Alphabet and Amazon all boosted the tech-heavy Nasdaq. Microsoft is making headway in cloud computing and Amazon was bolstered by sales from Whole Foods. Microsoft shares were up by more than +4% as investors processed earnings per share of 84 cents versus an anticipated 72 cents.
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, saw its share price lift beyond $1,000 a share as sales climbed +24% to $27.8bn. Amazon sales climbed to close to $44bn, up +34%. The impact on Amazon’s share price was dramatic, up more than +11% at $1,086 a share.
Jigsaw – it has 80 high street stores – is in need of a new owner. Majority shareholder John Robinson has instructed KPMG to support a possible sale.
"There have been a number of approaches directly to Jigsaw, around the purchase of a minority or majority stake,” a Jigsaw spokesperson told the BBC. "No sale process has been activated but we continue to have conversations with interested parties," she said.
Retail woes though continue in the US. Shares in JC Penney slumped more than -17% earlier following a profits warning; the news saw share dives also for Macy’s and Kohl’s.
Breaking news: Lufthansa is upping flights between Scotland and Germany; a new daily flight to Frankfurt from Glasgow starts in 2018; direct services to Munich are also increasing.