A weakened US dollar – not helped by tepid words from US Fed boss Janet Yellen on the US economy – boosted the euro and sterling, up 0.21% and 0.40%, overnight, to $1.1443 and $1.2897. Better news for the euro which failed to surge with the yen, sterling and Australian and Canadian currencies yesterday.
The pound was helped yesterday by better UK employment numbers with 175,000 added to the ‘in work’ stats for the last quarter. UK wage growth was also slightly up though still behind inflation.
US stocks ended broadly up last night with the Dow at 21,532, up more than 0.50% while the Nasdaq surged +1.10% to 6,261.17. Today, US job figures are out at 1.30pm plus an update from the producer price index at the same time.
- UK FTSE 100 7,416.93 +1.19%
- Dow 21,532.14 +0.57%
- S&P 500 2,443.25 +0.73%
- Nasdaq 6,261.17 +1.10%
- Nikkei 225 20,104.40 +0.03%
- DAX 12,626.58 +1.52%
- CAC 40 5,222.13 +1.59%
- Gold 1,222.20 +0.25%
- Oil WTI 45.45 -0.09%
Babcock order book positive
First off, a trading update from engineering services player Babcock. Babcock claims 82% of revenue is secured for 2017/18 and 55% for 2018/19. The order book and bid pipeline appears stable at around £19.0bn and £10.5bn claims Babcock.
Since the start of the financial year a new contract to operate fixed-wing aircraft for the Norwegian Health Service from summer 2019 worth up to £500m materialised. However Babcock’s share price, at 869.50p, is still down more than 8.5% year-to-date.
“The financial year has started well,” said Babcock this morning, “with the Group trading in line with our expectations and the outlook for the year unchanged.”
Southern Rail fined by Government
Next, users of Southern Rail may feel cheered by a fine from transport secretary Chris Grayling. The parent company of Southern, Govia Thameslink, has been ordered to spend more than £13m on a range of customer improvements – though the fine looks comparatively modest.
Govia Thameslink is the UK’s biggest rail operator but also its worst performing. Latest figures show that one in 11 trains run by Govia Thameslink was either more than 30 minutes late or cancelled in 2016/17. However Govia says some of the disruption has been beyond its control.
RMT union general secretary Mick Cash told the BBC he was not impressed by Grayling's fine: "This is yet another case of the government and their rail industry cronies investigating themselves while the services they are responsible for are a global laughing stock."
More bad news from Southern for much of August yesterday: “Southern passengers are being advised to avoid changing trains, especially at peak times, at Clapham Junction during major improvement work being carried out by Network Rail at London Waterloo from 5 August-28 August.”
Breaking news: a new survey from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors claims the UK housing market will continue to "flatline" due to a fall in new properties for sale. Asos sales climb 32% for the four months to the end of June.