There was evidence of a light recovery for the dollar earlier as US Durable Goods Orders accelerated far harder than expected, up 6.5% in June rather than around half of that as some forecasted. The uptick was the biggest seen since midsummer 2014 though much of it was supported by civilian aircraft orders – an unreliable barometer of how the US economy is faring.
Taking some heart, the spot dollar price hit a high of $93.97 from a $93.16 opening though at 4pm the dollar was trading at $93.94. Against the dollar the euro was worth $1.1667, a 0.56% slip while the pound was down 0.3% at $1.3079.
Keeping with forex the recent euro gains appear most pronounced against the Swiss franc, rising more than 2% since Tuesday in an unusually swift move claims Scotiabank. “The cross has risen to the highest since the Swiss National Bank pulled away from supporting the 1.20 floor as markets price in more ECB risk.”
- UK FTSE 100 7,441.64 -0.12%
- Dow 21,753.55 +0.20%
- S&P 500 2,481.17 +0.13%
- Nasdaq 6,455.30 +0.51%
- Nikkei 225 20,079.64 +0.15%
- DAX 12,226.65 -0.65%
- CAC 40 5,185.36 -0.10%
- Gold 1,264.20 +0.68%
- Oil WTI 48.90 +0.31%
Oil prices continued to rise today with Brent crude up 0.47% to $51.23. However the main oil news today was Shell’s monster profits announced this morning – $1.92bn. A year ago this figure stood at a lowly $239m.
While higher oil prices have helped, Shell boss Ben van Beurden made the point that lower costs were also a big driver of the new profits jack-up; more efficiency savings also appear within reach.
The current price environment means “we will remain very disciplined, with an absolute focus on the four levers within our control, namely capital efficiency, costs, new project delivery, and divestments.” Shell’s share price was steady at 2,095p today in trading.
Other news: Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley has made another surprise move on French Connection grabbing a 15% stake in the retailer (Ashley already owned a 11% holding) from ex stakeholders Gatemore and OTK, giving him a 26% grip in total.
“Sports Direct,” reported the Telegraph, “seized an 11% stake in French Connection in February, but the swoop on Gatemore and OTK's shares takes the Mike Ashley-run business closer to the UK's 30pc threshold to launch a takeover.”
Meanwhile the name of the world’s richest man has emerged – one Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, overtaking Microsoft's Bill Gates. According to Forbes Bezos is now worth $90.8bn.
Not a great deal of economic data on the UK front about to emerge though the month-on-month Nationwide house price index is released early tomorrow.
The FTSE 100 closed down nine points at 7,443 with Diageo the biggest winner, up almost 6% at 2408.50p while AstraZeneca shares plunged more than 15% after concerns about a pivotal lung cancer drug trial sent its shares south. Britain's second-largest pharma operator was worth 4325p at close of business.