Despite the stateside turmoil with Donald Trump’s internal Obamacare frustrations the dollar managed some recovery overnight, despite falling to a 10-month low yesterday. Close to 7am the euro had been forced down to $1.1532 compared to $1.1557 earlier and $1.1580 on Tuesday. The pound was trading at $1.3038 this morning.
Markets will be watching closely for policy cues as Thursday’s ECB meeting hoves into view. Much scrutiny on exit routes from the ECB's quantitative easing program as euro-area banks have to plan their own monetary programs.
Some concern on data confidentiality from the Office of National Statistics. Yesterday the pound fell sharply just before the release of the ONS’ consumer prices report. Did some traders know about the information before? More on this from the Times.
- UK FTSE 100 7,390.22 -0.19%
- Dow 21,574.73 -0.25%
- S&P 500 2,460.61 +0.06%
- Nasdaq 6,344.31 +0.47%
- Nikkei 225 20,003.80 +0.02%
- DAX 12,430.39 -1.25%
- CAC 40 5,173.27 -1.09%
- Gold 1,240.50 -0.11%
- Oil WTI 46.29 -0.24%
Wizz profits climb
We start with Wizz Air. The Budapest-based airline claims Q1 profits have surged to €58m, a 50% hike while passenger numbers have pushed 25% ahead to 7.2m. Wizz says it experienced particularly strong performance from Easter traffic in the first quarter.
“Our ultra-low cost base allows us to offer the lowest fares and that continues to stimulate the market for air travel in Central and Eastern Europe as economic growth in the region continues to push ahead of Western Europe.”
Ten new routes were announced in Q1 including new airports in Russia, Kazakhstan and Morocco, taking the network to more than 500 routes to-and-from 42 countries, Wizz says.
Reckitt Benckiser sells food biz; Akzo Nobel boss resigns
Next, Durex maker Reckitt Benckiser has offloaded its food business for more than $4bn to US spice operator McCormick though other bidders, including Unilever, were interested.
It’s thought Reckitt will plough much of the cash raised back into paying down some of the debt raised from snapping up baby food player Mead Johnson for almost $18bn earlier in 2017. Reckitt's share price is up 13% year-to-date at 7,812p.
The boss of Akzo Nobel, Ton Büchner, has resigned on health worries; Thierry Vanlancker takes over in his place. “He [Büchner] has been an outstanding leader for Akzo Nobel,” said chairman Antony Burgmans, “transforming the company and setting it up for future success.”
Akzo Nobel’s share price has lifted more than 30% year-to-date though the share price surge was helped by a recent takeover bid from US paint manufacturer PPG. Akzo shares were valued at €77.95 before markets opened.
Breaking news: TalkTalk claims it has lured an extra 20,000 broadband customers to its brand for the first quarter. The BBC publishes its annual report mid-morning detailing the pay rewards of anyone earning more than £150,000 a year.