The FTSE 100 ended six points lower last night at 7,519.9 with miners all suffering: Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, Glencore and Anglo American all saw 2%-plus declines.
The euro at $1.1238 has continued to stay robust overnight with the pound slightly down at $1.2861. The pound looks to be increasingly volatile as the 8 June election approaches.
“With the UK having already voted to leave the EU,” says Joshua Mahony, IG market analyst, “the threat of a Corbyn resurgence raises the question over whether we will see two consecutive losses for the city.”
A rash of European and UK PMI data arrives today plus US construction spend. US Crude Oil inventories are out at 4pm.
- UK FTSE 100 7,519.95 -0.09%
- Dow 21,008.65 -0.10%
- S&P 500 2,411.80 -0.05%
- Nasdaq 6,198.52 -0.08%
- DAX 12,615.06 +0.13%
- CAC 40 5,283.63 -0.42%
- Gold 1,269.70 -0.45%
- Oil WTI 48.77 +0.92%
12% surge in revenues
Multinational chemicals manufacturer Johnson Matthey says revenues are up 12% to £12,031m with operating profit surging 18% to £493.2m, part helped by currency tailwinds. Return on invested capital rises from 17.3% to 18.2%.
Earnings per share rise 21% to 201.2p while underlying earnings climb 17% to 209.1p. For full year 2017/18, sales growth, at constant rates, is expected to be in line with the 6% growth delivered in the second half.
“Beyond 2017/18, our stronger business platform and operational momentum will,” says CEO Robert MacLeod, “deliver sustained sales growth and margin expansion." However Johnson's shares at 3,118p are down -2.2% on the year so far.
US improvements support FirstGroup
We move onto preliminary numbers from FirstGroup – its shares are up more than 40% year-to-date – which reports 8.3% revenue growth to £5,653.3m and a 12.7% hike in operating profit to £339m, helped by currency gusts from First Student and First Transit.
The transport player says it faces a mixed trading environment with opportunities for progress from its North American divisions – but economic uncertainty weighs from the UK.
FirstGroup says it continues to work with Transport for London and others affected by company’s Tramlink incident in November 2016; seven were killed and many injured when a speeding tram derailed in south London.
£99 to LA
Lastly IAG launches Level, its new transatlantic budget airline. The first flight from Barcelona to LA – Level only flies out of Barcelona currently – commences today. Fares on offer start from £99 one-way though IAG will be hoping to bump up margins on meals and wi-fi access.
Level has two new Airbus A330 aircraft carrying 293 economy seats. However IAG, the owner of BA, Level and Iberia, has still to clarify the cause of its IT weekend catastrophe, which left thousands stranded.
The EU 261 rule, not well known, provides passengers with up to €600 compensation for delays which last more than three hours.
Breaking news: The Chinese yuan has hit a seven-month 6.80 per dollar high. The UK economy has slipped to the bottom of the G7 after economic growth was snipped to just 0.2% last week.