Breaking news: Tesco's £3.7bn attempt to snap up wholesaler Booker will get an in-depth grilling from independent panel members from The Competition and Markets Authority said the CMA in a statement this morning. More mixed messages on interest rates: Bank of England deputy governor Ben Broadbent claims he's not prepared to raise rates – yet. The next Bank of England Monetary Policy Meeting is 3 August. His words have pushed sterling down 0.2%.
US Fed Reserve chair Janet Yellen will – that’s the hope, at least – give a clearer idea of the long term direction of US interest rates today and tomorrow. It’s Yellen’s twice-yearly date with US politicians, updating them on how the central bank keeps the economy on the move.
Expect some insight into the Fed’s inflation target – 2% – though US low inflation is under pressure from falling gas prices plus IT services. The US Fed has indicated it could see several more rate hikes by the end of 2018. An opening statement will be released lunchtime, London time.
Overnight sterling was down -0.05% to $1.2849 while the euro was at $1.1479, up +0.08%. Today, EU industrial production numbers emerge at 11am; US crude oil inventories data is out at 3.30pm.
- UK FTSE 100 7,329.76 -0.55%
- Dow 21,409.07 0.00%
- S&P 500 2,425.53 -0.08%
- Nasdaq 6,193.30 +0.27%
- Nikkei 225 20,096.18 -0.49%
- DAX 12,437.02 -0.07%
- CAC 40 5,140.60 -0.48%
- Gold 1,218.90 +0.35%
- Oil WTI 45.83 +1.75%
Burberry builds on Asian sales momentum
We start with bags-to-macs luxury retailer Burberry. Burberry says underlying retail sales increased 3% to £478m for the last quarter to 30 June; like-for-like sales were even better, up 4%. Much of this was down to better Chinese and Hong Kong sentiment despite lower momentum from the lux market generally.
While Asian sales are better the UK market has the benefit of weaker sterling for overseas shoppers. Tomorrow is Burberry’s AGM; new CEO Marco Gobbetti has been in the job just a week. Burberry shares were valued at 1,580p before the market opened, up 5.5% year-to-date and 36% up on a year ago.
“This is a time of great change for Burberry,” said Gobbetti in a steady-as-she-goes statement “and the wider luxury industry. I look forward to building on the foundations Christopher [Bailey, ex CEO] and the team have put in place and creating new energy to drive growth.”
Hot weather boosts Wetherspoons
A quick nip into JD Wetherspoons. Like-for-like sales surged 5.3% in the 11 weeks to 9 July while total sales climbed 3.6%. Year-to-date like-for-like sales are up 3.9% with total sales up 1.9% says the British pubs player.
Boss Tim Martin attributed some of the sales uptick to the UK summer heat. Martin anticipates like-for-like sales of 3-4% will be needed to keep profits at this year's levels for the next financial year. He also was prepared to give the government some breathing space on Brexit.
“Don't believe the media furore - an unprecedented political consensus has emerged on the main aspects of leaving the EU," he said this morning. "However, it is not one most politicians or the media care to acknowledge.”
Wetherspoons shares are valued at 990.50p and are up 11.5% year-to-date and almost 39% up over 12 months.