The pound’s intraday fragility once more helped FTSE 100 stocks higher earlier given the stock market’s rash of large companies that book overseas earnings in sterling. At one point the Big Board hit 7,586 points, a 0.4% surge compared to Friday’s record figure.
However the FTSE 100 ended Wednesday at 7,519.95, six points lower overall. Winners included Randgold Resources, rising 2.86% to 7,370p and Mediclinic Int, up 2.22% to 807.50p. Anglo American and BHP Billiton were down -2.51% and -2.37% respectively.
The price of Brent Crude came under huge pressure, close to $50 a barrel at $50.48, down 3.37% with West Texas Intermediate (WTI) sinking close to 3.5% earlier. The euro put on weight, up +0.42% to $1.1231 while the pound climbed 0.35% to $1.290, both helped by the dollar weakening against both yen and euro; US bond yields also dipped.
- UK FTSE 100 7,519.95 -0.09%
- Dow 20,992.53 -0.18%
- S&P 500 2,406.88 -0.25%
- Nasdaq 6,183.22 -0.32%
- DAX 12,659.34 +0.48%
- CAC 40 5,303.32 -0.06%
- Gold 1,270.30 +0.36%
- Oil WTI 47.87 -3.62%
Aldi and Lidl put on sales growth
Are expensive brands worth it? New discount data suggests many Brits are turning against branded supermarket products in exchange for own-label names from smaller operators.
German supermarket cheapies Aldi and Lidl have just posted their highest growth rates for two years. Lidl sales climbed 18.3% in the 12 weeks to 21 May while Aldi sales surged almost 20%.
“Consumers," said consumer specialist Chris Hayward at Kantar Worldpanel, “are starting to feel the pinch as prices continue to rise, with the average household spending an additional £27 on groceries during the past 12 weeks.
“That may not seem like much," he went on, "but if inflation continues at its current rate over the course of a year that would mean an extra £119 spent on groceries per household.”
Stub out ciggie investment
If you weren’t aware already today is No Tobacco Day. Four large investment groups – Calpers, AMP Capital, French reinsurer Scor and Axa – have urged investors to get out of tobacco stocks after ejecting from the sector themselves.
According to the World Health Organisation smoking has a massive economic cost, “estimated at $1trn a year, far outweighing revenues from taxes, estimated $263bn.”
However many tobacco investors won’t quit without a fight. Tobacco companies traditionally offer solid, generous dividends and have been able to pass on price rises to consumers without too much pain.
Mortgage approvals hit 7-month bottom
April saw a 2% fall in mortgage approvals, down to 64,645 claims the Bank of England suggesting fresh concern about the momentum of the UK housing market.
The anxiety about falling or static house prices also fed into remortgaging lending, slipping to 40,575 deals compared to 42,250 in March.
Meanwhile the pace of consumer credit picked up slightly in April, climbing from 10.2% in March to 10.3%. Consumer credit includes personal loans, overdrafts and credit and store cards.
Breaking news: Indian growth numbers have missed estimates with GDP down almost one percentage point in 2016/17, from 8% to 7.1%. The pending number of US home sales in April fell 1.3%, somewhat amiss of a predicted 0.5% predicted hike.