The FTSE 100 fell below 7,700 today helped by an alarming -16% slump in FTSE 100 firm Micro Focus International. A trading update revealed detail of progress following Micro Focus’ £7bn takeover of software business HP Enterprise and investors were not much enthused: revenues from the new business were lower than expected and sales were down almost -3% from existing operations.
“Given all of the things we have accomplished over the past couple of months,” said chief exec Chris Hsu, putting a brave face on things, “…we’re roughly in line with where we expected to be.”
In the US a rather more confident dollar surged into view following new noises from Fed Reserve members that a rash of interest rate rises were thickly pencilled in for 2018 – possibly up to four according to Fed Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester, following a press interview last week. US markets were little changed with a small dip from the Dow.
Still, sterling was still +0.04% ahead at 4.15pm, worth 1.3573 while the euro was down more than -0.5% against the dollar at 1.1976, under the psychologically important 1.20 barrier. Elsewhere there was more bleakness from the Halifax which reported an unexpected dip in house prices for December. At the end of trading tonight the FTSE 100 was down 27 points with G4S the largest riser, shares up +4% to 286.60p.
- UK FTSE 100 7,696.51 -0.36%
- DAX 13,368.26 +0.35%
- CAC 40 5,489.32 +0.34%
- Dow 25,257.96 -0.15%
- S&P 500 2,741.34 -0.07%
- Nasdaq 7,141.17 +0.06%
- Nikkei 225 23,714.53 +0.89%
- Gold 1,320.20 -0.16%
- Oil WTI 61.45 +0.02%
Slowing Astra sales forces more Vauxhall job cuts
Problems for Vauxhall: on top of 400 job cuts announced in October the struggling car maker, now owned by Peugeot and Citroen, is to slash 250 more at Ellesmere Port where it builds the Astra model.
Vauxhall says it wants to improve productivity “in order to meet the challenges ahead and as an important element of this recovery, this additional separation programme will support the planned move to a single production shift at Ellesmere Port during April 2018."
While the Astra model has been well received by the motoring press it still trails in sales compared to the Ford Focus and VW Golf. In 2016 Vauxhall sold almost 61,000 but this figure slumped to under 50,000 in 2017.
“This is an additional blow to a world class workforce that is one of the most efficient in the industry," said the Unite union.
Chancellor Hammond survives PM axe
Earlier today Theresa May commenced her new cabinet reshuffle: justice secretary David Lidington becomes May’s new deputy while immigration minister Brandon Lewis becomes the Conservative Party’s new chairman with an urgent brief to up the fight with Labour.
It is not clear (4.30pm) whether Greg Clark, business secretary, will hang onto his job or not though the BBC is reporting that Philip Hammond, chancellor, gets to keep his.
Earlier this afternoon news filtered through that Lufthansa, owner of Swiss Air and Eurowings, was intending to hire more than 3,000 extra staff this year to take on Ryanair and easyJet.