Currency-of-last-resort gold saw its spot value surge past the $1,300 barrier earlier in the day following the biggest share market selloff in 2017. Across Europe stocks were all broadly down today, a mixture of anxiety from the Barcelona tragedy and the gridlock emanating daily from the Trump administration.
Airlines and hotels took much of the heat initially - tourist trade anxiety following the Spanish terrorist attack – though easyJet’s share price, for example, steadied during the day down -0.92%. However IAG suffered more intensely, down -2.23%. Paddy Power Betfair was the biggest FTSE 100 constituent loser, down 3.61% to 7205p.
On the FX front the pound drifted south to $1.2857 while the euro was up modestly to $1.2750 at 4pm. Against the pound the euro was up 0.35% at 0.9141. However the dollar was also down in early trading.
- UK FTSE 100 7,327.49 -0.82%
- Dow 21,694.11 -0.26%
- S&P 500 2,426.69 -0.14%
- Nasdaq 6,224.21 +0.04%
- Nikkei 225 19,470.41 -1.18%
- DAX 12,153.26 -0.41%
- CAC 40 5,101.22 -0.89%
- Gold 1,301.10 +0.67%
- Oil WTI 46.86 -0.49%
US consumer optimisim lifts sharply
However the US – ignoring the inflammatory tweeting and general Oval Office paralysis – got a fillip from higher consumer sentiment. The closely watched University of Michigan stats saw a reading of 97.6 for the first half of August compared to 93.4 in July.
Few interviews were done following the white nationalist Charlottesville events. But the fallout “is likely to reverse the improvement in economic expectations recorded across all political affiliations in early August,” said Richard Curtin, Surveys of Consumers chief economist.
“Moreover, the Charlottesville aftermath is more likely to weaken the economic expectations of Republicans, since prospects for Trump's economic policy agenda have diminished.”
Foot Locker shares hit the pavement
However the better US consumer mood wasn’t reflected at Foot Locker. Shares in the shoewear retailer earlier plunged heavily, more than 27%, on grim second quarter sales and unimpressive like-for-like year metrics. Shares in Nike were also dragged down on Foot Locker's news.
“While we believe our position in the market for premium sneakers remains very strong and our customers continue to look to us for compelling new athletic footwear and apparel styles,” boss Richard Johnson said, “sales of some recent top styles fell well short of our expectations and impacted this quarter’s results.”
Breaking news: Air Berlin is in talks to offload its Austrian operation Niki. Visits to the UK from North Americans are up 34% according to latest stats from the Office of National Statistics. The sterling weakness also saw a rise in European visitors, though only up 2% to 2.241m. Standard & Poor's have kept its rating on South Korea at 'AA' despite the warmongering north of the border.