Thursday saw the FTSE 100 exit at 7,248.10, a rise of close to 0.2% with BA owner IAG and travel player TUI fuelling the lift. Also, HSBC whose 19% profits fall was not as bad as widely feared. HSBC shares pushed 2.8% higher.
Gold moved 0.58% up to $1,223.20. Both Brent and WTI oil slipped back on Thursday with Brent sinking under $49 a barrel (current price $47.27), a five-month low. US oil production continues to surge say analysts though, globally, inventories are looking more balanced.
The pound trades at 1.292, down 0.01% against the dollar with the euro at 1.1764.
The big news this morning is a new boss for Marks & Spencer. M&S have appointed ex Asda group executive Archie Norman as chairman. Norman, also ex-chairman of ITV, moves to M&S on 1 September, succeeding Robert Swannell.
Retail veteran Norman has UK retail experience covering Energis, Kingfisher and Asda. The former Conservative MP was appointed lead non-executive board member of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy last year.
It’s understood M&S had several candidates. Norman has come close to being named as Tesco chairman not to mention Sainsbury’s in the past. Steve Rowe replaced Marc Bolland as M&S chief exec a year ago. M&S’ share price remains more than 15% down at 357p over the last 12 months.
We move onto Intercontinental Hotels (shares up almost 15% YTD at 4,166p). Group RevPAR (revenue per available room) is up 2.7% and occupancy up 1.2% says the company. In Europe RevPAR proved especially buoyant, up 6.9% compared to 1.9% from the Americas.