Last night’s horror in Manchester failed to dent the FTSE 100 today – but only just. The Big Board ended Tuesday just 2.45 points up at 7,498.79. Babcock shares surged almost 3% to 969.50p thanks to positive noises on the stock from Deutsche Bank. easyJet shares were also in demand, clmbing 2.52% to 1,301p.
Kingfisher shares though slipped almost 2.5% to 359.20p though its shares had seen gains last week. There is still some debate over valuations on Kingfisher's mail-order plus bricks-and-mortar Screwfix operation.
Looking ahead, it’s widely expected OPEC will extend the production cut later this week. Oil markets, says investment mangers Blackrock, “have already partially priced it in, we believe”. The pound was trading at 1.2984 tonight with the euro at 1.1199.
- UK FTSE 100 7,496.34 +0.34%
- Dow 20,927.28 +0.16%
- S&P 500 2,398.18 +0.17%
- Nasdaq 6,138.09 +0.07%
- DAX 12,650.11 +0.24%
- CAC 40 5,347.26 +0.46%
- Gold 1,259.70 -0.13%
- Oil WTI 51.33 +0.39%
US stocks disquiet
The bearish sentiment on US stocks continues. The American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) has reported that bullish sentiment stands at 23.85% up to 18 May – a chunky 8.88 points down from 32.73% the preceding week, 11 May.
Earlier there was unexceptional US PMI data from Markit plus rather weaker US New Home Sales numbers.
EUR/USD failed to make real headway; the euro’s recent bullishness is meeting some resistance.
“At the beginning of April, the currency was trading at 1.0580 and less than two months later it’s climbed 6.5% to 1.1265, representing one of the more consistent upward moves that the Euro has seen in years,” said Jordan Hiscott, chief trader at Ayondo Markets.
“The question is: going forward, can the Euro continue this impressive run as we approach what has been a significant area of resistance in recent times, the band of 1.1260 – 1.1280."
Zero hours change?
Meanwhile more union unhappiness on zero hours contracts. A review on the issue is currently being piloted by Matthew Taylor, chief exec of the Royal Society of Arts. According to a BBC report workers may be able to “request” guaranteed hours.
“To make a real change,” said TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady, “we should turn this policy on its head. Everyone should be entitled to guaranteed hours, with a genuine choice for workers to opt-out, free from pressure from their boss."
Nationwide says it puts customers first
Lastly, poorer profits emerged from Nationwide this morning. The mutual announced that full-year earnings came in at £1.076bn, a 17.6% fall. Nationwide chief exec Joe Garner said the profits cut was partly due to putting some protection around savings rates.
“Our members,” said Garner, “have benefitted by over half a billion pounds from our commitments such as paying higher rates of interest and charging lower fees than our major high street competitors."
Breaking news: Ecuador backs a nine-month extension to oil production cuts. US president Donald Trump says the Mexico wall will cost $1.6bn.