It’s likely centrist French President Emmanuel Macron will make sweeping gains in parliamentary elections, meaning more (likely) positive momentum for the euro. There was some drift from the pound overnight, down -0.18% to $1.2648 while the euro is also slightly lower, -0.13% at $1.1186.
More attention will be paid towards the US Fed today: will they, or won’t they, raise interest rates? The consensus is that the Fed will in an attempt to normalise a modestly improving US economy – low unemployment and reasonably strong job creation.
The UK gets new CPI inflation figures shortly. Last month annual CPI inflation leapt to 2.7% from 2.3% – the highest number for more than three years. It’s thought May’s inflation is not likely to change much. Aside from CPI data, watch for US Produce Price Index numbers at 1.30pm.
- UK FTSE 100 7,511.87 -0.21%
- Dow Jones 21,253.67 -0.17%
- S&P 500 2,429.39 -0.10%
- Nasdaq 6,175.46 -0.52%
- DAX 12,690.44 -0.98%
- CAC 40 5,240.59 -1.12%
- Nikkei 225 19,893.35 -0.08%
- Gold 1,267.80 -0.09%
- Oil WTI 46.33 +0.52%
City clearing tension
A fight is brewing between the City and Brussels: the EU is to clarify new draft changes to how London’s euro clearing market is managed post-Brexit. It’s likely a mechanism to relocate it will be proposed, potentially meaning some City upheaval.
But clearing is an integral part of London’s financial system and the City will be vociferous in arguing that keeping it in London will keep margin costs down and stability maintained. Other exchanges such as the Deutsche Boerse could be poised to benefit otherwise.
Ashtead profits climb 13%
New fourth quarter numbers from Ashtead Group. Group rental revenue climbs 13% while pre-tax profits surge to £793m from £645m. Net debt to EBITDA leverage stays steady at 1.7 says Ashtead.
There’s a proposed final dividend of 22.75p or 27.5p for the full year, up 22% in total. Spring saw a seasonal uplift in fleet on rent, with strong levels of physical utilisation for the time of year, Ashtead claims.
“With both divisions performing well,” says Ashtead, “and a strong balance sheet to support our plans, the Board continues to look to the medium term with confidence."
Crest Nicholson earnings up
Let’s move onto half-year numbers from housebuilder Crest Nicholson. Revenues rise 3% to £419.7m while operating profit rises 3% also to £80.3m. Basic earnings per share are up 5% to 24.4p.
Sales per outlet week averaged 0.81 (2016: 0.87), in line with the average sales rate of 0.81 for the full year 2016 says. Outlet numbers increased, averaging 49 in the first half of 2017, up 11% (2016: 44).
“The outcome of the UK General Election,” says the housebuilder may introduce some uncertainty in the short term but we expect the new build housing market to remain robust.” Crest shares are up more than 29% year-to-date but up just 2.37% over the last 12 months in total.