The Japanese Nikkei stormed 1.10% ahead overnight to a 22-month 20,286.83 high following substantial share gains in Europe yesterday. There were also strong improvements for Taiwanese players.
Meanwhile in the US and Europe first quarter corporate earnings have come in stronger than originally thought in some cases. Despite the recent tech lurch, FactSet, a financial data and software company, thinks tech operators could report 9.3% earnings per share growth for the second quarter.
At 7am the euro was up 0.09% at 1.1158 while the pound was up 0.06% at 1.2739. Over in Brussels EU negotiator Michel Barnier claims “substantial” consequences from a Brexit deal. The phased structure the EU wanted has been agreed. First round to the EU, then.
- UK FTSE 100 7,523.81 +0.81%
- Dow 21,528.99 +0.68%
- S&P 500 2,453.46 +0.83%
- Nasdaq 6,239.01 +1.42%
- Nikkei 225 20,292.08 +1.12%
- DAX 12,888.95 +1.07%
- CAC 40 5,310.72 +0.90%
- Gold 1,246.30 -0.02%
- Oil WTI 44.20 0.00%
Barclays bosses face criminal charges
We start with some breaking news from the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). The SFO has charged Barclays and four ex directors, including ex chief exec John Varley, with conspiracy to commit fraud over Qatar cash injections at the height of the financial crisis.
It’s unknown how the Barclays directors – including Roger Jenkins, Thomas Kalaris and Richard Boath – will plead. The SFO has probed Barclays for the last five years on its actions to avoid a bail-out deal from the Government back in 2008, at the height of the global financial crash. No UK banker, nor high street bank, has faced criminal charges since the financial crisis aftermath.
Wolseley revenues aided by currency squalls
Next, an interim from builders merchant Wolseley (shortly to re-brand itself as Ferguson in an effort to widen its US appeal). There’s like-for-like revenue growth of 6.6% helped by a £423m surge from exchange rate fluctuations. Trading profit comes in at £254m though that includes a £29m pick-up from positive currency gusts.
"Since the end of the period revenue growth has been broadly in line with the third quarter, gross margins and cost control have been good,” says Wolseley. “The Group expects trading profit for the full year to be in line with current analyst consensus expectations."
Revenue growth in the quarter was good with US residential and commercial markets growing well and industrial markets improving, says Wolseley. But while the Nordics returned to growth, Wolseley says, the UK was broadly flat. Wolseley shares are up 32.5% in the last year at 4,884p but 1.57% lower year-to-date.
Serco snags £1.5bn Oz contract
Next, outsourcer service player Serco says it has signed a £1.5bn contract for the Australian New Grafton Correctional Centre (NGCC) though this headline £1.5bn figure is the value over a 20-year term.
"The contract award for NGCC clearly marks a further important expansion of our international Justice business, and by total contract value it also represents Serco's largest ever contract,” says Rupert Soames, Serco Group Chief Executive.
The prison should see approximately (AUD) $560m into the local economy with 1,100 jobs created during construction phase and about 550 permanent jobs with Serco once operational. NGCC will be the largest correctional facility in Australia after completion. Serco shares though remain 17% down year-to-date at 118p following a 151p year high.
Breaking news: The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders urges transitional EU Brexit deal.