While sterling picked up modestly earlier, oil prices went the other way: following new inventory data from the US Energy Information Administration oil prices (more of below) sank more than 4% to $46.18.
Aside from the sterling’s pick-up to $1.2956 (3.45pm) the markets had a brittle trading day with little but ‘Super Thursday’ to occupy minds. The euro was down on rumours the ECB may lower inflation predictions, meaning, potentially, more delays to a broader rate lift.
Though the UK goes to the polls within 24 hours there is also an ECB policy meeting on Thursday plus ex FBI boss James Comey answers to a US Senate hearing. All will affect market sentiment. The FTSE 100 ended Wednesday down 46 points at 7,478.62 with Persimmon the biggest riser, up 2.05%.
- UK FTSE 100 7,478.62 -0.62%
- Dow 21,145.03 +0.07%
- S&P 500 2,430.64 +0.05%
- Nasdaq 6,289.04 -0.22%
- DAX 12,700.47 +0.08%
- CAC 40 5,294.24 +0.47%
- Nikkei 225 19,984.62 +0.02%
- Gold 1,294.90 -0.19%
- Oil WTI 46.18 -4.1%
Oil price plunge
As detailed, oil prices are under huge pressure with both West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude down heavily – more than 4% and 2.8% at one point earlier this afternoon.
The US Energy Information Administration released data earlier indicating more inventory build than expected. Commercial crude oil inventories increased by 3.3m barrels from the previous week. Oil watchers had been expecting significantly fewer barrels.
“At 513.2m barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year," said the EIA. Recently OPEC agreed to snip production meanwhile President Trump announced the US was exiting the Paris Climate Accord, all piling pressure on oil prices.
Sorrell pay deal cut to just £48m
Meanwhile more than 20% of WPP investors earlier voted against the £48m pay deal for chief exec Martin Sorrell. Those investors who said No to Sorrell’s pay package were proportionately smaller en masse than last year (34%); under 10% abstained from the vote.
However WPP, the world’s biggest advertising player, is under growing pressure to clarify its succession plan as Sorrell, 72, ages. WPP employs more than 130,000 staff across 100 countries. It’s estimated Sorrell has garnered more than £200m in total in the last five years.
Reported WPP billings for the first four months climbed 7.8% at £17.5bn while like-for-like revenues were up 0.7%, confirmed WPP this morning. Revenues were up 15.9% to £4.84bn.
UK house prices show resilience
After some uncertainty UK house prices climbed 0.4% last month to £220,706 according to the Halifax – the first house price rise since the start of 2017. Halifax housing economist Martin Ellis said basic supply and demand was crucial to the price shift.
“The fact that the supply of new homes and existing properties available for sale remains low, combined with historically low mortgage rates and a high employment rate, is likely to support house price levels over the coming months.”
Sales fell 3% between March and April, to 99,910. This followed three successive months when sales were above 100,000 says the Halifax. "Nonetheless, sales in the three months to April were 2% higher than in the preceding three months."
Breaking news: Goh Choon Phong has been named as the International Air Transport Association's new chairman. The OECD warns that the UK's economic performance may slow if a hard Brexit materialises.