European and UK stocks both fell hard today. At 4pm the German Dax was -1.35% down while the French CAC 40 was -0.55% lower. Some of the German stress emanated from Daimler AG claiming profits growth would weaken this year as it struggles to make the leap from car company to electric and autonomous driving player.
Stateside, the US Institute of Supply Management’s purchasing managers' index saw a 0.2 percentage point drop to 59.1 in January. This index is closely scrutinised for US manufacturing health. Worry areas included production, new orders and employment, though inventories and export numbers improved.
Earlier the FT reported that Saudi Arabia’s state energy Aramco and Google parent Alphabet were discussing a possible energy hub in the Kingdom. At close of business tonight the FTSE 100 was down by more than -0.50% with Vodafone shares tumbling more than -4.6% to 214p while there was better news for ITV, up +3.3%. Smurfitt Kappa and 3i climbed +2.4% and +2.1%.
- UK FTSE 100 7,490.39 -0.57%
- DAX 13,008.09 -1.37%
- CAC 40 5,449.86 -0.59%
- Euro Stoxx 393.78 -0.42%
- Dow 26,114.54 -0.13%
- S&P 500 2,821.62 -0.07%
- Nasdaq 7,422.01 +0.14%
- Nikkei 225 23,486.11 +1.68%
- Gold 1,347.00 +0.28%
- Oil WTI 65.58 +1.33%
Interserve dragged down by outsourcer concern
Interserve shares fell more than -15% today. The contractor which employs more than 80,000 has been hit by negative Carillion and Capita-related worry and headlines, not to mention shorting of shares. Shares of Interserve had already fallen -15% in the middle of January; it issued a profits warning in September.
The Cabinet Office issued a statement in mid January, claiming Interserve, spread across healthcare, security and construction services, did not look high risk. “We are in regular discussions with all these companies regarding their financial position. We do not believe that any of our strategic suppliers are in a comparable position to Carillion."
However Interserve's construction business is a weak arm though it has considerable plant and machinery assets, unlike Carillion. Interserve updates the market at the end of this month.
Cabinet Office plays down Capita anxiety
Meanwhile, staying with outsourcers, Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Dowden told Parliament today that Capita was not "in a comparable position" to Carillion. Dowden claimed that Capita is bolstering its balance sheet, and addressing its pension deficit to invest more..
“Arguably these are the measures that could have prevented Carillion from getting into the difficulties that they did," he said.
Breaking news: Investment player Melrose is to slash 270 jobs at its Brush turbogenerator business. Morrisons is to axe 1,500 middle management roles.