More ebullience from the US today with the Dow Jones breaching 26,000 points. The biggest risers included Merck & Co, up more than +7.1% and UnitedHealth, up +2.3%. Boeing also put on a +2.2% gain. Strength too from Nvidia, rising +2% following analyst sentiment on AI and autonomous driving industry prospects.
Back in the UK there was relief from the slight inflation fall, rocking back from +3.1% to +3.0%. The slight dip may relax the pace, possibly, for a further Bank of England rate rise. Is inflation, then, heading back to +2%, the Bank of England’s target rate?
In January last year consumer price inflation stood at just 1.8%, but rose to what now looks like a peak of 3.1%, economist Ben Brettell from Hargreaves Lansdown noted.
“It now seems likely we’ll see the rate steadily fall back towards the 2% target over the next year or so, though the Office of National Statistics reckons it’s too early to say the peak has been reached.” Especially given rising diesel and petrol prices.
The pound was down -0.17% at around 4pm buying 1.3774 worth of US currency while the euro was -0.30% lower against the greenback at 1.2234. Tonight the FTSE 100 finished 13 points lower at 7,755.9 with Johnson Matthey up +2.8% and NMC Health up +2.3%. Miners took a tumble with Fresnillo and Rio Tinto falling more than -3% each.
- UK FTSE 100 7,755.93 -0.17%
- DAX 13,290.00 +0.68%
- CAC 40 5,517.28 +0.13%
- Euro Stoxx 600 398.74 +0.23%
- Dow 25,994 +0.74%
- S&P 500 2,798.08 +0.42%
- Nasdaq 7,306.15 +0.62%
- Nikkei 225 23,951.81 +1.00%
- Gold 1,334.60 -0.02%
- Oil WTI 64.27 -0.05%
`Uber to introduce work hour limit
Uber says it is to cap the amount of hours a driver can work. From next week a driver must take a six–hour break away from the wheel following 10 hours of driving.
"While drivers only spend an average of 30 hours a week logged into our app, we want to do our part to ensure they don't drive tired," Andrew Byrne, Uber’s head of policy says. Uber claims the move is an industry first in a sector where there is relatively little regulation.
However Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association for black cab drivers, says the move looks pointless – and contradictory (several attempts have been made by the EU to get the UK taxi industry to accept tachographs).
"Uber can't claim its drivers are self-employed and aren't subject to minimum wage, but then try to limit the hours that they can work," he told the BBC.
Carillion attempted staff gag
More controversy from Carillion. It’s been revealed that bosses ordered their 40,000 staff not to speak to the media just before the company’s collapse went public. “Do not speak to the media and be careful not to share any information on social media as this will be unhelpful to all of us,” HuffPost UK reported.
Meanwhile Sir Vince Cable says a decision to fast-track an investigation of Carillion's directors, former and current, is welcome – plus a full National Audit Office probe.
"We need to know," Sir Vince says, "why the government felt it was not wrong to feed Carillion lucrative public sector contracts when they knew the company was in severe trouble because of its profit warnings."