A big share price surge for Flybe today as a merger with Stobart Group was aired, more below. The Dow hadn’t managed to re-cross the 25,000 line mid-afternoon but the major US index was hovering close at 24,990, up +0.78%. Some of the positivity came off a new labour market report suggesting jobless claims fell again in the last week to 222,000.
There was also some attempt to clip multiple US interest rate rise fears from St. Louis Fed President, James Bullard – though Bullard is not a rate-setter this year. “The idea that we have to go 100 basis points in 2018, that seems like a lot to me,” Bullard told CNBC.
At 3.30pm the dollar spot price was -0.34% lower at 89.74; so the initial lift from the release of the Fed FOMC minutes, indicating possible interest rate direction, was a pretty short-lived affair. Higher interest rates broadly support the dollar but the bigger question is pace and frequency of future climbs. Meanwhile the pound was flat against the buck at 1.3932, up +0.10% while the euro was +0.35% more buoyant at 1.2328.
Some of the UK economic optimism around yesterday was bought down a peg earlier by a revised October-to-December GDP reading from the ONS. GDP got shaved from +0.5% to +0.4%. "A number of very small revisions to mining, energy generation and service were enough to see a slight downward revision to quarterly growth overall," ONS statistician Darren Morgan said in a statement.
The FTSE 100 closed -0.40% lower tonight though Centrica's move to slash jobs and stabilise the dividend when down well with investors with the stock surging more than +7.5%. Barclays shares were also strongly up on better profits news, climbing +4.4%.
- UK FTSE 100 7,252.39 -0.40%
- DAX 12,364.05 -0.86%
- CAC 40 5,276.88 -0.48%
- Euro Stoxx 600 378.05 -0.78%
- Dow 24,985.02 +0.73%
- S&P 500 2,717.57 +0.58%
- Nasdaq 7,263.29 +0.61%
- Nikkei 225 21,736.44 -1.07%
- Gold 1,331.20 -0.06%
- Oil WTI 61.83 +0.24%
Flybe shares gain altitude on Stobart interest
Flybe shares took off earlier surging more than +27% to 44.00p after Stobart Group revealed it was examining a range of logistical options for its airline business. Stobart Group said a non-controlling interest “in a vehicle to acquire 100% of Flybe” was being looked at.
Stobart and Flybe have closely aligned interests via Stobart’s ownership of Southend airport. “We have been reviewing alternative structures for our airline and leasing business that can play an important part in the consolidation of the regional airline sector,” added Stobart in a statement.
Stobart shares were up also following the announcement; at 4.15pm they were trading almost +2% higher at 254.50p.
Ford moves quickly on Nair departure
Across the Atlantic Ford moved quickly today to appoint Kumar Galhotra as its new North American boss following the surprise exit of Raj Nair midweek. Galhotra has been a Ford man for almost 30 years and reports to Ford VP Jim Farley.
It’s still not clear why Nair was forced to walk from his job though leadership criticism was made abundantly clear by the auto maker.
“We made this decision after a thorough review and careful consideration," said Ford earlier in the week. "Ford is deeply committed to providing and nurturing a safe and respectful culture and we expect our leaders to fully uphold these values."