US and UK markets again piled on the gains today. Late morning US time the Dow was +0.22% higher at 25,129 points with UnitedHealth Group, Cisco and Apple all seeing substantial +1%-plus gains.
A rash of other blue-chip US names such as Boeing and Visa also saw robust share price lifts. US asset sentiment got further stoked when President Trump aide and chief economic adviser Gary Cohn told the media that new tax cuts will likely fire US stocks higher – despite many warnings of an imminent correction.
Late afternoon back in the UK Centrica and Next shares lifted strongly, up almost +3% and +2.2% respectively though a mix of names including Admiral Group and Barclays fared less well. Centrica was buoyed by a new analyst upgrade.
The strong performance of the FTSE 100 – a late surge this afternoon kicked the index yet higher – was not infected by news of the sharp slowdown in new UK car registrations from the SMMT this morning (much of the FTSE 100 earning power is from overseas). Diesel registrations plunged more than -17%. Fresh anxiety about UK consumer confidence lurked at the edges.
At 4.15pm sterling was +0.08% ahead at 1.3561 against the dollar. The pick-up in sentiment for sterling makes a case for cresting the 1.36 handle next week. The dollar spot price was up +0.11% to 91.98; the euro was -0.33% lower against the pound at 0.8874.
- UK FTSE 100 7,724 +0.37%
- DAX 13,301.94 +1.02%
- CAC 40 5,456.82 +0.80%
- Dow 25,131.18 +0.23%
- S&P 500 2,731.93 +0.29%
- Nasdaq 7,119.25 +0.58%
- Nikkei 225 23,714.53 +0.89%
- Gold 1,319.10 -0.19%
- Oil WTI 61.37 -1.03%
US jobs growth dips in December
While US stocks steamed ahead (again) today US job growth didn’t match quite the surge suggested yesterday by US ADP numbers. Non-farm payroll jobs climbed 148,000 in December claimed the US Labor Department. That’s a substantial demotion from the 250,000 jobs uplift claimed in November from the same source. However unemployment was rock-steady at 4.1%.
“Construction…outperformed 2016 figures, creating 210,000 new jobs in 2017. Hispanic and African-American unemployment rates reached all-time lows in 2017,” said the US Department of Labor. “In the last two reported quarters, the GDP growth rate exceeded 3%.”
While there is demand for US manufacturing jobs to be filled, the US retail sector is much less healthy, highlighted by the number of share price plunges from big names including Target. Online sales have decimated profits and productivity for many: sales per square foot is under immense pressure. In the UK names like Debenhams remain under strain with a significant number of its shares being shorted by hedge funds.
Deutsche Bank shares down on Trump tax revamp
Late this afternoon Deutsche Bank admitted it may make a modest loss thanks to the overhaul of the US tax code from President Trump. The financial hit is thought to be short-term. Shares in Deutsche Bank were down almost -5% in trading at €15.53.
Earlier Gulf state oil player Aramco converted itself into a joint stock operator in a move to smooth the path for a listing. Several major stock market exchanges are battling to lure the massive petroleum giant to their own home turf.