A rash of big FTSE 100 names – HSBC, InterContinental Hotels Group and BHP Billiton – all saw big chunks taken out of their share price mid-afternoon (-3.7%, -3.2% and -4.7% respectively) helping push the FTSE 100 -0.14% down; there was better news for Evraz and DS Smith, up +4.4% and +2.4%.
The pound managed some defence against a resurgent dollar as a number of US Treasury auctions hoved into view. The spot dollar rose +0.45% to 89.61 while the pound traded just -0.03% lower at 1.3992, in part thanks to some pro-Brexit negotiation sentiment emerging at lunchtime calling for EU-wide flexibility. The euro was a different story, down -0.46% at 1.2350 after taking on a negative German and Eurozone ZEW economic sentiment reading.
Tomorrow, UK monthly job numbers arrive while from the US FOMC meeting minutes land. Meanwhile, trouble for RBS – a parliamentary report of how the bank’s Global Restructuring Group treated SME customers has now been made public. Read the full report here.
- UK FTSE 100 7,238 -0.13%
- DAX 12,444.11 +0.47%
- CAC 40 5,275.00 +0.36%
- Euro Stoxx 600 379.54 +0.34%
- Dow 25,066.66 -0.61%
- S&P 500 2,725.12 -0.23%
- Nasdaq 7,259.38 +0.26%
- Nikkei 225 21,925.10 -1.01%
- Gold 1,341.70 -1.07%
- Oil WTI 61.60 -0.13%
Corbyn attacks Melrose following new losses
The GKN-Melrose bickering continues. The FTSE 250 industrial turnaround player has reported a fresh loss but reiterated its view that GKN would benefit “significantly” from its £7.4bn hostile takeover offer. Melrose’s losses were cut from almost £70m last year to £27.6m for 2017.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described Melrose earlier today as a company “with a history of opportunistic asset-stripping". He went on: “We rightly praise the growth of companies like GKN and their location in the UK. And yet when we are facing the possible destruction of that company, we are powerless to act."
Earlier in February shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey demanded that business secretary Greg Clark close down the potential Melrose takeover of GKN on grounds of national security.
Asda sales improve but Walmart profits and share price down
Better news for supermarket giant Asda with a +0.5% rise in crucial like-for-like sales. While modest the sales uptick marks a third quarter of sales growth for the Walmart-owned company, struggling with several years of flailing sales.
Separately parent Walmart claimed a +2.6% like-for-like sales hike for the fourth quarter – better than predicted – though overall profits were hammered, down 42% to $2.17bn. Walmart had hoped to open up the sales assault against Amazon over the Christmas trading period but online sales slowed. Earlier, Walmart shares fell almost 10%.
Breaking news: Britain will not be plunged "into a Mad Max-style world borrowed from dystopian fiction" after quitting the EU Brexit Secretary David Davis said earlier. Labour's shadow Brexit secretary, Sir Keir Starmer responded: "Last week, by contrast, we had Boris Johnson, championing deregulation and difference and that's the whole point of the exercise. So you've got two, as ever, two different views within a week."