Shortly after the opening bell the US S&P 500 tore through the 2,700 barrier for the first time this morning. The S&P speed bump was powered by energy and consumer staples meanwhile Apple and Facebook, up +1.3% and +0.80% respectively, helped push the Nasdaq higher, hitting another intraday record.
The still-strong US sentiment was buoyed by better-than-expected US manufacturing activity last month. The US Institute for Supply Management claimed a reading of 59.7 for December compared to 58.2 in November.
All this helped a lacklustre dollar back on its feet: at 4pm London time sterling was still – just – over the 1.35 handle but more than -0.61% down at 1.3512. The euro suffered less, down -0.33% to 1.2018 against the greenback while the euro was up +0.3% against sterling at 0.8895.
The weaker pound gave FTSE 100 stocks a boost. Likewise, a frailer euro against the dollar gave European bourses some cheer with the German Dax up almost +1%. At close tonight the FTSE 100 ended with Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust up almost +7% while Next shares were up almost +6.7% at 4799p thanks to better Christmas sales (more of below). Mining shares generally dipped with Antofagasta down more than -2.5%.
- UK FTSE 100 7,671.11 +0.30%
- DAX 12,989.22 +0.92%
- CAC 40 5,332.97 +0.84%
- Dow 24,902.85 +0.31%
- S&P 500 2,707.03 +0.45%
- Nasdaq 7,052.23 +0.65%
- Nikkei 225 22,764.94 -0.08%
- Gold 1,317.00 +0.07%
- Oil WTI 61.25 +1.46%
Spotify public-ready but likely to avoid road-show pressure
This afternoon news seeped across the Atlantic that Spotify was preparing to list on the New York Stock Exchange. The music-streaming giant, according to sources such as Bloomberg, has now filed with US regulators.
“Spotify’s equity was valued at $8.5bn two years ago when it raised $526m,” reported Bloomberg. “The company would be one of the largest consumer technology providers to go public in recent years.”
It’s looking likely Spotify – it has more than 60m paying subscribers though it has yet to turn a profit – may opt for a direct listing skipping expensive underwriting charges and investor relations roadshows to drum up interest.
One kink in travel plans though are several lawsuits from music publishers challenging royalty payments. These are unlikely to derail an IPO but it does make things significantly untidier.
John Lewis joins festive retail cheer
Next reported strong overall Christmas trading at 7am this morning. The better retail mood was kept aloft by John Lewis later today when the middle class high street stalwart reported +4% more sales than a year ago for the week ending 23 December.
Home and tech sales surged more than +11% while fashion sales lifted +8.8%. That’s the best result for fashion John Lewis has seen in ages. The retail warm glow spread further down the high street to M&S and Primark owner ABF. Both shared some modest halo gains, up more than +1.5%. What is increasingly clear is that online sales are off-setting more mundane footfall sales.
Back in October Next had warned of a poorer trading period following weaker autumn bricks-and-mortar sales. But Next reported online sales were almost +14% up for the 54 days to 24 December this morning. The online surge did not stop Next chief exec Lord Wolfson warning of extreme trading volatility.
Breaking news: Ryanair says 129m passengers flew with it last year – +10% up on 2016 – despite thousands of flights being disrupted over a pilot shortage.