The shares resurgence held more or less intact today. There was a big share price gain for property investment player Segro, up more than +6.7% today to 592.80p helping the FTSE 100 +0.83% higher to 7,294.95. NMC Health lifted +4.64% while miners generally looked weaker with Randgold Resources down more than -2%.
Things looked somewhat shaky also from retail with UK sales up just +0.1% in January, the Office of National Statistics confirmed. “Retail sales growth was broadly flat at the beginning of the New Year with the longer-term picture showing a continued slowdown in the sector,” said ONS statistician Rhian Murphy. “This can partly be attributed to a background of generally rising prices.”
In the US investor sentiment pushed up modestly again – the Dow was +0.50% up mid-afternoon London time –after a shaky start helped by better housing construction data: housing starts – a key indicator of the US economy registering consumer and construction sector buoyancy –surged by almost +10% in January, the US Commerce Department confirmed (though numbers are always subject to revision).
These better US numbers helped give the dollar a shove forward, pushing the dollar index spot +0.34% to 88.87 with the euro sinking -0.41% against it to 1.2452. The pound was down -0.34% against the greenback mid-afternoon but up +0.15% against the euro as Prime Minister Theresa May met Angela Merkel in Berlin for more talks on a Brexit transition deal.
- UK FTSE 100 7,294.95 +0.83%
- DAX 12,499.93 +0.44%
- CAC 40 5,268.89 +0.87%
- Euro Stoxx 600 379.49 +0.79%
- Dow 25,231.30 +0.12%
- S&P 500 2,733.03 +0.07%
- Nasdaq 7,266.31 +0.14%
- Nikkei 225 21,720.25 +1.1%
- Gold 1,355.20 -0.01%
- Oil WTI 61.12 -0.37%
Heinz revenues lose their beanz; UK retail sales down
Some glumness over at Kraft Heinz. US revenues drifted -1.1% over the Christmas trading period to $4.79bn while sales over the full year slipped to $26.2bn from $26.4bn. Organic net sales were down -0.6%.
“There's no question that our financial performance in 2017 did not reflect our progress or potential,” admitted Kraft Heinz CEO Bernardo Hees.
Today’s UK retail sales data – January sales inched up just +0.1% compared to a very weak December – from the ONS made for particularly unhappy reading for supermarkets and food retailers. The message to take away was that wage growth continues to fall behind inflation. Buying power remains frail.
"Growth in the quantity of sporting equipment, games and toys being bought was offset by falling food sales when compared with the same month a year earlier,” said the ONS.
Tesco shutters call centre
Significant unhappiness too for many Tesco workers. Its Cardiff call centre shuts today with more than 1,100 jobs lost. Instead, Tesco is enlarging a customer call centre in Dundee, creating 250 new roles.
Trade union Usdaw says their reps fought to keep the call centre open, “challenging the business case through the consultation period, but once it became clear we couldn’t achieve that, we had to focus on getting the best deal for members and helping them find alternative work.”
Tesco shares are up +0.64% this week but up nearly +14% in the past six months. However on a five-year time frame they’re down more than -45%.
Breaking news: there are reports an outstanding £15m VAT bill could hasten the demise of Toys R Us, potentially crashing into administration. More from Sky News here.