Investors were not much impressed with Theresa May’s crucial Italian speech, designed to re-boot Brexit negotations. No figure on the divorce expenses was given (the EU is looking at a final bill of $70-€100bn). There was talk of an on-going “fair contribution” and some reassurance of paying enough into EU coffers till 2020 so the finances of other EU states would not be put under strain.
May offered some legal protection to EU citizens living in the UK and there was some positive words on defence EU-wide expenses. A two-year transition period was proposed. Significantly, not one leader of the 27 EU nations was in the audience to hear her. Not a speech with enough grip, and traders made their view clear.
"Overall," said Barclays tonight, "there was very little detail or progress in this speech, with a risk of continued uncertainty among businesses and investors. Any continued delay in next week’s negotiations may in turn dampen sentiment and the future investment and growth outlook."
At 4pm sterling was down almost -0.40% at $1.3530 while the euro was up more than +0.60% against sterling. The FTSE 100 in London climbed 46 points to 7,310.64 helped by the weaker pound with AstraZeneca shares up more than +3%. Johnson Matthey shares were again up also, rising +3%. However Smiths Group shares plunged almost -6% on underlying revenues worry.
- UK FTSE 100 7,310.64 +0.64%
- Dow 22,342.30 -0.08%
- S&P 500 2,499.42 -0.05%
- Nasdaq 6,421.40 -0.02%
- Nikkei 225 20,296.45 -0.25%
- DAX 12,599.08 -0.01%
- CAC 40 5,283.56 +0.31%
- Gold 1,300.10 +0.41%
- Oil WTI 50.56 +0.02%
Uber not “fit and proper”
Uber knew there was a risk Transport for London (TfL) would refuse it a new five year licence, meaning many thousands of private-hire drivers would be removed from London’s streets. But when the ruling came, the shock impact was considerable.
Uber’s licence runs out on 30 September. It will appeal and has 21 days to put this into motion. "If this decision stands," Uber said in a statement, "it will put more than 40,000 licensed drivers out of work and deprive Londoners of a convenient and affordable form of transport.”
It went on: “To defend the livelihoods of all those drivers, and the consumer choice of millions of Londoners who use our app, we intend to immediately challenge this in the courts.”
London mayor Sadiq Khan and employments rights campaigners all supported the TfL move. However some will question whether TfL was reallly prepared to work with Uber, used by 3.5m Londoners, at an earlier stage. Next question: delete the app?
US shares down; Apple hard hit, again
Over in the US shares have slipped on more US-North Korean exchanges. Mid-afternoon the Nasdaq and Dow Jones were down -0.10% and -0.13%. Apple shares registered a further deep fall, down-1.61% to near $150 a share.
More evidence of the benefits of a cheaper pound: earlier the Office for National Statistics confirmed that overseas visitors to the UK spent £2.75bn – a record figure – while 4m visitors entered the UK in July. Another record.
Breaking news: Asda cuts 2p off a litre of fuel.