Sterling rose to $1.2711 as the Queen’s speech got underway in Westminster. But the gains were dashed as the morning wore on. Mid-afternoon sterling was trading at $1.2657 after opening at $1.2630. Brexit was very much at the centre of the Queen’s 90-second rendering of the British Government’s dramatically weakened agenda.
Could the Queen have tweeted her speech instead? Not quite. However sterling still appears very much range-bound until negotiations with the Democratic Unionist Party start to yield real fruit. Until that time…
New words from the Bank of England’s chief economist Andy Haldane could cheer things up meanwhile: Haldane said today he may vote for an interest rate hike later in the year. A rate rise would demonstrate national economic confidence, bolstering sterling. At 4pm the euro was trading at $1.1142, up 0.08%.
- UK FTSE 100 7,460.17 -0.17%
- Dow 21,464.24 -0.01%
- S&P 500 2,439.96 +0.12%
- Nasdaq 6,225.55 +0.60%
- Nikkei 225 20,138.79 -0.45%
- DAX 12,799.71 -0.13%
- CAC 40 5,282.83 -0.20%
- Gold 1,245.90 +0.19%
- Oil WTI 43.88 +0.85%
"Threadbare" - Labour leader verdict
On the domestic front Conservative plans to chop the winter fuel allowance for affluent pensioners and axe the triple lock on pensions have been shredded. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described Prime Minister May’s programme as “threadbare”.
Significantly, there was no mention of an impending state visit to the UK by President Donald Trump. There was little also on the financial front, pension commitments apart.
However there will be a ban on increasingly parasitic letting agent fees. Many people who rent, particularly in London and other major UK cities, can be charged up to £700 in fees that typically claim to cover reference and credit cheques – basic administration processes that in the past were done automatically for free.
Foxtons shares were down more than 1% to 93.50p this afternoon.
Tesco axes call centre 1,100 jobs
In other news Tesco says up to 1,100 call centre jobs in Cardiff are to go. The grocer claims it’s putting its call centre focus instead into a new base in Dundee, creating 250 jobs. The Cardiff call centre will close in early 2018.
“We realise this will have a significant effect on colleagues in the Cardiff area,” said Tesco in a statement earlier today, “and our priority now is to continue to do all we can to support them at this time.”
Tesco shares are currently trading at 168.05p (4.30pm) down almost 19% year-to-date while up 2.4% on the yea as a whole. Tesco is attempting to rejuvenate itself but faces the same numerous headwinds that all grocery retailers are enduring: rising prices, an uncertain Brexit future and stagnant wages.
The FTSE 100 ended Wednesday down 12 points at 7,460.17 with Whitbread and Shire seeing the strongest gains, up 3.53% and 2.35%. There were 2.35% and 2.23% climbs for Centrica and Glencore. However Provident Financial shares collapsed 17.10% to 2,865p after worries of more regulatory pressure for the sub-prime lending sector.
Breaking news: Former Wimbledon champion Boris Becker is declared bankrupt. Travel trade organisation ABTA warns UK holidaymakers who make false food poisoning claims could face jail.