Stock markets were broadly flat today despite the terror attack in London at the weekend. But the pound has gained as UK election polls increasingly point to a sizeable Conservative election win.
Shortly before 4pm sterling was up by nearly 0.4% to $1.2920 while the euro was at $1.1247. Despite sterling’s gains today it has yet to make good on last week’s losses.
After an initial rise this morning oil prices have reversed as anxiety over OPEC’s relationship with Qatar and the future of a global production deal have increased. Just before 4pm WTI crude was at $47.14 while Brent crude was at $49.37, down more than -1.15%.
- FTSE 100 7,523 -0.3%
- Dow 21,193.39 -0.06%
- S&P 500 2,453.60 -0.14%
- Nasdaq 6,292.47 -0.21%
- DAX 12,822.94 +1.25%
- CAC 40 5,306.04 -0.70%
- Nikkei 225 20,170.82 -0.03%
- Gold 1,282.40 +0.18%
- Oil WTI 47.15 -1.07%
The clash between Qatar and the Saudis is certainly causing much unease for oil markets. So far Etihad Airways and Emirates have both suspended flights to Doha; Qatar’s main share index was more than 7% down earlier today. The scrap between Doha and its Arab neighbours may be the biggest crisis to hit the Gulf region in some years.
UK service sector weakens in May
In the UK there was poorer services PMI Data for May this morning, with the index down from 55.8 in April to 53.8. The numbers appear to support the view that the UK’s service economy has slowed – though April did represent a four-month peak.
“Service providers indicated a further solid upturn in new business volumes,” said IHS Markit, “but the rate of expansion was the least marked for three months." The slowdown in new order growth was partly linked to short-term factors, particularly delays with decision making ahead of the election.
After a brief pause for staff hiring last July, service providers have now reported ten months of sustained job creation says IHS Markit. Looking ahead, service sector firms are relatively upbeat about growth prospects, with 44% expecting a rise in business activity in the year ahead.
Airline profits looking good
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) claims airline profits should hit $31.4bn in 2017. That’s more than $1.5bn than it originally estimated.
IATA represents more than 200 carriers globally. However IATA also says that the impact of terror attacks in Western Europe in 2016 saw European airline revenues cut by $2.5bn (easyJet and IAG shares fell hard today).
“At a route-level,” says the IATA, “there is still a lingering impact on the Europe-Asia market.” Outbound travel from Asia is known to be particularly sensitive to shock events says IATA. But international travel within Europe has normalised back to ‘pre-attacks’ trend level.
The FTSE 100 ended the day down 21.87 points at 7,525.76 with Old Mutual and Standard Chartered the biggest climbers, up 2.28% and 1.07%. Better news for retail with M&S shares rising 0.92% and Next shares up 0.89%.
However Antofagasta Holdings slumped -3.5%; easyJet shares saw a terror-related sell-off, down -3.24% with fellow traveller IAG slipping 2.4%.