Supported by strong UK retail sales the pound lifted above $1.30 today, its best result since September last year. UK retail sales climbed 2.3% in April compared to March, confirmed the Office for National Statistics.
The dollar continued to trade lower accruing close to six-month lows against the euro (1.1122) though better-than-expected US unemployment numbers arrived earlier in the day. US Treasury yields were pushed lower.
The FTSE 100 saw a 67-point sell-off to 7,436.42. In Europe both the CAC and DAX also took more losses (4pm), down -0.50% and -0.30%.
- UK FTSE 100 7,436.42 -0.89%
- Dow 20,664.85 +0.29%
- S&P 500 2,366.86 +0.42%
- Nasdaq 6,054.42 +0.72%
- DAX 30 12,593.02 -0.30%
- CAC 40 5,289.44 -0.53%
- Gold 1,253.80 -0.39%
- Oil WTI 49.41 +0.67%
US stocks lifted modestly with the S&P 500 up 0.32% to 2,364.36 and the Nasdaq, recovering heavy losses from Wednesday, up +0.72% to 6,050.28.
Double trouble on pensions
Earlier today the Conservative government was warned a commitment to a double-lock promise on pensions – downgraded from a triple-lock – remained unaffordable, according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS).
“State pension spending in fifty years time is only 0.2% of national income lower (less than £5 billion in today’s terms),” said the IFS.
“In other words, moving to a double lock undoes only around a quarter of the damage done by the triple lock to the long-run sustainability of the public finances.”
Earlier in the day the Tories introduced election manifesto plans for a rash of sovereign wealth funds to bolster infrastructure investment.