Sterling nervousness continues ahead of the UK election with little key meaningful economic data coming out of the UK and the US. Overnight the GBP/USD pair criss-crossed the 1.2900 handle (7am 1.2909) following Asian selling pressure; the euro is at 1.1266.
With the US dollar at 7-month lows the pound’s downside has however some protection, even if polls – some – point to a hung UK parliament. Oil price pressure continue with WTI crude at $48.04 and Brent crude at $49.98, both down around 0.30%.
US stocks saw the Dow Jones down 47 points or -0.23% last night with Wal-Mart and Boeing seeing sharp-ish dips, down -1.66% and -1.16% while the Nasdaq slid 0.3% to 6,275.06. Overnight, Asian stocks were broadly flat. Today, EU GDP data emerges this morning while US crude oil inventories are out at 3.30pm.
- UK FTSE 100 7,524.95 -0.01%
- Dow 21,136.23 -0.23%
- S&P 500 2,429.33 -0.28%
- Nasdaq 6,275.06 -0.33%
- DAX 12,690.12 – 1.04%
- CAC 40 5,269.22 -0.73%
- Nikkei 225 19,995.93 +0.08%
- Gold 1,294.50 -0.23%
- Oil WTI 48.05 -0.29%
Santander buys Banco Popular
We start with news that Santander is to snap up troubled Banco Popular though Santander will need to raise £6.1bn in order to fund it despite a nominal €1 access fee. Popular has been beset by toxic property loans with a dire need for more capital to address its balance sheet.
Santander, Spain’s largest bank, will want to see a return on its considerable investment within three years maximum, it’s thought. Popular’s bad property assets are worth in the region of €37m. The Spanish government has ruled out a public bail-out.
Banco Popular shares have tumbled more than 50% in the last five days alone. Yesterday Moody’s downgraded the Spanish lender’s deposit rating from Ba3 to B2.
RPC Group profits soar
Full year numbers are out FTSE 250 packaging operator RPC Group. Revenues are up 67% reflecting, claims RPC, 3% like-for-like sales growth and acquisition contributions, with a return on sales upped to 11.2% (2016: 10.6%).
Adjusted operating profit rises 77% to £308.2m (2016: £174.3m) with adjusted EPS improved 54% to 62.2p (2016 restated: 40.4p); RPC’s statutory basic earnings per share more than doubles.
“The recently completed Letica acquisition will provide an enhanced platform for growth in North America and has made a good start under RPC's ownership,” says chief exec Pim Vervaat. RPC had its Buy rating restated by Numis last week.
Uber fires staff in harassment probe
Uber has been under pressure to take action on its workplace culture following blog posts alleging sexually harassment, sexism and discrimination from managers in recent months.
Several high profile staff have departed the company in the last few months. Uber’s chief financial officer Gautam Gupta, is also to quit it was revealed last week. Uber confirmed it lost more than $700m in the first quarter.