Monday saw the FTSE 100 finish just three points higher at 7,300.86, up 0.05%. The top risers included Intu Properties, up 2.15% to 275.50p and Paddy Power Betfair, up 2.10% to 8,250p. Centrica shares lifted 1.86%. There was also some support for high street retailer Next, up 1.84%.
Miners Anglo American and Antofagasta Holdings both took -2% falls to 1009.50p and 753.50p respectively. Away from the Big Board there were strong gains for Countrywide, up 4.88% and Thomas Cook Group, up 3.64%.
However the French CAC 40 closed down almost 1% following President-elect Macron's comfortable win. The German Dax slipped -0.18% lower to 12,694.55. After an initial rally, the euro also fell back as questions about how Macron would finesse his reform agenda began to harden.
Meanwhile the owner of paint brand Dulux, AkzoNobel, has for the third time rebuffed a takeover bid from US competitor PPG though PPG is adamant it's a fair offer on the table.
“PPG,” it says, “continues to believe its proposal is vastly superior in shareholder value creation and provides more certainty to employees and pensioners than AkzoNobel’s recently announced new standalone plan."
Following on from this morning’s news that Centrica, owner of British Gas, lost 261,000 customers to other energy operators in the last quarter, the energy giant says Conservative proposals to cap energy costs may induce price rises and undermine competition.
High profit margins
It’s now thought British Gas could lose a million customers by the end of 2017. “Centrica,” says price comparison player EnergyLinx, “remains the UK's biggest domestic energy supplier. They also earned the highest profit margins in the industry on their customers last year, at 8.8% of earnings before interest and tax, versus an industry average of 5.6%.”
Over in the fashion world ‘affordable’ luxury goods brand Coach has bought rival Kate Spade for $2.4bn. The deal works out at $18.50 a share. The move should help Coach widen its product offering and draw in new customers at lower price points.
BOE to keep cautious
Later this week Bank of England governor Mark Carney is likely to predict steady growth for the year ahead with the Bank’s Inflation Report.
However growth remains slower than hoped and inflation higher. It’s likely the BOE will play safe with a basic neutral stance given weak consumer spending and a soft housing market.
At London's close gold was trading at $1,227.83, up +0.25% while Crude Oil WTI was at $45.90. GBP/EUR was up 0.35% at 1.184 while GBP/USD was down 0.29% at 1.294.