Stocks sold down fast on Wednesday with the Dow slumping -1.78% to 20,606.93 as Trump turmoil in the US accelerated. Today, Thursday, both the Australian ASX 200 and the Nikkei 225 were down sharply. Tokyo’s Topix index sank -1.2%.
Predictably, gold got more support ($1,259.46 at 7am this morning) as the stock stress spread. In the UK on Wednesday the FTSE 100 did mange to close above the 7,500 level with strong climbs from Fresnillo and Tesco, up 2.75% and 2.16% respectively.
As far as currencies go, EUR/USD has come under pressure from a six-month high, down -0.16% to 1.1140 while the pound is at 1.2953. However some analysts remain behind a dollar correction as over-valuation concerns hang about.
UniCredit have boosted their forecast for the common currency as EU political risk reduces.
This morning, UK Retail Sales are out at 9.30am with EU Consumer Price Index data out at 10am. Watch too for Crude Oil Inventories at 3.30pm.
- UK FTSE 100 7,503.47 -0.25%
- Dow 20,606.93 -1.78%
- S&P 500 2,357.03 -1.82%
- Nasdaq 6,011.24 -2.57%
- DAX 30 12,631.61 -1.35%
- CAC 40 5,317.89 -1.63%
- Gold 1,259.80 +0.09%
- Oil WTI 48.91 -0.33%
Royal Mail profits up 25%
Let’s start with Royal Mail and a pre-tax profits lift to £335m compared to £267m. Revenues were up just 1% to £9.77bn. A combination of good growth overseas but “challenging” operations on home turf.
"We are on track,” says boss Moya Greene, “to avoid around £600m of annualised costs in UKPIL by 2017-18. We are past the peak of investment; we now expect net cash investment of around £450m in 2017-18.”
However Royal Mail is having to shell out £1.3bn annually to 90,000 employees on annual contributions of just £400m (the government underwrites pre-2012 payouts). CWU union pension negotiations remain on-going.
Burberry cost-cutting on target
Macs-to-scarves-to-shoes fashion player Burberry revealed this morning a reported profits slip to £394.8m from £415.6m though revenues lift £200m to £2.7bn for the full year to March.
Targeted cost savings are still on track says Burberry (£20m in FY 2017) with a claimed £50m for 2018. The full year dividend is up 5% to 38.9p. Better sentiment from Asia is also positive, in line with solid growth from rivals like LVMH for the first quarter.
"2017 was a year of transition for Burberry,” says outgoing boss Christopher Bailey, “in a fast changing luxury market. The actions we have taken to lay the foundations for future growth are yielding early benefits."
Assets under management lift
Lastly, financial operator Hargreaves Lansdown says assets under management have lifted 10% (to £77bn) for the four months to April due in part to fund launches and greater investor confidence.
Year-to-date total net revenues arrived at £315.7m compared to £268.9m for the same period last year. Despite a knock to its share price in the last week from US rival Vanguard – HL saw its worst one-day fall for almost a year – Hargreaves’ share price remains 11% up YTD.
“The breadth of our product offering,” says chief exec Chris Hill, “combined with the provision of high quality services tailored to help meet the needs of our clients has allowed us to deliver significant growth over a period of improving investor confidence.”