The Dow Jones commenced trading this morning with a 200-point plunge as investors digested the latest twists of the President Trump-FBI Russian saga. Much of the concern rests on how Trump will now push much of his infrastructure ambitions through; impeachment worry also hangs about.
There was clear damage to many big US blue chip names with Apple down more than -2.3% and Facebook falling -1.8%. Through all this the FTSE 100 clung on, down just 18 points at 7,503.47 while the DAX and CAC mirrored the US confidence wobble, losing -1.29% and -1.68% respectively.
The euro continued to gain rising above 1.1120 – a six-month high – as the scene for a tougher stimulus stance from the ECB is set. Sterling was up +0.46% to 1.2976 at 4pm. The dollar dipped to a 12-day low against the yen.
- UK FTSE 100 7,503.47 -0.25%
- Dow 20,744.58 -1.12%
- S&P 500 2,375.54 -1.05%
- Nasdaq 6,072.03 -1.59%
- DAX 30 12,629.51 -1.37%
- CAC 40 5,311.48 -1.75%
- Gold 1,257.60 +1.71%
- Oil WTI 49.27 +1.27%
With all this uncertainty gold headed north to $1,256.65, 1.75% higher. In France today Bruno Le Maire was named as new French Finance Minister.
Oil buoyed higher
Meanwhile oil jumped earlier on news that US inventories dipped; WTI Oil edged up more than 1.5% to close to $49.50.
Back in the UK Wednesday marked a 42-year jobless low with UK unemployment falling to 4.6% for the first quarter, down from 4.7%. Despite the strong employment news consumers are fighting the highest inflation levels since 2013.
British consumers are also fighting the lower value of sterling on a range of imports: public sector workers, for example, have seen pay levels increase by just 1.3% year-on-year. This means a complete failure of wages to maintain pace with inflation.
London unemployment climbs
One startling statistic to emerge from the ONS data was the London unemployment rate – which has soared to 6.1% compared to 5.5% from the previous quarter.
Earlier today there was also concern about UK productivity from the CBI. The CBI claims UK R&D is at 1.7% of GDP currently; the CBI says the government should aim for 3% by 2025 in an effort to crack the UK's productivity problem.
The biggest FTSE 100 risers today were Fresnillo, up 3% to 1,610p and grocer Tesco, up +2.35% to 182.65p. The largest faller was Ashtead Group, slumping -3.82% to 1,560p.
Tomorrow, a UK retail sales announcement at 9.30am. There's also consumer price index EU news at 10am.