More concern about the UK housing market (see below). Earlier, dollar weakness – the dollar spot price was down -0.51% late afternoon at 92.60 – saw more support for gold: gold prices are now at their highest level for a month. At 5pm the yellow metal was selling at $1,294, up +0.52%.
Asian shares remain largely ahead thanks in part to commodity-driven economy sentiment and demand for certain assets like copper (copper looks set to end 2017 up +30% higher). Some of the uptick is being driven by electric car development, plus more demand from China.
Bitcoin, currently trading at $14,357, got another push down earlier following South Korea’s decision to bring forward new measures to regulate crypto currencies.
Tonight the FTSE 100 hit an all-time high – just – at 7,622.88 helped by rises from Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, up +1.5% and +0.9%. Morrisons supermarkets were up +1.2%. However BT Group and NMC Healthcare were down -2.5% and -2.2% respectively.
- UK FTSE 100 7,622.88 +0.03%
- DAX 13,041.21 -0.21%
- CAC 40 5,356.35 -0.23%
- Dow 24,811.75 +0.15%
- S&P 500 2,683.67 +0.04%
- Nasdaq 6,937.39 -0.03%
- Nikkei 225 22,783.98 -0.56%
- Gold 1,294.80 +0.27%
- Oil WTI 59.55 -0.13%
UK mortgage approvals hit bottom in November
Payment services player UK Finance announced earlier that British mortgage approvals hit a one-year low in November. Just 39,507 mortgages got the green light. That figure is the lowest since mid 2016, claims UK Finance.
However December numbers could well look better. That’s because stamp duty was abolished for properties up to £300,000 for first-time buyers.
Overall UK mortgage numbers were up in 2017 but so was credit card borrowing. “Credit card spending has continued to rise as more financial transactions are now carried out using cards, mirroring the declining use of loans and personal overdrafts,” said UK Finance’s Eric Leenders.
DFS buys up Multiyork assets
Elsewhere DFS Furniture has snapped up a spread of assets from former rival Multiyork for around £1.2m. Thetford-based Multiyork had 50 stores in total. It folded in late November blaming a tough trading environment.
For its cash DFS gets eight store leases, the ability to use the Multiyork trademark plus marketing support. “We are delighted,” said Gill Stewart of Sofa Workshop, part of the DFS Group, “to take this opportunity to expand our store network, offering customers a local presence where they can experience Sofa Workshop's exclusive range of modern, luxury, hand-made furniture.”