Stock markets broadly flatlined today as investors wait for a US Fed move on interest rates. A shift to raise rates was given a rude poke in the ribs earlier when US consumer price inflation fell to 1.7%, more than anticipated. US retail sales slipped from 0.4% to 0.3% month-on-month in May.
At this late date it’s unlikely these figures will make much impact. Earlier, sterling broke past $1.28 though at 3.45pm it had fallen back to $1.2765, still up 0.15% on the day. The euro continued to push higher, up 0.63% to $1.1279 while rising almost 0.50% against sterling, to 0.8831.
Back in the UK average earnings data emerged, down 0.6% in real terms in the quarter to April; UK earnings rose just 1.7% before taking inflation into account. However the amount of people employed hit a high of 74.8%.
- UK FTSE 100 7474.40 -0.35%
- Dow Jones 21,331.95 +0.02%
- S&P 500 2,438.71 -0.07%
- Nasdaq 6,218.84 -0.02%
- DAX 12,840.97 +0.59%
- CAC 40 5,269.16 +0.14%
- Nikkei 225 19,883.52 -0.08%
- Gold 1,279.00 +0.83%
- Oil WTI 44.77 -3.64%
UK wage squeeze continues
“As real wage growth deteriorates throughout the course of 2017,” Barclays commented on the just-released earnings figures, “which we believe will be the case, households will be forced to tighten their belts, only amplified by the expected tightening in unsecured consumer credit.”
Earlier on oil prices dipped again. WTI crude was down more than 3% to $45.03 following concern that global supply was increasing. Since the end of May crude has fallen more than 10%. US shale concern continues with reports of “refracking” – producers returning to older wells, aided by more advanced fracking technology.
Some oil analysts continue to believe that prices will rise in the medium term but so far shale drillers are keeping prices on the defensive.
“Shale drillers continue to defy expectations,” reported Oilprice.com, “ratcheting up output even as prices languish at or below $50, should give oil watchers pause. Even OPEC acknowledged its disappointment in its latest monthly report, stating that the oil market was rebalancing at a ‘slower pace’ than it had expected.”
Air Berlin maintaining altitude – just
Despite €1.2bn in losses during the last two years Air Berlin claims it sees positive earnings for 2018, though chief exec Thomas Winkelmann admitted 2017 had been challenging so far at its earlier AGM in London today.
Air Berlin is seeking loans from the states of Berlin and North Rhine-Westphalia as boss Winkelmann looks at debt restructuring options. Air Berlin remains 29%-owned by Etihad, though for long it’s difficult to judge.
Requests for a state loan is not a sign of good health. The company employs more than 8,000 staff in Germany alone. Air Berlin, the country’s second-biggest airline, has a reputation for regular consumer complaints, according to passenger rights portal EUclaim.
Meanwhile the FTSE 100 ended Wednesday down 26 points at 7,474.40 with Anglo American and Rio Tinto seeing 2.39% and 2.13% share price falls. Both BP and Shell were down more than 1.5%. Rather better news for Barratt Developments and Old Mutual in contrast, up 3.21% and 3.11% respectively.
Breaking news: Lottery operator Camelot have confirmed an 8.8% ticket sales slump, down to £6.9bn compared to £7.5bn in 20160-2017.