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Traders shrug off China data, Bunzl slump on slowdown

Traders shrug off China data, Bunzl slump on slowdown

European stock markets haven’t moved much this morning despite the better-than-expected economic updates from China overnight.

Chinese first-quarter GDP was 6.4%, topping the 6.3% forecast. Industrial production surged in March, and retail sales improved too, but some traders are sceptical of the figures. China’s imports have been falling recently, which suggests that domestic demand is weak, and that doesn’t tally up with industrial production and retail sales figures.

Mediclinic shares are in demand today after the company said that underlying earnings are tipped to decline by 3.5%, and that compares with the 4.8% fall that equity analysts had estimated. The firm is experiencing revenue growth in all regions, but it cited tougher regulations in Switzerland as a reason for lower earnings. The stock has been in a steady decline since July 2016, and it fell to an all-time low in January, but it if breaks above the 340p area, it might push higher. 

Bunzl shares slumped today after the company posted a slowdown in first-quarter sales. In the first three months, the firm registered a 4% increase in sales, but when you remove currency movements, it only grew by 2.5%. The US operation posted minimal sales growth, and the firm cautioned about ‘mixed’ macroeconomic conditions. The stock gapped lower this morning, but if it holds above the 2,150p region, the wider upward trend might remain intact.   

BHP Billiton lowered its iron ore production forecast to between 265 million tonnes and 270 million tonnes, and the previous forecast was for between 273 million tonnes and 283 million tonnes. The possibility that Vale’s Brucutu iron ore mine will restart production has weighed on BHP sentiment too.

Pendragon shares are in the red after the new management announced an operational review of the business after the latest quarter showed that margins are under pressure. The group cited a challenging car market for the decline in performance. UK new car registrations declined by 3% last month, and uncertainty surrounding Brexit is playing is weighing consumer sentiment.

GBP/USD is flat on the day, and the UK inflation rate held steady at 1.9%, while economists were expecting it to tick up to 2%, the core reading also remained unchanged at 1.8%, while traders were predicting 1.9%.

EUR/USD is higher on the session thanks to the weaker US dollar. Eurozone CPI and core CPI came in at 1.4% and 0.8% respectively, and both met forecasts.

Netflix shares will be in focus today after the company reported solid quarterly figures last night, but the guidance was soft. EPS came in at 76 cents, which comfortably topped the 57 cent forecast, revenue jumped by 22.2% to $4.52 billion, and the consensus estimate was $4.50 billion. Domestic and international subscriber additions exceeded forecasts. The streaming service predicts second-quarter EPS of 55 cents, while analysts were expecting 99 cents.  

We are expecting the Dow Jones to open 12 points higher at 26,464 and we are calling the S&P 500 up 4 points at 2,911.

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