The FTSE 100 has had a negative week, but at least it is finishing on a high note.
The rally in the London market has been drive by a wide range of sectors. Healthcare mining, consumer staples and financials are all higher on the session.
Carpetright came under pressure again after the company issued a profit warning. The company said total revenue for the 11 weeks until mid-January declined by 2.3%. The post-Christmas sales, which is very important to the company was well below their expectations. This share price is down 42%, and the stock hit a fresh all-time low this morning. The shock waves from the Carpetright news are so strong, they even weighed on Kingfisher and DFS Furniture.
EasyJet shares are higher today after Morgan Stanley boosted its rating on the stock from equal weight to overweight .The bank also raised its price target to 1725p, from 1490p, and the stock is currently up 4.4% at 1580p.
Intercontinental Hotels received a boost from Goldman Sachs as the Wall Titan increased its rating on the stock to buy from neutral, and they raised their price target to 5600p. The share price of the hotel group is 4931%, and it is up 2.6% today.
US equities are mixed traders await the vote on the potential US government shutdown. Yesterday the House of Representatives passed a bill to prevent a shutdown, and now traders are looking to the Senate. Investors don’t really fear a shutdown as they don’t foresee it happening, but it has cast enough doubt over the stock market to curtail buying momentum. American stocks have enjoyed such a positive run lately, these concerns are the perfect excuse for profit taking.
American Express posted their latest quarterly figures last night, and the stock is down 2.6% today. Adjusted earnings per share were $1.58 and traders were expecting a reading of $1.54. Revenue for the period was $8.84 billion, which topped the $8.72 billion expected. The company will incur a charge in relation to the US tax reforms – which is common. The major difference is that it American Express have halted their share buyback scheme because of the tax bill. This promoted investors to lock in profits.
The University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey slipped to 94.4 in January, while traders were expecting a reading of 97, and the December reading was 96.8.
GBP/USD initially shrugged off the worse than expected UK retail sales, but when the market couldn’t crack the 1.4000 level, it turned lower. Last month UK retail sales fell by 1.5%, on a month-on-month basis, while analysts were anticipating a decline of only 0.6%. Sterling has had a strong start to 2018, and the pullback today will leaves the positive trend in place.
EUR/USD is largely unchanged on the session and today was a relatively quiet day for eurozone data. German producer price index (PPI) slipped to 2.3% from 2.5% - meeting expectations. The single currency reached a fresh three-year high versus the US dollar during the week, which tells us how bullish the market is on the euro. By-and-large the eurozone has been producing strong economic indicators and this is fuelling the positive move.
Gold is a little higher on the day as the weakness in the US dollar earlier in the day has kept the metal in demand. Since US equity markets are taking a breather on account of the government shutdown vote that is playing into the gold demand too. Gold has been driving higher since the middle of the month and the upward trend is still in place, and as long as it holds above 1300, it is likely to stay in its bullish move.
WTI and Brent Crude are in the red as traders are concerned the US will ramp up its oil production as prices are near three year highs. Yesterday’s report from the energy information administration (EIA) showed that US oil production jumped by 258,000 to 9.75 million barrels. For such a long time OPEC made a major effort to trim production and push up the price, and now we are seeing signs the US are boosting output to take advantage of the relatively strong energy market.
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