market relief

Stocks are a mixed bag this morning, as the macroeconomic outlook remains unchanged. 

Geopolitical tensions are still high, with relations between the US and Russia strained, and the prospect of a trade war is at the back of traders’ minds. While the global political outlook hasn’t deteriorated, it hasn’t improved either and that’s why sentiment is stagnant.

Rentokil shares are higher this morning after the company stated that first-quarter revenue jumped by 15.7% to £545.9 million. It warned that adverse currency movements could cost between £10 million and £15 million. In the three months until March, Rentokil acquired 11 pest control businesses, so management is clearly bullish. The stock has been in an upward trend since 2011, and while it holds above the 260p area, its outlook is likely to remain positive. 

Weir Group are to acquire ESCO for $1.05 billion. Weir manufactures valves and pumps for the oil, gas and mining industries. ESCO, based in the US, is a maker of mining components. The expansion by Weir highlights its confidence in ESCO’s business, and the boost to earnings should be seen by the third-quarter. Shares in Weir Group gapped higher, and if the positive move continues it could retest the January high of 2,326p.

GBP/USD dipped after UK retail sales in March contracted by 1.2% on a month-on-month basis. Even the core retail sales report declined by 0.5%. The pound was under pressure yesterday after the UK inflation rate slowed by more than expected, and it is likely sterling will suffer again today.

At 1.30pm (UK time) the US initial jobless claims report is released, and the consensus is for a reading of 230,000, down from 233,000 in the previous week.

Procter & Gamble announces its third-quarter results later today, and we are expecting the Dow Jones to open down 8 points at 24,740 and are calling the S&P 500 down 4 points at 2704.

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