et’s face it, today was all about non-farm payrolls, with investors trying to second guess not only the number, but what the early market moves seemed to be pricing in. The Dollar strength seen throughout the day would seem to have been pointing towards a strong number, while equities were decidedly unsure of whether anything more than a small beat was good or bad, so no real change there.
The number came in at 203k against official forecasts of 180k, although a figure of 190-200k was tipped for much of the day given the stronger Jobless and services numbers earlier in the week. The DOW 30 spiked wildly on the release and settled down to sit comfortably higher when the dust settled. I suppose a small beat was the perfect result for equities, indicating an improving jobs picture but not straying so high as to add excessive weight to the case for a December taper, a fine balance for bulls to push us higher into the weekend.
A broker upgrade to a “strong buy” recommendation by analysts at Raymond James was enough to see BT group move higher this morning, with a very strong 465 price target to match. It seems there are a growing number of analysts and investors that think the ongoing arm wrestle with B Sky B will bear fruit in the long run, despite the monumental costs so far in attempting to break into SKY’s dominance of UK TV subscriptions.
There isn’t a dry eye in the house at Shire Pharmaceuticals at least that was the plan, but mixed clinical trials for its Lifitegrast dry eye treatment saw the stock drop back in early trade this morning, with targets missed in the second round of clinical trials. After a stellar run for much of 2013, the stock has retreated in recent weeks, and a turnaround by midday may indicate the news what somewhat priced in already.
Nobody wanted a slice of Domino’s this morning, with the Pizza franchise dropping close to 10% on the open following the announcement that CEO Lance Batchelor will leave the firm next year to move to a “significant private equity backed company”. Mr Batchelor will remain at the helm until April 30th while the firm searches for a replacement. The stock has endured a miserable run in the last 6 months, shedding over a quarter of its market cap as the UK benchmark strode to multi-year high’s
UK builder Berkeley group flew out of the traps this morning after reporting full year expectations at the top end of forecasts. The firm has benefitted from its focus on an outperforming London and SE market, and has cooled fears over a more cautious stance from the BOE’s Mark Carney and the UK government on the housing market. While the funding for lending scheme has been redirected towards business, it is the help to buy scheme that really helped sales, but Berkeley expect it to be used in less than 5% of transactions on qualifying sites.
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