Europe rebounds despite a shot of Apple sours.
All major European benchmarks have made gains this morning as buyers step in to find value after 3 sessions of pretty heavy losses, with US futures also making back considerable ground after a big drop for Apple after the bell extended losses last night.
Emerging markets continue to look like the emerging theme for this quarter, with today’s bounce coinciding with the strengthening of developing nation currencies overnight, with the Rupee, Rand, Won and Lira all reversing recent routs. This is unlikely to be any expectation that the Fed might be willing to lend a hand by slowing the pace of stimulus cuts, but we will get confirmation of that tomorrow. Probably more important will be any indication from the minutes as to whether they could be sensitive to further developments from the emerging nations.
UK GDP numbers confirmed the strongest growth since 2007, but were in line with expectations and had a very muted effect on their release.
The big story from U.S equities overnight was undoubtedly Apple’s near 9% drop in the post market after reporting a flat quarter and weaker than expected revenue forecast, and that has had a knock on effect on a number of UK equities this morning.
ARM holdings, a designer of Iphone chips, fell over 3% as handset sales missed estimates despite posting a record for the quarter, and another Apple chipmaker Dialog semiconductor also lost ground on the same story.
One tech challenger heading in the other direction on the mainland was Siemens, who posted a 15% gain in fiscal Q1 operating profits as well as improving margins from a cost cutting drive, a plan which CEO Joe Kaeser vowed to press on with in 2014.
British Land continued to benefit from a strong property market in Q3, with occupancy up 0.3% to 97.1% for the last 3 months of the year, also penning a deal for a 11000 sq ft letting at the newly constructed Leadenhall building in London. Goldman’s have seen enough to upgrade the stock to a Buy and have slapped on a tasty 763p price target. All considered the stock has traded moderately higher since the bell.
The bills just keep coming in at RBS, who look set to report losses of up to 8bln in February as a combination of fines, settlements and bad loans relating to those fateful years in the run up to the financial crisis. This could well be incoming CEO Ross McEwan taking the opportunity to wipe the slate clean to the benefit of future quarters, but yet another set of astronomical impairment charges will hold many back from buying in the short term.
Also on the agenda was executive pay, and while McEwan has already waived his bonus, the bank has asked shareholders to allow it to pay other top exec’s up to double their salaries. Unsurprisingly this will no doubt spark uproar from both the public and politicians, but if we continue to punish the current crop for the neglect of their predecessors, we will starve the bank of the talent necessary to push for any meaningful progress, something that is still very much in the taxpayer’s best interests.
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