Markets have rebounded this morning as President Putin appeared to have cooled tensions by ordering troops in Western Russia back to bases by the end of the week, but this morning’s events hardly give the impression we are out of the woods yet, and bulls may well have jumped the gun if today’s move is assuming an all clear.
Live images across a number of news channels this morning have shown a furious showdown between Russian and Ukrainian soldiers in Crimea, with guns purposely pointed at opposing numbers while screaming at them to stand down. This is no training drill, and politicians can paint a calmer picture to their hearts content, but we are still only one slip of a trigger away from a potential war, which is making today’s move look a bit naïve to say the least.
One thing is for sure, the rest of the week won’t be for the faint hearted, and investors will likely have to sift their way through waves of breaking news and rumours that will guide the markets for the next few days.
After enjoying a bump on yesterday’s open from rampant gold prices, Fresnillo sunk 9% this morning after reporting a 64% collapse in pre-tax profits for 2013. Gold production was down 10%, hampered by disruptions from the Herradura District in Costa Rico, and while Silver production was up 4% it was well short of compensating for loses elsewhere. Another gold miner in the news was Randgold resources, with CEO Mark Bristow upbeat on the future of African Gold mining, insisting that the “opportunities far outweigh the challenges”, their stock was slightly lower following yesterday’s surge.
Another stock reversing yesterday’s move was steelmaker Evraz, who recovered 4% as tensions in Ukraine appeared to simmer overnight, having been hammered yesterday as the situation looked to have boiled over.
Ashtead shareholders will like what they see from today’s update, with the firm raising full year expectations after a 51% hike in Q3 profits from strong demand in both the UK and US. The industrial equipment hire company has benefited from a housing revival on both sides of the Atlantic, with CEO Geoff Drabble saying numbers have been lifted by a “cyclical recovery in the construction market”. Ashtead stock was up over 8% in early deals, stretching 12 month gains beyond 70%.
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