Markets open lower as clock ticks on Ukraine’s future
01:00, 24 februari 2014
· Av CMC Markets
While UK stocks have drifted marginally lower this morning, bulls should take solace from their resilience given the backdrop, with the situation in Ukraine continuing to spiral out of control, sending natural gas to 5 year highs and reviving concerns over a potential default despite Russia’s bailout pledge in December.
Given the events in the last week, the Ukraine will likely need a new deal from the EU or IMF to remain solvent as the Russian deal will almost certainly be made obsolete under the current leadership, but the lack of clarity as to the country’s political path from here makes it very hard to strike up a deal that would be guaranteed to stick, which is likely to make markets pretty skittish.
The morning’s move was also attributed to Chinese news overnight, where local governments have implemented lending curbs to try and rein in a potential property bubble, but given spiralling debt has recently been an area of concern for the markets it’s hard to see a more cautious tone as bad news in the long term.
It was a case of deja-vu for Associated British foods shareholders this morning, with strong Primark figures again simply offsetting weakness elsewhere in the business. Already hinted by Tate and Lyle numbers earlier in the month, lower sugar prices have hampered revenue from that side of the business this year but Primark’s performance keeps the firm in line with EPS targets for the financial year.
One stock moving swiftly in the wrong direction is Dialight, who reported a drop in full year earnings despite increased revenues as inflated distribution and administrative costs hit home. Profits declined to 8.4m from 13.4 the year prior and sees the stock lose up to 10% in early deals.
HSBC have reignited the debate over the EU bonus cap over the weekend, after it was revealed that top bankers will receive share payouts to compensate them for any loss in income from incoming rules on payouts. Annual profits at the bank are up 9% but fall short of expectations, and while the firm remained optimistic on long term prospects they also kept a cautious tone for the year ahead, with emerging markets remaining vulnerable. Overall the stock was down over 4%.
Retail Investors favourite Gulf Keystone has announced its intentions to cancel its AIM listing for admission to the official LSE list on March 24th. Having suffered wild volatility in the past from a mass of speculative investors, often holding the stock on margin, the move will hopefully pave the way for a shift towards institutional ownership and a touch more predictability. The potential for a bigger audience has the stock up over 4% this morning.
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