UK and European stocks edged lower on Tuesday, trimming a little more off the huge gains seen last week. Risk avoidance is still reining supreme before the interest rate decision from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday.
Shares of oil BP rose after profits at the oil giant declined less than expected but overall UK stocks were beleaguered by disappointing in third quarter growth and another losing day for heavily-weighted mining stocks
The British pound fell after data showed third quarter UK GDP grew by 0.5%, a solid level of expansion but nonetheless lower than expectations of 0.6% and the 0.7% seen in Q2. Slower levels of production and a worrying decline in construction ate away at growth in the dominant service sector.
Shares of BP rose over 1.3%, taking it to the top of the FTSE 100
. Profit crashed by more than 40% over the same period in 2014 10 £1.8bn but this was better than the £1.2bn forecasted. The sharp fall in oil prices has been bad for overall profitability but BP’s refining business has managed to capitalise with margins improving more than forecasted. The market reacted favourably to BP’s prudent cut in capital expenditure to match the drop in oil prices that makes a dividend-cut less likely.
Shares of Talktalk bounced over 6%, having declined 12% on Monday. The arrest of a 15yr old in Northern Ireland suspected of carrying out the cyber-attack and the company refusing to cave in to demands to waive contract cancellation fees has raised hopes amongst investors that the incident may find a quick conclusion.
US stocks look set open lower as investors ease off the accelerator pedal ahead of numerous blue chip earnings including Apple, which reports after the closing bell.
Apple didn’t receive much of a vote of confidence in the day before its earnings report after shares dived 3% on Monday, the worst decline since September. Few doubt Apple’s earnings power but there is a concern that iPhone 6s sales won’t live up to sky-high expectations. If the number of iPhone units sees a year-over-year decline, it might be taken as a sign that the global smartphone super cycle has peaked. Any comments regarding the tech giant’s expectations for the critical holiday quarter may even eclipse the results themselves. Not much is expected to be drawn from Apple’s most recent launches including the Apple Watch, Apple Music and Apple TV, the sales of which will likely not be separately broken out in the report.
USA pre-opening levels
S&P 500: 4 points lower at 2,067
Dow Jones: 26 points lower at 17,597
Nasdaq 100: 11 points lower at 4,619
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