Thursday, 18 February: Oil crystallised gains made overnight as it traded around $34.75/bbl at the open but struggled to break higher, this followed a bullish trading session in Asia as the NIkkei 225 and the Hang Seng were up 2.28% and 2.32% respectively. FTSE Indices again struggled for direction on a day littered with company reports.
Train and bus operator Go-Ahead traded 6% higher after issuing a strong set of interim results. Trading was declared in line with expectations, as pretax profit grew to £52.1m (vs. £44.7m), along with the interim dividend growing to 28.33p(vs. 26.60p).This performance was driven by passenger volume growth in its regional bus division, helped by contract wins and a good performance by London buses.
Centrica warmed 7% as it filed a 4% fall in net earnings to £863.0m, but significantly ahead of analyst expectations of £733.0m. With the announcement, the energy behemoth announced it was on course to exit Canadian assets with potential Qatari buyers, given the right price. Investors were also bullish as the firm reported rising cash flow, and falling debt among other metrics, all coming in better than low consensus estimates.
Tullow Oil sunk 11.5% as investors were unconvinced of precautionary measures put in place at the floating Jubilee production, storage and offloading vessel. The worry is that these measures are a prelude to a larger problem or there will be an impairment of reserves/ future value of the Jubilee field, though there has been no indication of this at this time. The oil firm was the largest faller on the FTSE 250 today.
Fears of a Brexit fallout are starting to tell in the foreign exchange markets, despite Sterling’s quite drastic slide against the Euro over the last four months. The cost of options that protect investors from big currency movement swings have hit extreme levels not seen since the European sovereign debt crisis. Implied volatility on six-month euro sterling options has jumped to 12% in recent days, up from a recent low of 8.4% in mid-December, according to Thomson Reuters data.
At the close European indices were mixed with the FTSE 100 -0.97%, the CAC 40 +0.13%, and the DAX 30 +0.92%.