Friday, 19 February: FTSE indices again struggled for direction, though this was the strongest week for the primary index this year (+4.28%), as Asian markets pared back some of the gains of the last four days through the night. Oil rallied into the London open, before paring back in later trade, as FTSE indices on the whole turned narrowly negative. Gold staged a strong rally in later trade yesterday, most of which has been sustained to currently trade at c. $1225/oz.
Coca-Cola reported growth in profit and volumes to sit 2.69% higher at the time of writing. Volume growth was seen across all markets, but the top-line was hit by unfavourable foreign currency movements (-5.1% adverse movement). The beverage maker posted a pretax profit of €357.1m, from €352.0m in 2014. Management cited improving conditions in Europe, but countries with large oil exposure as struggling with trading conditions.
Tullow Oil again struggled (-4.5%) in the aftermath of yesterday’s announcement, which couldn’t even be helped by a broker upgrade from Cantor Fitzgerald.
UK January retail sales came in strong at 2.3% higher than December and 5.2% higher year on year, trumping low consensus estimates of +0.5% and +3.3% respectively. Conversely, tax receipts came in weaker than expected, putting George Osborne’s fiscal-year borrowing goals in jeopardy. Osborne needs to borrow less than £7bn in the final two months of the fiscal year in order to meet the goal. The OBR forecast he would need to borrow no more than £73.5bn in the current financial year to meet aforementioned goals – statistics today highlighted the Chancellor has already borrowed £66.5bn.
At the close European indices were down with the FTSE 100 -0.4%, with the CAC 40 -0.6 %, and the DAX 30 -0.8%. In the US, the Dow Jones is down -0.2% whilst the S&P 500 is down -0.1%.