Wednesday, 02 March: On Super Tuesday Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton consolidated their places as party front runners although their rivals have refused to give up just yet. Yesterday saw 11 states up for grabs, Republican Trump has so far won 7 states with Ted Cruz only taking two as the closest rival. Democrat Clinton also took 7 states on Tuesday with her closest rival Bernie Sanders taking 3 states as well as winning a caucus in his home state of Colorado. American markets on Tuesday also fared well, with the S&P 500 and Dow Jones both finishing with gains of more than 2%, although at the open today both the Dow Jones and S&P 500 are marginally down as we speak.
China has received yet more bad news after Moody’s downgraded its outlook on Chinese government debt to negative from stable, as worries mount over economic reforms. This morning Asian markets finished strongly with the Nikkei 225 closing 3.45% higher, the Hang Seng closed 1.96% higher and the Shanghai stock exchange closed over 4% up.
UK construction PMI was released this morning, unexpectedly falling from 55 to 54.2. Analysts were expecting little change from the previous reading with the possibility of small growth. The unexpected fall on the back of the disappointing manufacturing PMI print from Tuesday reversed early gains made on the FTSE. Investors will now anxiously await key service PMI data due tomorrow where again we’re not expecting much movement from January’s reading of 55.6.
Overall the FTSE endured a mixed day, paring back loses to close down 0.09%. Miners and financials were the winners on Wednesday, with Anglo shares finishing at the top of the index up 6.68%. Aberdeen and Standard Chartered completed the podium, finishing up 5.87% and 5.3% respectively. In other company news Virgin Money have reported a 53% rise in underlying profits. In what is their first full year since listing on the stock market, they have seen record deposit balances and mortgage lending rise 29% year on year to give a 3.4% market share. ITV also reported a 6% rise in their annual pre-tax profits however total viewing across all channels was down 3% from last year. Their main channel ITV also underperformed on last year, these factors outweighing some positive financials to pull the shares down almost 3.5% on the day.