Friday, 04 March: Heavy criticism of Facebook’s tax avoidance has prompted a major overhaul to their tax structure and will result in the social media giant paying millions more in tax in the UK. During 2014 Facebook paid little over £4000 in corporation tax whilst the average UK employee received £96,000 from share related bonuses. The exact size of Facebook’s UK operations is unknown, but it is safe to say their tax bills haven’t been proportionate.
UK car sales grew 8.4% during February compared with last year. It was the highest level of car sales for the traditional lull month since 2004, with 84,000 new cars driving away. The report from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) also highlighted alternatively fuelled vehicle sales increased 19.9% year on year. The best selling cars during the month were the Ford Fiesta, Nissan Qashqai and VW Golf despite total VW sales slipping 13% perhaps still feeling the effects from the emissions scandal.
The highly anticipated US jobs data was released this afternoon, the numbers were highly positive and displayed slight immunity to the global volatility and weakness elsewhere. US Nonfarm payrolls added 242,000 jobs during February beating expectations of +200,000. The unemployment rate, derived from a separate study held at 4.9%, exp: 4.9%. There were also positive revisions to the two prior months. January increased from 151k to 172k and December jumped from 262k to 271k. This will certainly add flavour to the June rate hike debate.
It has been a relatively strong week for the miners on the FTSE 100, oil prices receiving some much needed respite at the start of March, oil prices today around 6% higher than this time last week. The mining constituents on the FTSE helping the market drive higher Friday, BHP finished over 9% higher, Antofagasta +7.73%, Anglo +11% and Glencore topped the table up 11.89%. To reiterate it has been a good week for global metal prices as well as oil, copper and silver both gaining more than 6% over the past 7 days, gold has risen c.4.5% in the same time. The FTSE closes the week just under the 6200 mark, its highest level in 2016.