Tuesday 5 April: A further fall in oil prices and yet more uncertainty surrounding the Fed’s outlook for rate rises led to a disappointing overnight session in Asian markets. Back to normal following public holidays, the Hang Seng dropped 1.57% and the Nikkei closed at an 8 week low, although the Shanghai composite did buck the trend to close 1.46% higher.
Across the globe investigations have been launched into the Panama Papers leak. Over 11 million documents have now shown that the firm has helped set up close to a quarter of a million companies for clients globally. As the story matures more and more high profile figures are slowly becoming linked to the mysterious dealings of the Panamanian law firm. Credit Suisse and HSBC are some of the first large institutions to be accused of setting up complex structures on behalf of clients in order to help tax evasion. Both banks have denied accusations, which is probably legitimate. It’s not like both have a reputation for similar malpractice, or as though Credit Suisse agreed a £1.75bn fine in 2014 for helping Americans evade tax and HSBC agreed a $1.92bn fine mainly for helping launder Mexican drug money…… Is it?
As Tuesday wore on, so did the pressure on global commodities. Worries surround continued oversupply; this caused resource stocks to fall, the FTSE 100 fairing slightly better than elsewhere around Europe. Rooted to the bottom of the index for most the day were Glencore (-5.3%), BHP (4.6%) and Anglo (-4%). Tesco were hit by a downgrade courtesy of DB, taking them down from a buy to a hold; the supermarket finished the day down 1.7%. The FTSE 100 itself ended the day -1.19% @ 6091.23.
UK service PMI for March was 53.7, in line with forecasts yet uninspiring at the same time. This was only a modest improvement from February’s 35 month low of 52.7, taking the first quarter average to 54 – also a 3 year low. The figures will certainly raise concerns around UK GDP growth.
Elsewhere India’s central bank has reduced its repo rate from 6.75% to 6.5%, in line with expectations. This takes interest rates in the country to a five year low, the Reserve Bank of India citing falling inflation for the latest trim.
Newly merged Paddy Power Betfair have announced 650 jobs will be cut from the UK and ROI operations. Combined they have a workforce of around 7,200 people. The company looks to make savings of £50m amongst the large reorganisation that routinely follows such a transaction. Shares closed the day 0.97% lower.