UK high streets still on low

Friday saw the FTSE 100 drop to its lowest level in a month before recovering to finish the day marginally up, leaving the main index almost 2% down for the week. Mobile telecommunications firm Inmarsat continued its poor market reception after an outlook cut yesterday, the firm sat at the bottom of the index for most of the day closing down 5.85%. Interserve, the FTSE 250 support services slumped to a disappointing day’s trading after releasing a trading statement in which it declared a £70m provision in relation to a problematic contract, after sessions lows of c.30% the shares finished down 16.5% on the day. Many investors were waiting in the stalls ahead of US jobs data that was released during the afternoon. Oil endured a fairly mixed session, finishing stronger to leave miners broadly higher.

The anticipated result of US jobs led precious metals miners Randgold and Fresnillo higher, with the former sitting at the top of the index for most of the day. On the release of US jobs, numbers were below expectations and led US equities lower. The US added 160,000 jobs during April, the concensus was for 205,000. Lower revisions were also made to both February and March. Despite job growth slowing average wages have picked up, with average hourly earnings increasing 2.5%. Many think the chances of a June rate hike are now somewhat damaged but all in all there are some positives within the figures and the US economy continues to move in the right direction. At the time of writing the USD/JPY rate was 106.7 (-0.61%).

In other news the world’s biggest steel maker, ArcelorMittal, reported improved quarterly results and also predicted that global steel demand will stabilise. They forecast global consumption will match 2015’s or rise by 0.5% as they raised their outlook for Chinese steel demand this year.

British retailers rough times look set to continue, accounting firm BDO released figures on Friday showing consumers shunned high street spend following Easter with retail sales falling 6.1% whilst fashion retailers’ sales fell 9.2%. The recent administration filings from BHS and Austin Reed back these findings up, as the figures complete a dismal week for UK data. It was highlighted that traditional midmarket retailers face a shrinking market, as well as the rapid shift towards online. During March online sales rose 12.3% in the UK and it was the third consecutive month whereby more than all non-food shopping took place online.

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