Monday, 9th May: New week, same rollercoaster stocks on the FTSE 100. Miners once again decided to make themselves comfortable at the bottom of the index as the fresh week arrived. Anglo American were the biggest fallers, tumbling 14% in late afternoon trading. Brent oil itself had started European trading well, boosted, in a twist of fate, by the wild bushfires currently sweeping west-central Canada. The fires which have already spread through Alberta were thought to be spreading destruction in oil-sand facilities north of Fort McMurray, with roughly 1m barrels thought to be at risk. The fire has slowed to an extent but more than 80,000 people have already been evacuated. Brent oil is trading more than 4% lower, currently $43.89 bbl. Sticking with oil, it has been announced that a new oil minister has been appointed in Saudi Arabia. Initial thoughts seem to be there will be no change in output policy. The next OPEC meeting is due to be held on 2nd June in Austria.
Remember Greece? Well their debt situation hasn’t gone away. Today Eurozone finance ministers have been holding talks in Brussels surrounding Athens’ latest reforms and restructuring of its economy. But don’t stay up waiting for a result. Germany’s finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has warned an agreement is not expected today but remain “confident that we’ll get a solution in May”. Watch this space.
In the UK the much loved Greggs bakery has seen sales growth slow at the beginning of 2016, with “softer” high street conditions taking the brunt for the lower performance. Like-for-like sales rose 3.7% in the first 18 weeks of the year, compared to a 6% rise for the same period in 2015. However, no fears for all the pasty lovers out there (other products are available from Greggs), as the group said they had recovered in recent weeks. The group ended the day +2.72%.
A month ago house prices were rising by 10.1% according to Halifax. However, further evidence has emerged of a slow-down in UK house prices as prices grew at 9.2% in April. Much of the slow down follows a rush to beat new stamp duty rates for buy to let and second property purchases. 165,400 UK properties were sold in March.