Monday, 17th October: The FTSE 100 started the week on the back foot, trading lower over the course of the day, as Pearson PLC brought up the rear. The educational book publishing company announced their trading statement for the first 9 months of the year, as sales continue to fall across all of their key markets. There has been a larger-than-expected decline for US higher education sales, of which, make up 45% of the group’s operating profit. The media group fell by c.10% during the day, closing lower by 8.41%.
If you were wondering where UK consumers are spending their money, researcher Kantar Worldpanel have the answer – data for the year to September 25th showed that UK fashion has seen 4 months of consecutive sales decline, with June’s 0.1% decline being the first monthly contraction in 6 years. Earlier this year Next’s chief executive claimed that consumers were moving away from retail and spending their money on eating out and travel – the stock itself closed more than 2% down today and just shy of 38% lower year-to-date.
Major indices across Europe and the US (at the time of writing) were in the red, the biggest fallers being in the UK. The FTSE 100 closed down 0.94% whilst the FTSE 250 closed -1.04%. The blue-chip index was dragged lower by a variation of sectors, but a slight fall in oil brought the miners lower. Brent oil fell below $52 a barrel in afternoon trading – the commodity had reached a 2016 high last week of $53.73/bbl. At the time of writing, GBP/USD is trading slightly higher, albeit by 0.08% at $1.22, but the “weak” dollar has led to Gold trading higher – up 0.23% at $12.55/oz.