Monday, 16 January: Over the weekend fears of a ‘’hard Brexit’’ were inflated as PM Theresa May is believed to be considering pulling out of the European single market, in order to regain control of migration and law making. This has brought the pound to its lowest level against the dollar since the flash crash in October, and a two-month low against the euro. May’s speech is tomorrow, amongst a busy week of data and news flow for investors to digest; Mark Carney speaks tonight although it’s unclear on what, then we have a host of inflation numbers on Wednesday (UK, US & Europe) rounded off by Janet Yellen speaking. Thursday sees the next ECB policy meeting, yet this isn’t billed as a headline meet and then we round the week off on Friday with a mass of Chinese data, oh and Trump’s inauguration. In the background to all of this earnings season doesn’t lose pace and the annual Davos meet will be sure to churn out the odd noteworthy headline.
It’s apparent the UK is in for a turbulent year, even compared to the last few, but the IMF today raised its forecast for the economy, expecting the UK economy to grow by 1.5%, up from the previous forecast of 1.1%. And if we factor Trump’s promise that he will make a quick and fair trade deal with the UK the more optimistic amongst us can almost begin to relax *ensue raised eyebrows and bleak chuckle*
In more specific news today, Luxottica which is the world’s biggest glasses maker has agreed a merger deal with Essillor. The Italian eyewear company will combine with the French lens maker to make the two firms worth around £40bn. The deal had been previously considered, but given the poor performance of Luxottica shares over the last 12 months and fears over a succession plan for the 81 year old founder, the timing is clearly thought to be right.
One victim of blue Monday was the FTSE, which after a 14 session in rally, hitting record highs through most of this time, the index finally closed today lower, albeit by 0.15% to close at 7327.13. The index likely weighed down by the events mentioned above, with financials and banks weighing on the index the most. European shares also slipped to begin the week, again from similar reasons as to the FTSE. As we write the pound is at $1.2047.