Wednesday, 25th January: Restaurant Group, the owner of Frankie & Benny’s (and others) revealed a further fall in like-for-like sales, cementing the stock at the bottom of the FTSE 250 today. The group are looking to revamp the menu Frankie & Benny’s, claiming “substantial price and proposition changes are required”. A fall in like-for-like sales of 3.9% for the 53 weeks to 1st January 2017 only adds to the warning from the group of difficult trading still to come in the first half of this year as business rates are revaluated, alongside increases in the national living and minimum wages. The group fell further over the course of the day and closed -13.32%.
After weeks of flirting the Dow Jones has finally breached the 20k mark, recovering from a slight wobble when the end (20k points) was in sight. The surge forward towards the pivotal mark has been coming since Trump won the US election at the start of November, and has been given a further lease of life in the last few days as Trump has been signing numerous executive orders, with investors banking on pro-growth policies and corporate tax cuts from the new administration. Financial stocks on the index have been leading the charge as the likes of Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan have accounted for about 20% of the gain, benefitting as investors look at Trump’s expected fiscal stimulus will trigger inflation and interest rate rises. At the time of writing the index stands at 20,048 points, +0.68%. The S&P 500 also trades in the green, up 0.59%.
Another day, another Trump signature. Again, staying true to his word, Trump is expected to start signing directives to begin building a 2,000 mile wall along the US border with Mexico, whilst also hiring 5,000 more US Customers and Border Protection agents to police illegal immigration over the border. Alongside this, Trump is also looking to sign further executive orders on immigration and border security to include the “extreme vetting” of people coming from some Muslim countries where adequate screening isn’t possible, including countries in the Middle East and Africa.
Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, until this afternoon, had completed a “triple triple” (winning the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay) in 2008, 2012 and completed the set in Rio last year. However, today he has been told to give back his relay Gold from Beijing 2008 as one of his team mates, Nesta Carter, has tested positive for a banned substance. Trinidad & Tobago’s team of Richard Thompson, Emmanuel Callendar, Keston Bledman and Marc Burns have now been handed gold medals, with Japan taking Silver and Brazil Bronze.