Monday, 27 February: First of all, let’s all put our hands together for La La Land after scooping Best Picture at the 89th Academy Awards ceremony last night. I waited up until the announcement, but let’s be honest it was a foregone conclusion.
I will also get the Trump admin out the way with early on. You’d be forgiven for thinking he himself wasn’t going for an Oscar with the spectacle he seemingly creates with such ease, makeup and hairstyling, engraver has already began on that one. Kelly Ann Conway must also be strong favourite for best visual effects after those record numbers at Trump’s inauguration. Anyway….. over the weekend Trump controversially (you would never have guessed it), announced he would not be attending this year’s White House Correspondents’ dinner, topping of a week which saw the already turbulent press relations hit new lows. Moving on, later today we will see Trump deliver his proposal and outlined changes with respect to the defence budget, which is of course set to grow at the expense of various non-defence programs including the Environmental Protection Agency.
London shares managed to hold onto gains through the day to close 0.13% higher. One of the main stories/laggards on the day was concerning British insurers after a change in the calculation to personal injury claims was made. Without delving into the details it is expected to increase the payouts for victims of accidents and therefore harm insurers’ profits, which in turn will harm consumers’ pockets as the ‘hit’ is passed on. Direct Line hugged the floor of the FTSE for the day, closing -7.16%, Admiral shares also sat near the foot of the table and closed -2.46%. So yes, get ready for premiums to likely hit record highs. Thanks guys.
Other headline company stories came from the UK housebuilder Persimmon, whom saw their annual profits jump 23%, pulling the shares 25bps higher. This also means the shares have now risen 55% since post brexit lows.
AB Foods, the owner of Primark (go figure), have stated they expect profits to continue to rise as they open more and more stores. In the last year 16 new stores across the UK, US and Europe were opended and they predict sales to jump 11% in the impending interim report due soon. They’ve seen no sign of UK consumers reducing spending and they expect growth on a reported and LFL basis at the interim. Shares closed the day 0.92% lower.
Tesco have announced they are to cut a huge amount of managers in their Express convenience stores, to be replaced with lower paid members of staff. 1,700 deputy managers will be replaced by 3,200 new lower paid staff members (net increase 1,500). Shares finished -0.47%.
The London Stock Exchange/ Deutsche Boerse merger has been plunged into doubt after the LSE has revealed the dela is unlikely to be approved by the European Commission. The order from the commission for the LSE to sell a 60% stake in MTS is seemingly the sticking point and for now this deal looks to be put on hold. Shares in LSE Group closed 1.12% lower.
Optimism in the UK services sector is now at its highest point since June’s vote; Despite the inevitable costs rises we are about to see, with price rises expect to climb at the fastest pace in 10 years over the next 3 months.
Bankruptcy cases in China soared last year, highlighting the fractures in the growing economy. The 5,665 bankruptcy cases seen in Chinese courts were 54% more than in 2015. Of these 3,600 was resolved and 85% of these resulted in liquidation. However many were related to zombie companies after efforts have been raised in order to rid the economy of these particular businesses.