Wednesday, 1 March: The main headlines today were derived from the numerous record highs being experienced by global equity markets. As sterling slumped the FTSE charged higher from the off, climbing above the 7,300 mark early doors. After the US closed lower on Tuesday, bringing what was one of the longest win streaks to an end for the Dow, as the session began today (2:30 GMT), they managed to take the rally up a gear and thus supported the FTSE to a record close of 7,382.9. Similarly for the first time the Dow surpassed the 21k mark and the S&P 500 as we write teeters on record highs. As mentioned, the pound took a little hit today, and at the moment sits at 1.2319 v $ and 1.1667 v €.
Interestingly, this comes after an increased likelihood of a rate hike coming at the Fed’s March meeting, which has typically hurt the Dow. Again investors have really taken to Trump’s speech yesterday, even though it typically lacked on details or substance.
In ‘local’ business news, PepsiCo has announced it is to close a County Durham Walkers crisps factory. Production will be moved to other UK sites but will come at the expense of almost 400 jobs, as the firm looks to make ‘crucial savings’. Shares in Britvic, who own the exclusive license to PepsiCo in the UK, closed the day just over 1% up.
To follow on, in a roundabout way, AG Barr has announced they are to halve the sugar content in their leading drinks brand Irn Bru. This will take 90% of their product portfolio to contain less than 5g of sugar per 100ml. The move comes ahead of the proposed UK government levy on sugary drinks from April next year, which will vary depending on sugar levels per 100ml in drinks. AG Barr’s shares closed 2.69% higher.
Data released today confirmed Australia’s economy has now gone 25 years without recession. It now sits one quarter short of the Dutch record but don’t worry, the ‘down under’ pun is all geared for when the recession hits.