Friday, 3 March: We come to the end of what has been a low-key eventful week. The much anticipated speech from Trump couldn’t have been more Trump; lots of big gestures and familiar rhetoric without delving into any real detail or getting past the teaser trailer. Despite this investors almost accepted it as the best they were going to get and a rally ensued nevertheless. This was helped by rate talk being firmly put back on the table, having the dust brushed off and suddenly being at the forefront of investors’ minds. It will come after the European session but Fed chair Janet Yellen is due to speak at 6pm tonight on the economic outlook and you’d expect her to roughly follow suit with recent comments made by other Fed members. All in all tonight could all but confirm suspicions that the next rate hike will be this month.
Moving on to today’s events, European shares led with the downbeat US and Asian sessions that preceded them on Friday. Thursday stateside saw the Dow close 0.53%, keeping it just above the 21k mark, with the S&P 500 falling 0.59% similarly. Some of the major share news today came from WPP, STV, Berendsen and LSE. WPP’s results showed slowing revenue growth and was supplemented with a cautionary note for the year ahead, sending shares lower earlier for them to close -7.95%. Berendsen shares were hammered in today’s trading, falling c.17% before recovering slightly to close 11.4% lower. Their latest update showed disappointing underlying growth and likely much higher costs than first expected to come from the transformation plan. One silver lining for shareholders will be the 26.7% increase for the total dividend after the final dividend had been increased by 28.7%.
As we mentioned shares in Snap, owner of the better known Snapchat made their stock market debut yesterday, opening at a 40% premium on the NYSE to the IPO of $17 p/share. After peaking above $26, shares eventually closed 44% higher at $24.48, valuing the messaging service app at approximately £28bn, more than the likes of American Airlines and Macys. Not bad for a firm that hasn’t yet turned a profit. To add, as Friday’s session began Snap shares continued to rally, and sit above the $28 mark.
In other news, Spotify has hit 50 million paid subs
cribers, becoming the first music streaming service to do so. Despite facing competition from the likes of Apple and Amazon, as well as the plethora of apps and services that sit complimentary (free or not), they have managed to add over 10 million subscribers in the last six months alone. Apple, the closest rival, has the huge advantage over Spotify in the fact that they have huge amounts of cash they render profit from their music service negligible.
The fate of Uber’s court battle with Transport for London (TfL) was decided today, with the Taxi app losing their attempt to stop its drivers having to pass English language tests, although this ruling isn’t exclusive to Uber and will apply to all of London’s minicab firms. The argument from Uber was these tests were well, a bit OTT. But only this week, an Uber passenger found himself in Bristol instead of Brixton; Instead of a short 2 mile trip back home, the passenger enjoyed a 5 hour round trip to the tune of £467.52. Apparently the passenger set an address in Bristol but Uber offered a goodwill full refund. I’m not buying it but either way, that’s none of my business… and the likelihood of future ‘mishaps’ have surely been reduced.