Monday, 6th March: Over the weekend, news of a possible merger between Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management emerged, and on Monday, the deal was confirmed. The FTSE100 listed firm agreed to a £11 billion merger with its FTSE250 listed smaller sibling Aberdeen. The deal has made the combined group one of the UK’s biggest asset managers. Standard Life shares jumped 9.2% to 413p at the open, while Aberdeen was up 6.5% to 305p. However, while everyone else was reaping the benefits of the newly found relationship, the chief executive of Aberdeen mentioned the obvious issue of job losses which will occur as a result of the merger, no details have been disclosed regarding the scale of this as of yet.
Meanwhile, over in Trump land, his relationship with former president Obama continued to spiral downwards, as he accused him of carrying out a wiretap on the Trump campaign. Obviously, in true Trump style, the accusations took place on Twitter, which the former Obama advisor responded to, stating that no president has the ability to carry out such orders, and that restrictions are put in place against activities of this nature to “protect citizens from people like you”… Can’t imagine Trump being happy with that one. While we’re on the topic of Trumps controversies, his travel ban has made it to the headlines once again, as it has been confirmed that Iraq will be taken off the list of countries banned because of the their governments’ implementation of heightened visa screenings and data sharing, however, the other six nations which were mentioned in the first order will remain on the list, and the order will be fully implemented as of 16th March 2017.
Following the news that China are trimming economic growth projections for 2017 to 6.5% from 7% for the year in efforts to tackle pollution and set tighter regulatory controls in place, compared to 6.7% they achieved in 2016, the Industrial Metals and Mining sectors within the FTSE indices took a turn for the worse. Both sectors spent the day clinging to the foot of the FTSE350 index, but Industrial Metals felt the wrath more severely, as it has recorded a drop of -1.93% since the beginning of last week. The likes of Anglo America, Fresnillo, and Rio Tinto all moved down by 1.5%, 1.2% and 1.1% respectively, and all sat at the bottom spectrum of the FTSE100. It isn’t all gloom and doom in the UK though, as British factories seem to be enjoying a growth spurt post Brexit, at their fastest pace in more than three years. Manufacturing accounts for around 10% of Britain’s economy, and although the industry as a whole seems to be speeding up sharply, it isn’t likely that this will be able to offset the result of the decline in sterling and rise in inflation which has slowed down consumer spending, but only time will tell.