Wednesday, 22 March: FTSE indices tracked lower, following the lead of US equities the day prior and Asian markets which were off by a notable degree before the London open. The negativity that has slowly gripped equity markets over the last few days came as a result of growing fears of the slow implementation of “Trumponomics”. The struggle to repeal and replace Obamacare has delayed tax cuts and infrastructure spending, with investors and traders growing weary of slow progress on both fronts.
Gold continued to trade almost $50 higher since a week ago to $1249.60/oz, with this momentum supporting miners, in turn supporting the FTSE 100. Despite this, the primary index closed -0.73% as a clutch of travel stocks weighed on the index. This negative sentiment was provoked by a Guardian news reports explaining that the European Union has warned airlines including easyjet and Ryanair that they will need to relocate their headquarters or sell off shares to European nationals if they wish to continue flying routes within continental Europe after Brexit. The worst hit was International Consolidated Airlines Group(-2.17%), though both Ryanair(-1.94%) and easyjet(-1.48%) also fell lower.
Kingfisher(-4.96%) slumped in trade today following the release of its annual results. The DIY retailer beat expectations for full-year profit, after completing the first year of its five-year transformation plan but also revealed that Chairman Daniel Bernard will step down at the group’s annual general meeting in June. The retailer, which owns B&Q and Screwfix in the UK, and Castorama and Brico Depot in Europe has spent the last year trying to arrest sales declines in an ailing DIY market. The UK market proved challenging due to a surge in consumers hiring professionals for home improvement needs, rather than attempting to ‘do-it-themselves’. Concurrently, weak consumer confidence with a soft housing and construction sector were to blame for falling sales in France.
Across Europe, indices were down as the FTSE 100 closed -0.73%, the DAX 30 -0.48%, and the CAC 40 -0.15%.