Markets again began the day downbeat, leading from a poor US session shares on Wednesday in Asia and Europe began broadly lower yet major indices like the CAC and DAX recovered throughout the day. The FTSE was held by increasing election worries and oil fears. At the close the FTSE slid to a loss of 0.62%, with oil down over 1.5% as we write alongside a healthy climb for sterling.
Yesterday a 9-year court battle between RBS and shareholders came to its conclusion as the majority of the RBS Shareholders Action Group accepted the £200m settlement. This was double the initial offer yet 13% of shareholders are yet to make their minds up or ‘accept’ the compensation. The case revolves around disgruntled investors that were mislead about the financial strength of the bank back at the start of the financial crisis. Shortly after the shareholder funds were received the bank had to be saved by the taxpayer. The state still owns a 72% stake in RBS, stark contrast to Lloyds, which was another bank bailed out during the crisis which recently returned to full privatised ownership. RBS shares closed 1.35% higher today.
Speaking of banks helping out other banks, Santander today has agreed to rescue rival Spanish bank Banco Popular. They will buy the bank for €1, bargain right? Well it’s actually going to cost them €7bn but Santander believes it to be a good deal. Banco Popular’s liquidity issues have spiralled towards imminent collapse, after a host of property investments went south. Santander shares fell on the news despite the bank’s optimism.
It has emerged Uber is avoiding tax on its booking fees that it charges to British drivers. Uber’s fees do not include VAT on booking fees, as the taxi firm exploits a loophole by treating their 40,000 drivers as separate businesses, each to small to incur VAT. If this was to change after being deemed unfair on rivals, it would equate to roughly £1,000 more per driver.
Grey Area: ‘’Welcome home Uber’’
Uber: ‘Long time no speak’
UK house price growth has cooled further in the year to May, with house price inflation falling to 3.3% from 3.8% in the year to April. Halifax, the UK’s largest mortgage provider said there’s been virtually no change to house prices over the last 3 months. Home Construction shares performed well on the FTSE 100, with Persimmon shares topping the main index after a 2% rise on the day. Taylor Wimpey and Barratt shares also climbed on the day.
As we’ve touched on, tensions from UK politics and the Middle East are weighing on global shares at the moment. Alongside these fairly run of the mill worries is also Trump. Which again may sound run of the mill but it relates to the ongoing case surrounding ultimately US and Russian ties. Comey, who was, not suspiciously at all, sacked by Trump is due to give evidence tomorrow which may confirm if Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian officials interfering with the election. We’re sure Donald Trump is very nervous.