Although North Korean tensions have subsided they’ve certainly not gone, and don’t look to be going anywhere soon. US ambassador Nikki Haley has accused the country of ‘’begging for war’’, which if nobody knew better (and we don’t) would seem so. At the European open, bourses managed to tick higher despite the geo-political tensions undoubtedly keeping a reign on these moves. Asian markets unsurprisingly found it harder to shrug off the worry and endured a mixed session, the Nikkei closing -0.63% probably due to the fact they’re having missiles fired above them atm. North Korea and Japan’s relationship status: It’s complicated.
This morning we awaited the UK’s PMI data read for the critical services sector. The UK expected a slight slowdown in August and we saw just that; UK August services PMI was 53.2 vs estimate of 53.5. Of course as predicted down from 53.8 last month. (A figure above 50 still indicates growth). On the news the FTSE didn’t really budge, it was only sterling that was seen moving lower against the euro and dollar. Throughout the day caution and a stronger pound were the main drivers behind the FTSE slipping during the afternoon to close 0.52% lower at 7392.92.
One of the main headlines of the day was that PR firm Bell Pottinger had been expelled from the UK public relations trade body, the first expulsion of its kind for a firm with its scale and prominence. The action came after South Africa’s opposition party had accused their campaign of inciting hate and that it was likely to ‘inflame racial discord’. The work on behalf of Oakbay Capital, a South African company owned by the wealthy Gupta family was worth £100k per month. The hashtag #whitemonopolycapital was used amongst coined slogans of ‘’economic apartheid’’, so it was hardly subliminal messages obviously not acceptable by and trade body standards. The Gupta family are widely believed to have a vested interest with SA’s president Jacob Zuma, which of course is denied. The founder of the PR firm, Lord Bell, who stepped down last year because of this contract, believes Bell Pottinger will struggle to survive off the back of this (not exactly a breaking revelation).
Lego are to cut 1,400 jobs after falling sales and profits. This is equivalent to 8% of the Danish company’s global workforce. Lego has admitted the business has become to complex and so it looks to restructure and ‘’reset’’.
A merger between UK engineering software firm Aveva and the software arm of French energy group Schneider Electric was announced today, in a deal worth around £3bn. It is the 3rd attemot in as many years at the deal! Aveva will remain at its Cambridgeshire base and stay listed on the LSE. Aveva’s shares closed the day 25.73% higher.