The situation on the markets hadn’t changed much from yesterday, understandably investors are finding it hard to simply forget about the North Korean situation. On top of this there’s little in the way of positive data to offset this or give investors a glimmer of optimism. Yesterday’s service PMIs in the UK were weaker than expected and new car registrations fell for the 5 consecutive month, highlighting more pressure on the UK consumer than many don’t believe has fully translated into data just yet. So again, doesn’t make for great reading.
US markets returned to the play yesterday after their Labor Day Holiday. It was unsurprising to see the S&P, Dow and NASDAQ suffering some of the biggest falls amongst major indices, the Dow being the worst affected after losses over 1% during the session, yet at the open today Wall St. has climbed, with financial and energy stocks driving the rise. News broke this afternoon also that US Federal Vice Chair Stanley Fischer would be stepping down in October, citing personal reasons.
Today again there was relatively little company news and data releases to detract from the longer-term themes driving markets at the moment, mainly geo-political tensions and their ramifications for Central Bank policy changes of course. And specifically at the moment Hurricane Irma currently heading towards the Caribbean, following Harvey’s destruction from last week and the huge socio-economic impact these natural disasters will have.
Barratt Developments announced a special dividend following strong results in their FY17 results. Despite the results on paper, the house builder dropped to the bottom of the FTSE 100, falling c.3.5% in the morning. The reaction, despite posting record annual results, could be evidence of the difficult investment climate at the moment and they finished rock bottom of the FTSE today, down 4.57%, the FTSE itself closed 0.25% lower.
Earlier today Walmart owned Asda announced it would cut hundreds of jobs as part of major cost cutting efforts. Last year LFL sales dropped 5.7%, and with inflationary pressures looming as well as the long standing fierce competition in the sector, the supermarket has been forced to make drastic cuts.