Tuesday, 28 November: The main driver of markets, at least domestic, this morning was news from the Bank of England (BoE) that all of the UK’s biggest banks passed the latest set of stress tests. Stress tests are now carried out in order to sufficiently prepare a bank against shocks or irregular events, like a financial crisis or our very own Brexit. Of course we never know how big the next bubble, crash or ‘one-off’ event may be but these tests look to decide things like how much capital a bank should have if such a scenario was to occur. The main comment from today was that our banks could survive a ‘disorderly Brexit’, which seems to have been the benchmark or in other words; would our banks handle the worst case Brexit scenario? And as we stand the answer is seemingly yes. Of course the idea is to prevent such events occurring in the first place, and attention promptly returned to this once the news broke. Investors and consumers alike are of course pleased about the tests but it’s a case of never wanting to stress them like this in the real world and that the importance should be in prevention rather than reaction, with that Brexit discussions and negotiations were rightly back to the forefront of at least domestic near term discussions and worries.
So with that sentiment was lifted, in a sigh of relief we made it over the hurdle, but the race finish is a long way off yet. The FTSE 100 climbed in early trade and managed to build on this momentum throughout the session to close 1.04% higher at 7464.75. Financials were split on the day, with Lloyds and Barclays falling as RBS, HSBC and Standard Chartered climbed, even though RBS and Barclays were the ‘most stressed’. Oil and gas giants Shell and BP helped the main index further as both shares climbed following Royal Dutch Shell’s latest update in which they announced they would scrap their scrip dividend, in an all round optimistic update. Elsewhere in a seemingly perpetual state of breaking new highs, US indices and Bitcoin rose further again today, Bitcoin now looking inevitably about to breach $10k. As we write the Dow sits 0.5% higher to be above 23,700 and the S&P 500’s rise of 0.47% takes it above 2,600. Despite marginal gains this morning the pound fell further against both the euro and dollar, of course further boosting domestic listed shares.