Wednesday, 29 November: At the opening bell in London today shares gave away some of the ground made yesterday, with a stronger pound weighing on shares. The rest of Europe certainly fared better on Wednesday, continuing momentum from a strong US session on Tuesday that yes, saw another record high and close for the Dow and S&P 500. The pound likely given a boost after it is believed the UK is close to agreeing on its divorce settlement from the EU. This is however far from a done deal but it seems like some tangible ground has been made; the main issue is that it is one of the main stopping points from us being able to open negotiations on other aspects of a finalised Brexit deal, one major area being a free trade deal.
Not a lot changed throughout the day, and as we write the pound sits roughly half a percent higher against both the dollar and euro. This of course was enough to hold the FTSE to a 0.9% loss on the day, which saw domestic consumer facing stocks outperform.
Just putting the cat amongst the pigeons was the man at the top of UN’s Christmas list, the one, the only, Kim Jong-un. After I commented how relatively quiet he’d been on Monday, one to not disappoint, he shows up last night and casually sets off a ballistic missile. Because what else have you got to do on a Tuesday? The fact that markets were un-rattled by this isn’t a great state of affairs but it hasn’t materially changed anything, other than the possible scope of their nuclear arsenal. North Korea still remains like a true Sunday league goalkeeper, in that nobody has any idea what they will do next. And once again, a victim of commenting too early, not one to be upstaged Donald Trump decided to just completely throw the Twitter rule book as far out the White House window as possible today after retweeting far right videos, sourced from Britain First. Way to make the most of those extra characters. #POTUShas99problemsandcomplianceisone
Britvic shares were amongst the biggest climbers in the 250 today, after the release of their full year results showed annual revenue jumped over 7% and the firm showed they were ready to navigate next year which will see the soft drinks levy come into force in the UK and Ireland. Underlying profit rose 5.1% as the soft drinks firm benefitted from a wider range of low sugar options. They closed 6.9% higher, only beaten by Ocado and Stagecoach.
As US shares opened, the S&P 500 and Dow both climbed further after strong economic data and positive comments from Yellen all but guaranteed future rate rises, i.e December. GDP was revised up to 3.3% in Q3, which is the best performance for the 3rd quarter since 2014, and remains ahead of the White House’s 3% target again.
Bitcoin has unsurprisingly passed the $10,000 mark, after only just surpassing $9,000. The crypto-currency, despite mixed opinion, has had a superb year which has seen it rise from below $1,000 at the start of the year (and now I spoke too soon and it has already passed $11,000. But I’ll continue like this didn’t happen so quickly from the beginning to the end of the paragraph). Bitcoin has survived numerous setbacks and worries, including a Chinese cull on digital currencies, to surge over the past 12 months. Nobody knows what is behind such a prolific climb in its value, hence the danger and risk that what go up must come down could just as easily happen. It is also still relatively unregulated and misunderstood, and despite the odd move in financial institutions or market mutterings that suggest it will become more mainstream and widely accepted, there’s just as many counter points and counter measures being put in place to measure its growth. So, to conclude, if you invested in Bitcoin happy days, if you want to give it big licks about how saw it coming etc…. well now’s the time to do it but be careful of your pals sat listening with some good old hard currency in their pocket. Form is temporary but class is permanent and all that.