Christmas Bells, RBS Sells, Exports Flew Away

Friday, 1 December: Somehow we’re already in December, all of a sudden with the little bit of snow everyone has gone 0-100 real quick on the Christmas spirit, apart from RBS. What better way to kick off the festive month than to announced a bunch of branch closures (259 to be exact) and 680 job losses. Merry Christmas! This is almost a quarter of branches, split between RBS and NatWest sites, which some have called drastic but RBS have tried to justify by the fall in customer numbers in store. RBS shares dropped 2% following the news on what was an all round tough end to the week for the FTSE. After opening lower the index spent most of the day in a will it, wont it limbo with level ground. In the end it posted a late slide, closing the week at 7,300.49, which equates to roughly a 1.5% loss for the week.

As mentioned London stocks had a fairly mixed but unspectacular day, opening with the setback of a delay on the US tax vote and we also awaited UK manufacturing data. Which, showed growth at its fastest pace in over 4 years for November. Manufacturing PMI hit 58.2, with exports driving the performance. The reason why exports have become more attractive is the fall in the pound’s value makes them relatively cheaper than they were 18 months or so ago. Other factors are of course at play and some question how long this run has and if it shows a true picture of health for our economy. On the subject of the pound, it was a fairly volatile day for the currency, recovering from an earlier drop to sit 0.4% lower against the euro as we write, it currently has held better against the dollar being only 0.2% lower.

On the FTSE today amongst the winners were miners Anglo and Rangold, as ConvaTec topped the index. Primark owner AB Foods sank to the foot of the index. Oil’s rise on the day helping the miners, as it looks to breach $64 p/bbl once again. As we write over in the US it seems a rare day where the markets may actually lose ground; modest losses given the tremendous run, as the Dow currently sits 0.75% lower but still aloft the 24,000 mark. Staying in the US it seems the weekend’s focus will be on typical Trump controversy. And finally to the real news, England have been drawn into a group that only… only England could fail to make it out of. But come on, let’s be optimistic and at least retain that until the 18th June, 2018 when it is our first game and probably the first national upset since 2016. Ensue the Icelandic clap to humble us and remember, Panama are technically a better team than they are.

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