The Simpsons Predicts the Future as Domino’s Takes a Slice of Iceland

Thursday, December 14: indices in the UK struggled for direction at the open, along with those on the continent following second interest rate rise in the United States, and ahead of the Bank of England interest rate decision today. The rate rise was largely priced into equities, and there was little reaction in currency markets to suggest it caught market participants by surprise. The FTSE 100 opened slightly higher but pared gains into the close(-0.65%) as sterling strengthened late in the day, once again there was scant stock specific news to move the primary index.
The Bank of England elected to hold interest rates at 0.5% following a unanimous 9-0 vote from the monetary policy committee. The central bank also left the asset purchase programme unchanged at £435bn and its corporate-bond purchase program at £10bn. Again, a hangfire approach from the BOE was very much expected and provoked negligible price action across asset classes.
Dominoes Pizza climbed 5.50%, after it announced it was increasing its stake in Domino’s Iceland and that it would be buying back £20m worth of its shares. The company is acquiring a further 44.3% interest in its Icelandic subsidiary for €30.2m, bringing its total ownership to 95.3% which will be funded via existing debt facilities. The Pizza conglomerate commented that Domino’s Iceland(23 stores) has the higher average weekly unit sales of any country under the Domino’s umbrella.
The big event of the day was the announcement that Walt Disney Co. has struck a deal to buy film, TV and international businesses from Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox Inc for $52.4bn(£39bn) in stock. Disney has acquired a repertoire of shows and movies such as “Avatar” and “The Simpsons” to combat digital content giants Amazon and Netflix Inc. Curiously, it seems the deal was predicted in an episode of The Simpsons that first aired November 8, 1998.
UK retail sales data surprised analysts after coming in ahead of expectations for November. Figures indicated that Black Friday deals accelerated sales to 1.1% for the month of November, which was more than double both the rate seen in the prior month and analyst expectations of 0.5%. Government statisticians noted the retail spurt was largely driven by strong sales of electrical household appliances.
Across Europe, indices were lower at the close with the FTSE 100 -0.65%, the DAX 30 -0.44% and the CAC 40 -0.78%.

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