Tuesday, 2nd January: After reaching record highs on the last day of 2017, the FTSE 100 let its New Year hangover continue in to the first trading day of 2018, being dragged lower by a strong pound following strong manufacturing data. Although coming in at the bottom end of expectations, the UK Manufacturing PMI dropped to 56.3 from last month’s 4-year high reading of 58.2, although remaining in “expansion” territory and above the 2017 average.
Not only is it the first day back at work of 2018 (bar those in Scotland who will be enjoying an additional bank holiday today), commuters across the UK have been hit with the harsh reality of a 3.4% rise in rail ticket prices, the biggest increase in 5 years. The Department for Transport say price rises are capped in line with inflation and “improve the network”, as some commuters see their season tickets go up by more than £100,with many warning they were being “priced off” UK railways.
Christmas 2017 has barely finished, although we are still within the 12 days of Christmas, but one debt charity group has turned low-earning household’s attention to Christmas 2018. With 357 days till the big man in red comes back down our chimneys, the Money Advice Trust (MAT) has advised those who struggle to with savings to start budgeting for the year ahead. The advice comes on “Takeback Tuesday” as Royal Mail expects to receive a mass of unwanted gifts and purchases to be returned to respective retailers with clothing, footwear and electrical goods being the most commonly returned items.
Major indices in Europe closed in the red with the CAC 40 in France -0.68%, the DAX in Germany -0.64% and the FTSE 100 in London -0.52%. The more domestically focused FTSE 250 followed suit, closing lower by 0.22%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 1.8% to touch its highest levels since 2007 while Hong Kong’s benchmark index climbed to its highest level in more than 10 years. Indices in the US are trading positively at the time of writing while the US dollar is down against major currencies.