Friday, 5th January: The end of the first week of 2018 is in sight, with global equities rallying to the end. Not to again repeat ourselves but US indices continued to make record highs, while the Nikkei went for a 2nd day of gains, adding a further 0.89% to yesterday 3% leap. In the UK the main index as well as the domestic mid-cap hit new highs. The positive sentiment continued in to Europe with indices in France, Germany, Italy and Spain all pushing higher after Eurozone inflation fell further below the ECB’s 2% target to 1.4%.
The first Friday of the month brings with it US jobs data, today falling below expectations at 148k jobs added in December. The unemployment rate held at a 17-year low of 4.1% while hourly wages improved slightly, rising 2.5% from the previous year. After revisions to previous months, 2.1m jobs have been added to the US economy in 2017, the 7th consecutive year of job growth of >2m or better. Expansion in the employment market may still have room to grow following the senate’s tax bill passing; most households look set to benefit from a cut in taxes which could lead to further consumer spending, leading to businesses to hire and invest further.
Car sales in the UK have recorded their biggest drop since 2009 with a fall of 5.7% as consumers continue to be hesitant over potential diesel charges alongside weaker consumer confidence since Brexit. Total registrations at the end of 2017 stood at 2.54m according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) , as diesel sales fell 17.1%. Car sales are expected to fall between 5-7% this year. Although recording the sales declines, last year’s performance has followed two years of record sales and is the 3rd best year in a decade and the 6th best ever.
If you enjoy a daily coffee on your way to work, MPs are looking to push the price up by 25p in a “latte levy” on disposable coffee cups. Currently almost no coffee cups are recycled, with half a million a day littered. MPs are arguing that cups should be banned altogether by 2023 if they are not being recycled. 20-25 central London Starbucks outlets are set to trial a 5p cup charge for the 3 months, however the company already offer a 25p discount to customers who bring in their own reusable cup. The “latte levy” wouldn’t be too dissimilar to the 5p charge on plastic carrier bags that has noticeably reduced usage.