Murdoch Outfoxed

Tuesday, 23 January: Yesterday we left after the FTSE underperformed the rest of Europe to close marginally down, whilst US bourses continued their impressive run further, hitting all new record highs again. Towards the back end of the US session it seemed that an agreement had been reached to end the 3 day senate shutdown, allowing funds to be accessible for a further three weeks. As we write US stocks are once again edging higher, with the NASDAQ the standout performer, up 0.6% so far. This will be helped from Netflix shares that currently trade over 10% on the day after the streaming service added 8.3 million subscribers in the fourth quarter, far ahead of expectations that were around the 6.5 million mark.

Back closer to home, a weaker pound helped a write a contrasting story to yesterday on the FTSE, as the main index closed 0.21% higher ( more or less exactly what it dropped by yesterday). Leading the way were shares in Easyjet, which closed 5.12% higher after the budget airline increased Q1 revenue per seat by 6.6%. This marks a perfect start to the new CEO’s reign, with revenues up 14.4% to over a billion in the first quarter. Easy gig.

One of the other main headlines of the day revolved around the Sky takeover deal by Fox. UK regulators have said the deal doesn’t align with public interest, as it would give the Murdoch family too much influence in British media. Sky shares closed 2.29% higher on the day, so what happens now? Well Disney are set to buy most of Fox’s business, so technically it would mean Mickey Mouse, rather than Murdoch would technically own Sky, something the CMA seem far happier about. This is a provisional investigation and ahead of the final judgement, it is likely that negotiations will be sought for a successful deal to go ahead, what this may entail is uncertain at this point. All in all we will have to wait and see what happens with the Disney deal before we can gauge the Sky deal.

Yesterday we also commented on Tesco’s plans to cut jobs. Seems like the guys on the other side of the car park (rewind back to the supermarket Christmas advert of 2015), have thought it sounds like a good idea, and now Sainsburys are thought to be close to announcing job cuts, which will see ‘thousands’ go. The supermarket aims to save £500m over the next three years, and unfortunately job cuts is usually one of the first areas savings are found. Shares closed the day exactly where they began for firm.

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