FTSE and Pound In-Sync

Friday, 26 January: It has been a somewhat mixed week for European bourses, with currency being the main dictator amongst a raft of smaller influences such as the ECB rate decision, Davos commentary, economic data and trading updates. Despite the pound not budging, the FTSE managed to close higher today, up +0.65% to close the week at 7665.54. It was a rare day’s trade when the index and pound moved in the same direction, and as we write the pound is starting to lose early gains, around flat against the euro and up a qtr percent against the dollar. Earlier today we had preliminary GDP reads for the UK, which showed quarter on quarter growth was 0.5%, ahead of forecasts for +0.4%. Year on year growth was forecast at 1.3% but came in at 1.5%, with Q3 figures unrevised. Oil has finally slipped from highs seen earlier in the week but is being supported by the $70 p/bbl line.

On the markets today it was fairly quiet, even more so than a typical Friday. Next made a rare appearance at the top of the main index where it was deemed basically better than others, after a raft of profit warnings from similar retailers. Shares closed 3% higher.

In other news, a Tokyo based cryptocurrency trading exchange, Coincheck was reportedly hacked today. They lost $534m. Yep, over half a billion has just disappeared from well, virtual reality but either way, it isn’t where you thought you left it. Oh dear, oh dear oh dear.

US economic growth was 2.6% in the final quarter of 2017, short of Trump’s 3% target but higher than 2016’s 1.5%. Imports were to blame, but growth is still expected around the target due to a weak dollar, rising oil prices and all round global economic health.

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