Friday, February 16: FTSE indices marked a third day in the green, whilst European indices also looked to have taken a lead from a strong overnight performance in Asia. This performance saw the Hang Seng close +1.97% with the also Nikkei 225 up +1.19%. Warehouse property investor Segro(+6.36%) helped the FTSE 100(+0.83%) higher as it announced a 26% rise in annual adjusted pre-tax profit. Results were buoyed by the relentless structural shift in retail from the high street to e-commerce fulfilment centres. The warehouse operator also noted that prospects for rental growth remain good, in particular in the UK. Segro reported EPRA nav per share at 556.0p at the end of December, a 16% increase on the same date last year which was helped by a 14% like-for-like increase in the group’s portfolio value to £8.0bn from £6.3bn.
UK retail data proved to be the latest data series to surprise market commentators as retail sales for January came in at just 0.1%, undershooting the consensus 0.6% polled by The Wall Street Journal. The ONS noted that January saw higher than usual sales in gymwear and sporting equipment, which was offset by falling sales of food. Reactions to the data were not as vociferous as those we saw on Wednesday, as sterling(-0.46%) gradually eased lower against the dollar into the final hour of trading. Given the UK retail slowdown has been well signposted, investors are much more apprehensive regarding the trajectory of global inflation, and any consequent tightening of monetary policy.
Across Europe, indices were up at the close with the FTSE 100 +0.83%, the DAX 30 +0.86% and the CAC 40 +1.14%.