Tuesday, 27 March: Markets across Europe stormed higher this at the open this morning after fears of an ensuing trade war between the world’s two largest economies, the US and China, subsided. International trade worries also decreased as yet more countries were granted sanctions to newly proposed US tariffs. Yesterday Wall Street posted huge gains, as the Dow Jones closed 2.8% higher alongside the NASDAQ which closed an impressive 3.2% higher. Asian bourses followed suit as the Nikkei posted its second largest one day gain of the year to close 2.6% higher which of course led European shares higher today. The FTSE closed at a similar level to which it opened, ending 1.54% higher just below the 7,000 mark, ending a four session losing streak. As we write Wall Street has opened with gains again, albeit not as impressive as yesterday. The Dow and S&P 500 are currently +0.9% and +0.5% respectively, as the NASDAQ is more or less flat.
One of the biggest climbers on the FTSE was Glaxo’, whose shares rose 4.9% during the session. The move was partly from news this morning that announced GSK would take full control of a consumer healthcare JV that was formed with Novartis in 2015. The latter looks to focus on its core business and by doing so will sell their 36.5% stake in the JV to GSK for £9.2bn. This has prompted the pharmaceutical giant to look at a potential sale of its Horlicks brand to fund the acquisition. In a relatively quiet day, one of the other main stories was from Ferguson, the only shares that topped GSK on the FTSE 100, after they announced a £1bn special dividend on the release of their first half results; which also showed revenue and profit increased. Shares closed the day 6.7% higher.
It’s rare to find quite an ‘uplifting’ story concerning the markets, but Supergroup, parent of Superdry, announced one of the co-founders would be stepping down from the firm today, in part to concentrate on charity work. Julian Dunkerton who helped establish the well known brand in 1985, has pledged over £1m worth of the company’s shares to a charity called Blue Marine.