East Coast Mainline Back On Government Tracks

Wednesday, 16 May: US Treasury yields continued to climb after European close last night, reaching the highest level since 2011 at 3.082%, further sending physical Gold lower and US stocks tumbling. The sentiment on Wall Street has slightly turned in Wednesday trade with the Dow Jones and S&P 500 currently treading in the green at the time of writing. The FTSE 100 itself closed slightly higher (+0.15%), aided by Paddy Power and Micro Focus. Not looking to hang around for opportunities in the soon to be legalised US gambling space, Paddy Power (+6.31%) are looking to merge with US sports fantasy operator FanDuel about merging their US business. Micro Focus (+6.19%) rose after bullish revenue guidance.

On the London Index the big movers were housebuilder Crest Nicholson (-12.8%) with a first half trading update that added fear to investors as the group highlighted declining operating margins at the lower end of expectations. Despite reporting rising volumes and Average Selling Prices, the run on this growth looks to be stalling, especially in the higher priced new builds. Pub company Mitchells & Butlers (7.19%) fell victim to the UK’s bad weather of February and March, announcing the “Beast from the East” as well as rising costs had cost them. Marston’s (-12.23%) results were impacted by a number of write-downs, although revenue and underlying profit both grew.

It’s always annoying when you make plans with someone, only for the other party to cancel. At least North Korea have given US President Trump plenty of warning over their “maybe attending” plan for the 12 June. In what was meant to be a historic US-North Korean summit, it seems North Korea don’t fancy meeting to solely discuss denuclearisation. It comes after North Korea have already cancelled plans to meet with the South, citing objections to military exercises being carried out by the South.  Looks like Trump and Kim Jong Un might be available that day after all.

Over the afternoon it was announced East Coast Main Line is set to be renationalised, even if on a temporary basis. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling had previously announced the plans back in February, but the joint venture between Stagecoach and Virgin looks set to end after failing to meet financial commitments. The service is set to be renamed London and North Eastern Railway (LNER).

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