Thursday, May 24: UK indices were marginally mixed at the open, as oil crept higher overnight and sterling continued to drift lower versus the dollar. However, this was all set to change as further rhetoric from Trump provoked a flight to safety with global equity markets selling off and gold receiving bids intraday. Détente between North Korea and the US sparked equity markets to rally in recent months, but backbiting reared its head to the detriment of equities. As a result, the FTSE 100(-0.89%) saw its gains for the week chalked off.
Wizz Air(+4.61%) climbed to new heights after issuing FY2018 results, paired with cautious guidance for FY2019. The budget airliner announced a 24% revenue rise, with an increase in profit of 22.1% to €275m, a 120bps improvement in load factor to 91.3% and 25% growth in passenger numbers to 29.6m.
The latest M&A news to hit the wires was the proposed disposal of a selection of US drinks brands from owner Diageo(+1.38%). The FTSE 100 drinks conglomerate behind Smirnoff and Guinness has kicked off an auction for the disposal of Myer’s Rum, Popov, a vodka brand; Romana, a sambuca brand; and Goldschlager, a cinnamon schnapps it has owned for more than 20 years with up to £1bn in proceeds expected. The disposals fall in line with Diageo’s aim to have a global portfolio of premium brands which currently stands at more than 200 beer and spirits brands which are seeing stronger growth. Millennials are reportedly drinking less, but spending more per drink and Diageo among others are looking to play the trend. Centerview Partners have been hired to conduct the sale, with a number of private equity firms rumoured to be preparing bids.
Across Europe, indices were lower at the close with the FTSE 100 -0.92%, the DAX 30 -0.94% and the CAC 40 -0.31%.