Tuesday, 5 June: After a positive open to the week for global bourses the FTSE retreated today, closing 0.7% lower as banking stocks weighed on the main index. There was no real direction from Asian markets overnight, the Nikkei ticked +0.28% higher and other European indices showed no real movements in early trade. RBS was one of the largest fallers on the day after the Government sold its latest tranche of shares in the bank for a £2.1bn loss. Almost a decade ago the government paid 502p p/share to rescue the bank during at the height of the financial crisis, today they sold the shares for 271p. RBS closed the day 5.3% lower.
During the afternoon we learned that the UK government has also cleared the way for the Sky bid, involving 21st Century Fox and Comcast. Fox has been trying to purchase the remaining share of Sky it didn’t already own for a couple of years now but the deal wasn’t allowed due to fears it would give Rupert Murdoch too much power over UK media. So if Fox sell Sky News the bid will be all clear. However there is a separate deal from Disney in place to purchase Fox’s entertainment assets, including Sky. And then Comcast trumped Fox’s bid for Sky and they’re not subject to selling off Sky News. So actually there’s no final resolution but one scenario has a little more clarity. The clarity being Murdoch can battle Comcast if they sell Sky News *and breathe*
In company specific news, AO World’s losses widened on the release of their full year results as UK competition intensifies. Losses have more than doubled this year but shares climbed over 6% after bettering expectations. Johnston Press has seen revenue fall 9% in the year to date but retains full year guidance. Fashion retailer Quiz has seen FY and has announced their first dividend. Other than that as we leave US markets are mixed as technology stocks continue their recent winning run, with the NASDAQ above its record close from yesterday.