Thursday, 14th June: Retail data came in today and was surprisingly upbeat. The run-up to the royal wedding and the streak of sunshine which blessed British weather has resulted in an increase of 0.9% in the three months to May, compared to an increase of 0.2% in the three months to April. What was more impressive was the 12 month increase comparison, which was 1.4% in the 12 months to April, and 3.9% in the 12 months to May. Supermarkets and other retailers were said to be the main gainers from this, as consumer splurged on food and household goods in preparation for the big day. Although this has suggested that the retail market has made a slight recovery, other headlines in retail have proved that the economy is still suffering from the recent closures in Marks & Spencer and House of Fraser, who have been left with no option but to shut stores as consumers favour online shopping for cheaper goods.
Rolls Royce plc the aircraft engine specialist announced this morning their plans to cut 4,600 jobs, mainly in the UK across the next 24 months, as a part of their cost-cutting plan, which sent them to the top of the FTSE 100 and they were trading more than 3.0% higher at mid-day and more than 6.0% higher near the end of the day, reflecting the approval by shareholders and the market of the move. The restructuring plans are said to deliver annual savings of c.£400 million by the end of 2020.
The blue-chip index was given a helping hand today after yesterdays flat close. This was following the European Central Bank suggested interest rates would remain where they are throughout the summer and aren’t likely to be changed. Having started the day in red, the index shot up after the ECB news was released and ended the day 0.83% higher at 7767.