Thursday, February 7: FTSE indices were flat to slightly negative at the open as investors awaited the Bank of England quarterly, though a soft start for US equities prompted selling into the close(FTSE 100: -1.11%). A similar sentiment was reflected on the continent as poor economic data pushed European indices lower. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney announced that rates would be held at 0.75% and moderated the 2019 growth outlook as the clock ticks down to the UK’s departure from the EU. In its latest quarterly update, the Bank cut its growth forecast for 2019 from 1.7% to 1.2%, blaming a slowing global economy as well as Brexit uncertainty for the steep downwards revision.
TUI(-14.96%) fell as the tour operator outlined diminished expectations for trading. Management slashed the earnings outlook from expected growth of 10% to flat. Management said this came as a result lower margin bookings at its tour-operating segment.
On the flip side Thomas Cook(+6.44%) rallied as the travel operator announced a strategic review of its airline business, aiming to increase the focus on its core business after reporting widening losses in Q1. This action follows Flybe’s decision to sell itself to Virgin Atlantic and charter carrier Germania filed for insolvency this week. Thomas Cook noted that airline bookings are trailing last year’s after capacity cuts on some short and medium-haul market to reduce rental plane costs. Long-haul demand was holding up and average air fares are 6% higher.
At the close European equities were mixed, with the FTSE 100 -1.11%, the CAC 40 -1.84% and the DAX 30 -2.67%.