Monday, 11 February: The FTSE 100 today followed suit with the majority of global bourses to move higher, eventually closing up 0.82%. The weaker pound of course continuing to support the index, which was helped early doors by miners who then eventually slipped away as brent prices declined. Smith & Nephew were amongst the worst performing stocks after it was reported they were mulling a potential multi-billion-dollar acquisition of US rival NuVasive. The worst performing stock on the FTSE was Antofagasta as copper prices declined by over 1%.
As we began the week traders in London keenly awaited GDP figures which were released mid-morning. Manufacturing and industrial production for the 3 months to Dec saw declines of 0.9% and 1.1% respectively, as Brexit woes doused the figures. UK GDP in the fourth quarter declined 0.4% from November and grew 1.5% on the year, the slowest growth rate since 2012. During December manufacturing output was hit by uncertainty with a 0.7% decline during the month compared to a 2.1% on year drop. The figures were clear evidence that investment was very much on hold until we sort our debacle out with the EU.
There was relatively little else of note reporting today, with some typically poor performing stocks seeing the biggest declines across the LSE, such as Carpetright, Thomas Cook and Clipper. Elsewhere the CMA has delayed their decision on whether to approve the merger between ASDA and Sainsbury’s. Finally it was reported earlier today that Mike Ashley had cancelled a bid for the collapsed Patisserie Valerie. Contrary to popular belief he’s clearly not as big a fan of cakes as what we would believe.