Tuesday, 19 March: Investors remain slightly timid ahead of the Fed’s decision on interest rates tomorrow. Add to that the lack of progress with regards to Brexit and multitude of stagnating risks across the landscape, stocks are lacking flare at the start of the week. Tuesday saw European markets slowly edge higher throughout the session, with the FTSE remaining around 0.4% higher all day, before closing +0.34% at 7,324. This morning UK unemployment figures showed the lowest rate since records began, impressive despite Brexit qualms. The unemployment rate fell to 3.9% in the three months to January which gave the pound a brief lift.
The best performing stock on the FTSE 100 today was Ocado, which saw an 11% increase in revenue for the first quarter driven by strong underlying growth in average number of weekly orders. The results came despite the warehouse fire during the period which caused disruption. Shares closed the day 5.36% higher, now sitting around 200% higher than 12 months ago. Mining shares again performed strong as Glencore and Antofagasta both climbed c.3%, although the latter saw a net profit fall of 26% during 2018, caused by declining copper grades.
Struggling retailer Bonmarche released another profit warning, sending shares 20% lower, this time blaming the transition from winter to spring collections. Gym Group shares in contrast enjoyed a strong day’s trade after pre-tax profit climbed last year and their announcement that the new year had begun well. Shares closed Tuesday 5.2% higher.