Friday, 22 March: It was a downbeat end to the week as investors turned their concern to global growth concerns again. With a multitude of looming risks it was also possible some investors were deciding to cash out on the relatively high equity market positions. May was granted a short-term extension to get a Brexit deal finalised, but the two-tiered delay could still see the UK crash out with a no-deal if they refuse her third meaningful vote, by April 12th. Overnight sterling steadied on the news and the FTSE fell throughout the session, with sentiment not helped by Wall Street’s negative open. The FTSE 100 closed 2% lower at 7,207 on Friday, with considerable losses across most major markets. As we write the Dow Jones is 1.7% lower, with the NASDAQ 2% lower. Earlier Smiths group was the leader in London but shares faded through the day to close 0.9% lower. First half results showed a 13% fall in pre-tax profit and they unveiled plans to demerge their medical unit to list separately on the LSE.
Elsewhere Thomas Cook has announced it will cut over 300 jobs and close over 20 stores amid restructuring in efforts to streamline the UK retail offer. Shares closed 2.5% lower. Budget airline Easyjet was also in the news today after announcing they were ready to activate their no-deal contingency plan in order to comply with EU laws.
It seems that Debenhams are doing everything they can to fend off Mike Ashley. He has offered a £150m loan but the deal would put him in charge. Therefore, they’re looking for a £200m cash injection from existing lenders. Overall it seems like the retailer doesn’t have many options and shareholders gave reacted badly with shares down 45%.