Tuesday, 23 April: Returning after the long Easter weekend, investors were greeted with a 6 month high oil price as President Trump vowed to fully enforce Iran’s oil export embargo from May 1st. Back in November, these sanctions had been originally announced, albeit granting 8 countries a waiver. These are set to lapse at the start of May, with Trump announcing sanctions on all countries should they continue to buy Iranian oil. It is mainly Asian countries that import Iranian oil, with Trump’s orders sending oil to November 2018 levels. Brent surged past $74/bbl in yesterday trading, with modest climbs recorded over the course of today, reaching new 2019 highs. Unsurprisingly, oil stocks gained on the back of the news; BP and Royal Dutch Shell rising >2% mid-morning, closing in similar fashion as Tuesday’s equity markets drew to a close.
Sticking with Trump, albeit briefly. It has been announced by Buckingham Palace that the US President is to make a 3-day state visit to the UK at the start of June, coinciding with the 75-year anniversary since the D-Day landings. Trump had been promised a visit by PM May after his successful election campaign in 2016, although he has since visited his golf course in Scotland and met with the Queen at Windsor Castle.
Thomas Cook shares have taken off after rumours of a potential takeover surfaced over the weekend. Although no confirmed names have come forward, rumours have circulated that the group’s largest shareholder and chairman of Fosun International, could look to be approaching a takeover, while additional private equity firms are thought to be interested. Despite the lack of clarity, or solid evidence, Thomas Cook shares gained >16% at the open, closing +18.3%. The group has fallen upon turbulent times of late, recording operating losses and rising costs in the more popular Canaries winter destinations. A strategic review of its airline business has more recently been announced, as well as further store closures on the high street.
The FTSE 100 continued its 2019 advances , adding a further 0.85% at Tuesday’s close as the index closed above 7,500 for the first time since September 2018. Major equity indices also recorded gains over the day, with the S&P 500 on Wall Street continuing to surge to all time highs.