Wednesday, 8 May: The worry surrounding global growth continued to dictate investors today, leading to the majority of European bourse sheading lower at the open. This followed significant losses on Wall Street yesterday and further falls across Asian markets this morning. The prospect of higher tariffs reignites the US and Chinese trade tensions that were seen as ‘settling’ recently. Perhaps it was Trump’s reminder to Trump that he is still in a very powerful position. But the fact remains he has halted the recent increased appetite for risk. Throughout the session the FTSE 100 index sat with modest losses before a surprising recovery late in the day to finish marginally higher alongside other main European bourses and some strong gains at the US open. This U-turn for global equities may have been down to the speculation that China is looking to make a deal, or that ‘co-operation’ looked to be on the table but of course 140 characters can change this tone.
In companies news today we had updates from the likes of ITV, Imperial Brands and Direct Line. The former two finished the day at the bottom of the main index after their respective updates. ITV expect advertising revenue for the first half to drop 6% after a weak quarter but backed full year guidance. Shares declined 6.08%. Imperial Brands who own some of the most recognisable tobacco brands saw shares fall 6.3% despite seeing full year profit and revenue climb. But investors are clearly making the firm pay for their relatively late attempt to move into e-cigarettes. Direct Line backed 2019 expectations after seeing a fall in gross written premium for Q1 and shares reacted with a 1.8% fall.