Thursday, 9 May: It was a relatively busy start at the open today with a raft of trading updates for investors to digest alongside rumbling trade tensions between China and the US. President Trump has accused China of breaking the deal in trade talks and vows to more than double tariffs at the end of the week. In a play we’ve seen before, China have vowed to match increasing tariffs and all of a sudden, the promising tone between the world’s two largest economies has soured. They do meet today though, and maybe there will be a late Champions League inspired comeback and tariffs will be scrapped? Highly unlikely but there could…. Could be a little bit of progress and dust settling today ‘if’ all goes well. The ‘if’ in the same league as Newcastle could challenge for Europe ‘if’ Mike Ashley gave them transfer funds.
In companies news there was a few updates on the FTSE 100 this morning. Morrisons reported that LFL sales grew in Q1, citing strong retail performance despite uncertainty. However investors believe the weak figures suggest they’re falling behind their rivals, with a mere 0.2% contribution from supermarkets. Shares in the supermarket closed -0.9%. Ocado shares, the company who delivers Morrison’s orders to homes, rose to the top of the index earlier before falling to a 1.55% loss after reports the two firms have relaxed their relationship in order for Ocado to agree deals with other partners in areas that Morrisons doesn’t operate. The reaction from the share price seems to suggest conflicting opinions amongst Ocado investors on the move.
Barratt shares moved higher in early trade after their respective trading update for the YTD, with strong trading observed so far and this year’s outlook modestly ahead of their own expectations. The home builder finished the day top of the FTSE, with gains of 2.4%.
BT Group released their full year results today, but shares fell on the back of the news. There was a 1.9% rise in fiscal pre-tax profit and they have committed to an unchanged dividend for fiscal 2020. They have also raised fibre deployment targets. Shares finished nearly 4% lower today.
As the session progressed markets remained lower, with London sliding to near 0.9% lower on the day. There were heavy losses elsewhere in Europe, with France’s CAC down more 1.9% and Germany’s DAX falling more than 1.8%. The weaker pound possibly helping protect domestic markets, as Wall Street’s open has yielded similar losses. Tomorrow may shed more light on the fall-out from meetings between the US and China, reaction to the new tariffs and see reports from the likes of IAG.