Monday, June 24: With the weekend doing nothing to diffuse geopolitical tensions around the globe, equity markets have begun the week in mixed fashion. The Nikkei fell nearly 1% whereas Hong Kong’s Hang Seng just kept it’s head above water. The tensions however did push oil and rare metal prices higher which helped the commodity laden FTSE 100 early in the session (… and through). London shares as the session matured slowly lost momentum and investors refused to overlook circling risks both on the near term and longer-term horizons. At the US opening bell Wall Street continued higher, buoyed by broad sector gains and European and US talk of support for stuttering economies. Modest gains nevertheless before the FTSE eventually settled at 0.12% higher for Monday.
Some of the main company stories from the day included Admiral, who saw their shares sit around the peak of the FTSE for the majority of the session after Barclays upgraded the nonlife insurer to over-weight, commenting that insurance premiums had reached a turning point. BT Group, on the other hand, received a downgrade and shares slid 3.25%, after DB branded the telecommunications company as one of the least attractive amongst Europe. Cruise ship operator Carnival also received a downgrade and their shares subsided 1.23%.
A lesser-known firm by the name of Cake Box (who do what the tin suggests) saw shares bump up slightly after a pre-tax profit rise of 14%. New franchise store openings have driven the success for the firm that makes eggless cakes.
Polar Capital enjoyed a strong start to the week as shares climbed 3% after increased performance fees and growth in AUM. They made a pre-tax profit of £64.1m up from £41.3m last year and performance fees jumped from £15.2m to £24m. The asset manager has also hiked the dividend.