Tuesday, August 13: markets commenced the day on the back foot, following on from an Asian session which saw indices close in the red. The FTSE 100 saw a broad based sell-off early on across healthcare, engineering, travel and insurance sectors as investors continued to digest continuing unrest in Hong Kong and political & economic uncertainty in Argentina. Later in the day, markets flipped into the green as the US Trade Representatives office announced that new tariffs on Chinese imports set to be imposed on September 1 will be delayed, and potentially withdrawn altogether fuelling market hopes of easing tensions between the Trump administration and China. The S&P 500(+1.66%) and NASDAQ Composite(+1.70%) rallied hard into the London close, as the safe haven bid for gold weakened and Brent oil strengthened $2.50 to c.$61/bbl.
FTSE 250 Plus500(+16.48%) made the biggest gains on the index despite announcing a fall in pretax profit of 82%. The spread betting company saw revenues fall 42% to $148.0m, EBITDA drop 58% to $65.6m and a net profit drop of 56% to $51.6m. Management remarked that the first half encountered difficult trading due to the underlying stability of financial markets from February to April, though against this backdrop focused on marketing and delivering enhancements to the trading platform. Trading was largely in line with market expectations for H1, and trading through Q3 to date was consistent with expectations for FY2019.
European equities were higher at the close, with the FTSE 100 +0.33%, the CAC 40 +0.99% and the DAX 30 +0.60%.