Tuesday 01 October: The FTSE was unable to follow the modest gains enjoyed on Wall St. yesterday and proceeded to edge lower at the opening, albeit by 0.1%. The European session once again followed mixed Asian trade, with focus in the area remaining on trade tensions, shock, the continued violent clashes in Hong Kong and China’s celebrations this week marking its 70-year anniversary. Early doors we had the release of UK manufacturing data. In the month of September manufacturing activity improved on August, up from 47.4 to 48.3. The read beat forecasts and is a 4-month high but any read below 50 indicates contraction. Oil and gas shares continued to come under pressure as the price of crude oil dipped below $60 p/bbl.
Investors definitely sought safe havens on Tuesday, as precious metals dominated the winning asset classes today. Wall St. has opened reversing gains from yesterday and the FTSE 100 closed 0.65% lower on the day.
In company specific news it emerged this morning that the CMA would look further into JD Sports’ acquisition of Footasylum. Ferguson emerged winners on the day, shares climbing 4% after a FY pre-tax profit jump of 11%. It is also believed that they will list shares in the US.
The North East’s favourite Greggs also delivered a trading update today. The savoury expert reported sales in the 3 months to September climbed 12%, with LFL sales +7.4%. This is against tough comparatives as it was around this time last year, they released the vegan sausage roll. During August they opened their 2,000th store and have seen successful results from trails in delivery and longer opening store hours. Shares were the biggest faller on the FTSE 250 today but this likely points at many investors cashing in gains from the recent stellar share price performance. The business is continuing investment in future proofing and Brexit contingency measures but perhaps many are willing to avoid the risk in the short term and revisit the long-term story which remains a solid case.