Friday, 4 October: European markets were initially helped from the upbeat session on Wall St. yesterday, which saw the US stop the rot for global equities. Asian markets were far more subdued and undecided, probably a ‘check’ move from Asian investors as they awaited European and US bourses actions to end the week and the influential US jobs figures that were due out after their close.
The FTSE opened roughly 0.3% higher, with little company specific news to drive markets. The pound was marginally down which usually aids the FTSE and oil bounced back today, again which more often than not helps the blue-chip index. The only data we had to digest today was UK new car market sales, which dipped 2.5% in the first nine months of 2019.
New car registrations did grow in September but in all honesty, be a meagre amount. Up only 1.3% against the same month last year which was heavily impacted by new emissions regulations and other factors is anything but impressive. Many countries in Europe have seen double digit growth due to the fact they don’t have to ‘deal’ with Brexit. One thing for sure is the sector would be one of those potentially hit hardest from a no-deal scenario.
As we mentioned it was US jobs Friday again, which thankfully spurred markets on to carry some joy into the weekend. The US unemployment rate has dropped to a 50-year low of 3.5% to ease recession whispers. The August figure was revised up and the economy added 136,000 jobs last month and 168,000 in August. It was the main reason for the FTSE 100 jumping 1.1% on the day and as we conclude US markets have continued Thursday’s resurgence, with the Dow +0.9% and S&P up the same.
In other news BP have announced that their long serving CEO Bob Dudley will retire next year, to be replaced by Bernard Looney who is current chief executive of their upstream segment and whom has been at the firm since 1991.
M&S shares took a hit after a broker downgrade sent shares -3.9%. The firm has reduced their target price on the retailer from 239p to 150p.
Insurers were left limping into the weekend after the FCA mulls a move to change renewal charges and effective loyalty penalties for consumers. Saga were amongst those hit as investors sought firms who make an extranormal amount from such fees, the insurer falling 7.2% on the day.