Tuesday, 10 December: Markets were expected to open fairly flat after subdued trade across Asian bourses suggested investors were happy to wait and see ahead of numerous significant economic and political events. Obviously at the forefront domestically is the general election, which is on Thursday, and through today’s session fear of a hung parliament slowly gave investors more reasons to worry. We also await key central bank decisions on rates including the ECB and of course have the December 15th deadline which is when the US is due to impose tariffs on more Chinese goods. Anyhow, markets opened a little bit punchier than expected and the FTSE was quickly down 1%. Through the session we did see sentiment become a little more positive and the index managed to close 0.3% lower.
Barely noticed today was the raft of UK economic data as people’s focus remains on poll numbers rather than GDP. Having said that UK Oct GDP was completely flat on the month and +0.7% on the year. The EY ITEM club predicts that the UK economy will grow in 2019 at the slowest rate in a decade and it is the first 3-month spell of no growth in the UK since 2009. Mid global financial crisis just for those lucky enough to forget the significance of the period. UK manufacturing output was +0.2% on the month and down 1.2% on the year, against forecasts of 0.4% higher on the month and -1.4% on the year.
In company news Just Eat was again making headlines today. It follows yesterday’s announcement that Dutch company Prosus had improved its bid to better the last one from rival bidder Takeaway.com. Just Eat has however effectively rejected the higher bid and will recommend that shareholders accept the Takeaway.com offer.
JD Wetherspoon has announced it will invest £200m in their pubs, with an estimated 10,000 jobs to be created as a result. Long live mixer jugs and curry club!
Rental solutions firm Ashtead was the biggest faller on the FTSE today as shares dropped just over 6% following their interim results. The group announced strong performance in their North American businesses but warned of continued weakness in their smaller British operations.
Elsewhere Computacenter has seen trading ahead of views leading to shares climbing 4.7% today, Koovs is to enter administration, McColl’s retail EBITDA is expected to be lower than guidance and Anglo American expects to deliver 20-25% production growth by 2023. There was also a story about an erectile dysfunction drug under-performing sending Futura shares -50% but that’s too easy. Far too easy.
But having said that, a prime opportunity is rare these days and therefore the blog title is well…. over and out.