May survives no-confidence vote; Germany’s economic growth slows; Hope for US–China trade relations grows.

22 January 2019

May survives no-confidence vote; Germany’s economic growth slows; Hope for US–China trade relations grows.

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Market news

London’s FTSE 100 Index has opened marginally lower this morning, but has broadly continued on its upward trend since the turn of the year. Last week, the Prime Minister’s government survived a no-confidence vote after her Brexit deal was overwhelmingly rejected by a 432 to 202 vote in the House of Commons. Whilst May’s defeat was historic in its magnitude, it did raise hopes for a “soft” Brexit as May is now compelled to build cross-party consensus to avoid the risk of no Brexit at all. The positive reaction from UK assets reflects the real potential for Brexit to be delayed.

In Europe, data showed that Germany’s economy decelerated sharply last year due to slowing consumer spending and weakness in key export markets. Gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 1.5% in 2018, the weakest rate in five years, compared with 2.2% in 2017. Reasons cited for the slower growth included a globally weaker economy, sales problems in the car industry as a result of tougher pollution standards, and special events including an outbreak of flu and strikes.

Hopes for better US–China trade relations nudged shares globally higher last week and continues to be a significant driver of sentiment. On Thursday, markets appeared to jump on reports that US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had suggested lowering tariffs on some Chinese goods as a gesture of goodwill in trade negotiations. The White House did, however, later deny the accounts.

On Friday, shares surged again following a report that Chinese officials had proposed a six-year buying spree of US goods with a combined total of more than $1 trillion to eliminate the country’s trade surplus with the US by 2024. The general positive sentiment, in combination with favourable economic data, has lured investors away from the perceived ‘safe haven’ assets like Gilts and Treasuries.  

Despite the growing momentum toward a possible resolution in the US–China trade standoff, China reportedly plans to lower its official annual growth target to a range of between 6.0% and 6.5% this year, down from roughly 6.5% in 2018, as it copes with weakening domestic demand and the impact of US tariffs.

Finally, crude oil prices have continued to recover, with the Brent crude price settling $60 per barrel and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) rose to just above $53 per barrel. Much of the positive momentum here has been generated by the supply-side, with Iran’s output especially continuing to slide.

 

Economic data*

Share Closing Values at 14/1/19 Year high Year low
FTSE 100 6,971 7,904 6,537
FTSEurofirst 1,402 1,588 1,291
DAX 11,136 13,597 10,279
DJ Industrial Average 24,706 26,952 21,713
S&P 500 2,671 2,931 2,351
NASDAQ 7,157 8,133 6,190
Hang Seng 27,197 33,484 24,541

 

UK Gifts % Yield Price
10 Year 1.32 102.74
2 Year 0.79 101.80
5 Year 0.95 99.10
30 Year 1.83 92.62

 

FOREX versus US Dollar Last % Change**
British Pound 1.29 -0.22
Euro 1.14 -0.11
Japanese Yen 109.66 -0.21
Canadian Dollar 1.33 0.29

 

Commodities Price (USD) Change** % Change**
Brent Crude Oil 62.74 -0.43 -0.69
Light Crude 53.80 -0.37 -0.69
Gold LBMA 1,279.53 1.47 0.11
* Source: Thomson Reuters
** From previous day close

 

Stock focus

Budget airline easyJet has this morning warned markets that revenue per seat, an important metric for airlines, fell by 4.2% in its first quarter. With around 40% of all potential bookings secured for the second quarter, it anticipates further declines.

Kier chief executive Haydn Mursell has resigned this morning with immediate effect, following pressure from key stakeholders to step down as debts soared at the construction group.

BHP, the world’s biggest miner, warned this morning that a series of operational outages affected its production during the second half of last year, leading to a roughly $600m “negative impact”.

British defence giant BAE Systems has sold a majority stake in its Land UK tank and combat vehicle division to German rival Rheinmetall for £28.6m. The new joint venture gives Rheinmetall a 55% stake, with BAE owning the rest.

Ryanair has cut its profit forecast, blaming lower-than-expected air fares. The airline’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary, said the company could not rule out having to cut fares further, with fares expected to fall by 7% this winter. Lower fares are already causing problems for rivals, including Flybe which was rescued last week.

Education publisher Pearson, which cut thousands of jobs and sold assets including the Financial Times, has said revenue at its key US business fell by 5%. It has forecast a possible similar drop next year as the company undergoes a major restructure to focus on boosting digital content.

 

Financial calendar

Date Category Country Event Reuters poll Prior estimate
22/01/19 Labour Market United Kingdom

United Kingdom-Claimant Count - Claimant Count Unem Chng

20k 21.9k
22/01/19 Surveys & Cyclical Germany

Germany-ZEW - ZEW Economic Sentiment

-18.4 -17.5
22/01/19 Industry Sector United States

United States-Existing Homes - Existing Home Sales

5.25m 5.32m
22/01/19 External Sector Japan

Japan-Trade - Trade Balance Total Yen

JPY -29.5b JPY -737.7b
23/01/19 Surveys & Cyclical France

France-Business confidence - Business Climate mfg

103 104
23/01/19 Surveys & Cyclical United Kingdom

UK factories face global slowdown as well as Brexit-CBI data due - CBI Trends - Orders

5 8
23/01/19 Surveys & Cyclical Eurozone

Euro Zone-Consumer confidence - Consumer Confid. Flash

-6.5 -6.2
24/01/19 Surveys & Cyclical Eurozone

Euro Zone-PMI Flash - Markit Comp Flash PMI

51.4 51.3
24/01/19 Government Sector Eurozone

Euro Zone-ECB rate decision - ECB Deposit Rate

-0.40% -0.40%
24/01/19 Labour Market United States

United States-Jobless - Initial Jobless Claims

220k 213k
24/01/19 Prices Japan

Japan-CPI Tokyo - CPI, Overall Tokyo

- 0.30%
25/01/19 Government Sector United Kingdom

UK mortgage data due amid signs of housing market slowdown - BBA Mortgage Approvals

- 39.4k
Source: Thomson Reuters

 

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May survives no-confidence vote; Germany’s economic growth slows; Hope for US–China trade relations grows.

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