It’s a beautiful day at Prestbury Park, Cheltenham for the Festival. The sun is higher on the yardarm than it has been since October. The ground is good to soft – good in places. The stands are packed; the juice of Bacchus is flowing like table water. Rich & Susan Ricci have just landed the spoils in the Supreme Novices Hurdle at 2/1 with Douvan and the former head of BarCap has clearly put his money to good use with this gelding trained by Willie Mullins – eat your heart out Margaret Hodge, Andrew Tyrie and your committee members!
Despite the good cheer in Gloucestershire, sentiment in stock markets is negative. New York has been open 30 minutes and the DOW is down 193 points. At 2.01pm the FTSE 100 is 100 at 6775. Mining stocks have been clattered by between 2-4%. Oil have fared just as badly with crude down a short 3% – some constituent stocks have fallen sharply in places – Shell by 3%, Tullow by 7% and BG by 5%.
Supermarkets started the day very full of themselves with Tesco at one point +2% – now down 2%, Sainsbury easier by 3% and Morrison after a JPM upgrade was 3% to the good – now down 1% ahead of Thursday’s numbers. Banks have not been the flavour of the day – Barclays -2%, RBS and Lloyds -1%.
Of those companies reporting today – Prudential, having been down 3.5% at the off is only 1.75% light. If Mike Wells is confirmed as the CEO soon, I expect that deficit to disappear. SDL is unchanged. G4S – investors enjoyed the improvement +3%. Ocado was up just 0.5%; small result on a day like today. As for Cairn Energy has suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune in the manner of the sector – -6.5%