Despite the US markets adding an average of another 50 basis points yesterday, taking all three of their main indices into uncharted waters to record heights, the level of activity on London’s main index was measured, bordering on dull. At present markets seem immune from political fall-out, with a President seemingly having difficulty in deciphering the difference between right and wrong. Yesterday we enjoyed a measurable renaissance by the banks. The start of today’s session saw the FTSE 100 on the back foot, needing to make up 29 points for EX Dividend payments made by Astra, BP, Shell and Imperial Brands, before opening the batting. At 2.45pm the FTSE was down just 25 points at 7275. Needless to say BP, Shell and Astra have adjusted to marginally lower levels.
Cobham reported its fifth profits warning in 15 months – down 15%. Shire posted excellent results at lunchtime with the acquisition of Baxalta looking as if it is starting to pay dividends. Its shares are up 5.5%. Coca-Cola Bottling – up 40% this past year made a slow start after posting solid numbers, but is currently 3% to the good. Heineken’s bid for Punch Taverns will be subject to a regulatory review. Many think it will go through – down 1.4%. Drax failed to please its acolytes – down 6% and finally the ‘yellow jersey’ goes to a mid-cap – Lancashire – up 10%. The DOW is down a somnolent 10 points.