I must confess to be scratching the back of my head in bemusement! Why equities should bounce out of the traps on the back of relatively dovish comment from the FED accompanying the 25 basis point hike in the FED rate escapes me. In fact if we think about it a rate hike was not really necessary. Even the fact that HM The Queen had signed the BREXIT document failed to have a negative effect on equities. The EU heavyweights will be delighted that Dutch PM Mark Rutte saw off Wilders and will take heart that this news could damage Mme Le Pen’s prospects in April/May – probably, but France is France. Le Pen spoke to Nigel Farage on LBC for an hour last night. Interesting to note that the only banks she could get to lend her money for her campaign were Russian! The establishment really have closed ranks in France. Could it have an adverse effect on voters?
Anyway punters and investors were off to the races! The FTSE 100 leapt like the proverbial grilse at the opening initially adding 50 points. Mining stocks lead the charge – Anglo American +8%, Glencore +4% and Rio +4%. Vodafone on loose gossip that Liberty Media was sniffing around the mobile operator saw its stock rise by 2%. Banks were somnolent.
Of those companies that posted numbers today, Sainsbury eased by 1.3%. Argos posted good sales +4.3% but food disappointing -0.5%. Balfour Beatty saw profit takers – -4%. OneSavings initially added 4% on good numbers but as I write the shares have fallen by 2% – again profit taking. I, personally, have a serious dose of the ‘pip’ at the Culture Secretary’s decision to refer 21st Century’s £11.5 billion bid for SKY. The Murdoch Empire has been a brilliant investor in TV in this country creating thousands of jobs. Why mealy-mouthed politicians want to put their hob-nailed boots in to this issue? I have no idea. This deal has NOW’T to do with newspaper hacking. SKY shares are up 0.25%. The FTSE at 4.24am 40 points at 7410. Activity in DOW related stocks has been sepulchral – down 10 points.