Today my emotions have got the better of me – deep sorrow, tears, indignation, anger and resentment. However I am distressed beyond comprehension for the bereaved families. The reaction by equity markets to this barbaric annihilation is very different to what it might have experienced 15 years ago, when an act of barbarism of this nature such as ‘9/11’ or ‘7/7’ could have skimmed 5-10% off the valuation of the FTSE. Today, life goes on and traders and analysts deal with financial and economic facts rather than emotions. It sounds cynical but is not supposed to be. It’s just cold facts. The FTSE 100 is up 10 points at 7505 at 3.10am having been up 20 points at midday – a record! Also the FTSE 250 is up 35 points at 19750 – also a record. The fact that the FTSE 250 is at an all-time record is more significant for me than the performance of the FTSE 250 – why?
The FTSE 250 is a proper barometer of economic activity from a broad range of sectors. Many will recall that post 23rd June last year the FTSE 250 fell out of bed due to unsubstantiated rumours about the damage BREXIT would do. This prognosis has proved to be wrong and ill-conceived. There is plenty of life in the UK economy, with stocks such as Homeserve +12% today, Cranswick +5%, Greencore, NMC, UDG and RPC performing with aplomb. There is plenty more left in the tank. Many senior market luminaries (about 37%) think equities in the senior global indices are over-priced. There is little evidence to support that view in the case of the FTSE 250.
The banks were in good order with RBS up 1% and Barclays and Lloyds both gaining 0.5%. Oil stocks responded to a perky crude oil price of $53 and change for Brent – BP and RD Shell were both up 0.5%. Topps Tiles never got close to pleasing their acolytes – down 4.5%. De La Rue’s show seems to be back on the road. Some analyst felt entertainment shares might suffer as a result of this heinous bombing. I’m not sure about that but Restaurant Group fell 4.5% and Merlin by 0.76%.
The DOW at 3.28pm was up 30 points and the DAX and CAC were 0.2% to the good. Everyone is reeling with sorrow and sadness – hence the rather moribund performance.