UK 100 equity research

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UK 100 Equity Research

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Breakfast Today

  • 28 Apr 17

US stocks largely trod water on Thursday, with advances in technology and pharma shares being offset by losses in the energy sector. Only the NASDAQ made a reasonable gain, achieving another record high having been boosted by pleasing results from a number of its tech-related issues. PayPal Holdings shares, for example, climbed 6.2% after the company reported strong first-quarter revenue and usage growth and said it plans to buy back as much as US$5 billion worth of its own stock. Comcast and Intuit also put in good gains while Bristol-Myers moved to the upside after results topped expectations. A continued sell-down of oil futures, however, took the wind out of the market's sails, with the S&P500 sector posting as much as a 1.9% loss while WTI Crude prices dropped 2.7% on continuing oversupply concerns. First-time claims for US unemployment benefits also unexpectedly increased in the week ended April 22nd, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday, which will ensure that next Friday's scheduled release of the more closely watched monthly employment report for April will be very carefully scrutinised. Government bonds ticked marginally higher, with the yield on the 10-year US Treasury falling to below 2.3%, from 2.312% Wednesday. Sentiment during this morning's Asian trade was largely dominated by Trump's threat to pull the US out of the North American Free Trade Agreement and his continuing war of words with North Korea's Kim Jong-un, resulting is a fairly broad regional sell-off. The Nikkei led these despite a softer Yen, as traders wound down activity ahead of the Golden Week holiday. South Korea's benchmark Kospi, however, pared gains after having touched a fresh six-year high early in the session, as a result of comments from the US President that he might renegotiate or terminate a trade pact with the country, which he described as a 'horrible deal'. Investors also appeared to emerge somewhat perplexed from Mario Draghi, the ECB President's press conference on Thursday. Noting that the recovery was 'solid and broad', that EU PMI was now at its highest since 2011 and that deflation risk had 'virtually disappeared', his unwillingness to steer regarding future direction on future monetary policy, was considered something of a contradiction. This could possibly have been due to reluctance to move before second-round voting for the French Presidential Election completes, leading some to concluded that there was enough optimism to anticipate the beginning of material change with the June meeting. The net result, however, was for the STOXX Europe 600 to close rather in a deflated mood, although the FTSE-100 fell even more, partly due to its heavy weighting in Energy-related shares, partly because ex-dividends stripped points from the index, partly because a dovish ECB sparked Sterling higher and also because of the warning shot from Chancellor Angela Merkel suggesting that Britain must drop any "illusions" it has about negotiating on other issues before it settles its financial commitments to the EU. Tough Brexit negotiations could be coming back on the agenda. Meanwhile, there is quite a lot of UK macro data due for release today, including Nationwide House Prices, BBA Mortgage Approvals for March, Q1 GDP preliminaries and February's Index of Services. The EU also provides M3 Money Supply for March, together with April Consumer Prices, while the US offers its own Q1 GDP, its Employment Cost and Personal Consumption Expenditures Indexes, followed by the Chicago Purchasing Managers numbers and Baker Hughes US Rig Count. FOMC Member, Lael Brainard is also due to make a speech. UK corporates due to release earnings or trading updates include Barclays (BARC.L), RBS (RBS.L), Hastings Group (HSTG.L), EMIS Group (EMIS.L) and Rotork (ROR.L). London equities are seen opening modestly higher this morning, with the FTSE-100 up between 5 and 10 points in early trade despite the GfK Consumer Confidence survey released late yesterday indicating a slight softening during April.

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