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FTSE 100 rally holds, Wall Street rises as Tesla leads gains while Europe slips

ftse Tesla CEO Elon Musk and his security detail depart the company’s local office in Washington, U.S. January 27, 2023.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Tesla leading the gains among megacap stocks after boss Elon Musk said the firm would 'accelerate' the launch of cheaper electric cars. The FTSE was was 0.1% lower by the end of the day. (REUTERS / Reuters)

Wall Street took its lead from Europe on Wednesday, with Tesla (TSLA) leading the gains among megacap stocks after boss Elon Musk committed to developing cheaper electric vehicles in its quarterly results.

The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) continued a recent rally thanks to strong corporate updates and a weaker pound. Sentiment was also boosted by hopes of interest rate cuts and easing geopolitical tensions.

Traders will also be looking out for the US crude oil inventory to see where the trend could go for black gold, a market closely watched since the beginning of the conflict in the Middle East and the rising prospect of more sanctions on Iran.


Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor said: “Tesla’s (TSLA) after-hours surge has helped to revive some risk appetite among investors with equities in Asia rallying overnight and European bourses opening higher too."

Follow along for live updates throughout the day:

  • Australia inflation rate slows less than expected

    Australia’s inflation rate slowed less than expected in the March quarter as rents and education costs increased. The data dimmed hopes the cost-of-living crunch was easing and lessened chances of a 2024 interest rate cut.

    The consumer price index for the first three months came in at 3.6%, higher than a year earlier and slowing from the 4.1% annual pace in the December quarter,

    But the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics missed expectations as economists forecast that growth would drop to 3.5%.

    The March quarterly inflation rate was 1%, compared with the 0.6% pace in the December quarter. Economists had tipped it would rise to 0.8%. For March alone, CPI was 3.5%, up from the 3.4% pace recorded for January and February.

    “Having sprinted lower in the back end of 2023, headline inflation is struggling to keep that momentum going,” Harry Murphy Cruise, an economist with Moody’s Analytics, said.

  • Schroders boss to step down

    Peter Harrison is set to step down from the helm of Schroders (SDR.L) after eight years.

    The UK’s biggest asset manager said it expects “an orderly transition during 2025 and Peter will remain as a director of the company throughout this period”.

    The firm, whose founding Schroders family remains its largest shareholder with a 44% stake, has taken on headhunters to conduct a global search find a successor.

    Among potential internal candidates are chief financial officer Richard Oldfield, who joined from PwC in October; the firm’s global chief investment officer, Johanna Kyrklund; its global head of private assets, Georg Wunderlin; and group chief operating officer Meagen Burnett, the Financial Times reported.

    Elizabeth Corley, chair of Schroders, said:

    "The board recognises that in Peter, Schroders has had an outstanding CEO over the past eight years.

    "During his tenure, the business has undergone a remarkable transformation to become a global, diversified active investor across both public and private markets, as well as a leader in UK wealth management, more than doubling assets under management to over £750bn."

  • US durable goods orders lifted by aircraft orders

    US durable goods orders rose 2.6% to $283.4bn in March, slightly higher than expected due to the volatile transport component.

    This reading followed the 0.7% increase, revised from 1.4%) recorded in February.

    There was a 31% rebound in non-defence aircraft orders amid the resumption of orders at Boing, following its latest safety scandal at the start of the year.

    Motor vehicle orders increased by 2.1%, helping to lift overall transport equipment by 7.7%.

    Core orders, excluding transport, edged up just 0.2%, in part due to a 3.9% drop back in orders for computers and related products, following their strength in January and February.

  • Wall Street advances

    US stocks have opened higher, with Tesla (TSLA) leading the gains after it said it would “accelerate the launch of new models… including more affordable models” with production starting next year.

    Tesla shares surged more than 13% in premarket trading, despite a revenue miss for the first quarter of 2024, a steep decline in profits, and a recall of its most recently released car.

    The electric vehicle (EV) maker said on Tuesday it had made $1.13bn (£910m) over the first three months of the year, compared with $2.51bn a year earlier.

  • Best UK mortgage deals of the week

    Average mortgage rates have moved higher compared to last week as future homeowners struggle to find a decent mortgage rate.

    The average rate on a two-year fixed deal this week stood at 5.79, higher than the previous 5.74%, while rates for a five-year deal came in at 5.31%, above last week's 5.24%, according to figures from Uswitch.

    Anxiety has set in among UK mortgage lenders, with rates being hiked left, right and centre, amid uncertainty about how the Bank of England's (BoE) interest rate path will play out.

    This follows the BoE’s decision to leave UK interest rates on hold at their current 16-year high of 5.25% for a fifth consecutive time.

    Read the full article here

  • UK factory orders fall but optimism improves

    UK factory orders fell in April while optimism improved to the highest level since mid-2021.

    According to the Confederation of British Industry’s latest manufacturing survey, output volumes were broadly stable in the three months to April, after strong declines in output in the quarter to March.

    The total new orders balance showed a balance of -6%, compared with -13% in January, but manufacturers expect orders to return to growth in the next three months (+8%). The balance measures the number of those saying orders rose minus those who report falling orders.

    The business sentiment balance rose to 9% from -3% in January.

    Manufacturers expect output to rise over the next three months, with expectations the strongest since October 2023.

    Average cost growth remained high compared to historical norms, while domestic and export price inflation are expected to pick up slightly in the coming months.

  • UK still lagging behind with full-fibre broadband connectivity

    Ofcom has just published its latest Connected Nations report looking into the state of the gigabit broadband rollout.

    The number of homes able to access gigabit-capable broadband has reached a new milestone, with 80% now having faster speeds available.

    An increase in connections of 2% every few months puts the government’s targets of getting availability up 85% by 2025 well within reach.

    However, full-fibre broadband connectivity stands at 62%, lagging behind countries such as France, Germany and the Netherlands.

    Alex Tofts, broadband expert at Broadband Genie said:

    “The elephant in the room is that just because the infrastructure is in place, does not mean that the demand reflects this. There are still barriers to uptake, including cost and confusing language and terminology in advertising campaigns.

    “Headline figures such as 80% of homes being connected to gigabit-capable broadband can be eye-catching, but are misleading and have the potential to confuse consumers into thinking that the broadband they are receiving is the best on the market.

    “The bar for what Ofcom deems to be ‘decent’ broadband at 10Mb is unacceptable for the average household in 2024. With so many devices relying on the internet, as well as the rise of 4K UHD streaming and online gaming means that a connection of just 10Mb is going to leave many households pulling their hair out at these sluggish speeds.

    “Ofcom needs to update the Universal Service Obligation to align it with current and future digital demands."

  • Five essential pieces of paperwork you must never lose

    In an ideal world, we’d all be completely on top of every aspect of our financial admin every second of every day. In the real world, things slide.

    However, if we mislay key documents, it can cause real headaches when we eventually need them, so it’s worth tracking down five of the most commonly-lost bits of paperwork.

    Find out more here

  • Heineken beer sales rise in Q1

    Bottle of Heineken beer on green background
    Bottle of Heineken beer on green background (Alessandro Di Iulio Moreira Quevedo de Oliveira)

    Heineken sold more beer than expected in its first quarter, with volumes rising by an organic 4.7% in the January to March period. This beat the 2.5% growth expected by analysts in a company-provided poll.

    The company also reiterated its forecast for profit growth this year , sending shares higher.

    Heineken said it is now focused on restoring volume growth in 2024, which was affected last year in 2023 as it hiked its prices to offset rising costs.

    CEO Dolf van den Brink said that all regions posted higher volume and net revenue, and that performance was helped by an earlier Easter.

  • Pound slips against dollar

    The pound (GBPUSD=X) is down 0.2% against the dollar today at $1.2436, having risen 0.8% on Tuesday, the most in one day since mid-December. The euro was steady against the pound at 86p.

    Sterling has come under pressure this week, having hit its lowest since November on Monday.

    It comes as the Bank of England’s (BoE) chief economist Huw Pill said that interest rate cuts remain "some way off," adding to the sense that central banks are in no rush to switch to monetary loosening.

    MUFG currency strategist Derek Halpenny said:

    “While we would argue that prospect remains plausible it is also clear that the MPC remains divided and that reaching the required majority to cut rates will be difficult over the coming months.”

  • KPMG hires former prisoners in battle to reduce crime

    KPMG is hiring former prisoners as part of the government’s push to cut reoffending rates, the Telegraph has reported.

    The newspaper said:

    KPMG UK has emerged as the first white-collar business to take on ex-offenders after joining a new scheme led by the Ministry of Justice.

    Underpinning the initiative is a push by the Government to get more companies recruiting former convicts amid an overcrowding crisis at British prisons.

    The professional services giant has already recruited its first group of former prisoners, who have joined a range of positions, including its technology department.

  • Reckitt Benckiser climbs to top of FTSE

    Pictured: Dettol anti-Bacterial spray, a Reckitt Benckiser brand. (Newscast Limited via AP Images)
    Pictured: Dettol anti-Bacterial spray, a Reckitt Benckiser brand. (Newscast Limited via AP Images) (NEWSCAST, Associated Press)

    Reckitt Benckiser (RKT.L) was in favour with investors on Wednesday, rising as much a 5% in London, after it posted a strong trading update.

    First quarter like-for-like net sales were up 1.5%, beating analysts’ expectations for growth of 0.9%. There was strength in its hygiene segment, with revenue growth of 7.1%, thanks to products like Harpic and Vanish. However nutrition suffered a near 10% slide in like-for-like net revenue.

    The consumer goods group said its on track to meet full-year revenue and profit targets.

    Growth for the company was mostly driven by price hikes, but the company said it was now returning to a more balanced mix of growth from price and volume. Some of its strongest brands like Dettol, Durex and Lysol have already seen volume growth in the quarter.

  • Ofcom tells broadcasters to remain impartial ahead of election

    Ofcom has warned broadcasters to maintain due impartiality ahead of the general election later this year.

    It also published new rules on using politicians as presenters after repeated breaches of its guidance.

    Cristina Nicolotti Squires, Ofcom’s broadcasting and media group director, said:

    People are clear that they expect broadcasters to maintain the highest standards of due impartiality. It follows that, given politicians’ partial viewpoint, audiences don’t want to see or listen to politicians presenting news — full stop.

    But while many are instinctively uncomfortable with politicians presenting current affairs, there was no clear consensus for an outright ban.

  • Best UK banks for online and mobile security

    Security weaknesses at some UK banks could leave customers exposed to scammers, a new Which? investigation has found.

    The consumer group tested banking website and app security across four key criteria — login procedures, security best practice, account management and navigation and logout — and these were then amalgamated to give a total score.

    It was not able to test banks’ back-end security systems, but with the data gathered it was able to rate the best and worst firms for keeping customers safe.

    This comes as more Brits are using mobile banking at record levels and as criminals view this as a gateway to people’s personal finances.

    According to UK Finance’s most recent half-year fraud report, losses from mobile banking fraud rose 17% to £18.7m in the first six months of 2023 — the biggest recorded increase since it began collecting data on this fraud type in 2015. The number of cases shot up by 32% to 8,078, also the highest total recorded.

    Which? said on Wednesday that while all firms do use multi-layered security, which helps reduce the likelihood of major security breaches, some firms fell short of the high standards customers should expect.

    Find out where your bank is ranked here

  • Gucci owner Kering slumps after profit warning

    Copenhagen, Denmark /15 April 2024/.Gucci store on stroeget pedestrain street in danish capital. Photo.Francis Joseph Dean/Dean Pictures
    Copenhagen, Denmark /15 April 2024/.Gucci store on stroeget pedestrain street in danish capital. Photo.Francis Joseph Dean/Dean Pictures (IMAGO/Francis Joseph Dean, Imago)

    Shares in Kering (KER.PA) have fallen sharply after it warned first-half profit will drop by between 40% and 45% — a much bigger decline than analysts had expected.

    It reported first quarter like-for-like group sales down 10% to €4.5bn.

    Sales at its key luxury brand Gucci suffered an 18% slide while sales at Yves Saint Laurent, its second biggest label, fell 6% on a like-for-like basis in first three months of the year.

    Smaller brands Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen collectively posted a 6% fall in sales.

    Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor, said:

    "Kering has been struggling with sluggish market conditions particularly in China. But there’s only so much weakness that can be explained away by China – Kering’s shares have sharply underperformed rivals like LVMH and Hermes, both of which have been able to weather the storm much better.

    "Kering’s unique problem is that fickle fashionistas have been shifting their preferences away from its most important brand, Gucci towards other luxury rivals instead and the Paris group is suffering badly as a consequence.

    A series of analysts including Morgan Stanley, RBC, Jefferies and JP Morgan all cut their price targets on the stock today in a worrying sign of diminishing confidence towards the luxury conglomerate.

    Shares in Kering are down almost 20% so far this year.

  • German business sentiment rises in April

    Business sentiment in Germany improved more than expected this month, new data has shown.

    According to the Ifo institute in Munich, the business climate index rose to 89.4 from 87.9 in March, beating analysts’ expectations of a 88.8 reading.

    It said that the economic situation is stabilising, led by service industries.

    Clemens Fuest, Ifo president, said:

    Sentiment has improved at companies in Germany. Companies were more satisfied with their current business. Their expectations also brightened.The economy is stabilizing, especially thanks to service providers.

  • Heathrow urges chancellor to rethink tourist tax

    Bosses at Heathrow airport have urged the chancellor to rethink the “anti-growth” tourist tax in a bid to boost the UK economy.

    Europe’s largest airport said that Jeremy Hunt should reintroduce VAT-free shopping for tourists to inject fresh momentum into Britain.

    It comes as data from Visit Britain showed that spending by overseas visitors was down 10% in real terms in the third quarter of last year, compared to the same period four years earlier, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The airport said:

    “Ministers should rethink anti-growth policies like the “tourist tax” that discourage international visitors from spending in the UK; and unnecessary travel visas for transiting passengers that risk the UK’s global connectivity and Heathrow’s hub status.

    “A supportive policy environment for aviation would deliver a much-needed economic boost by encouraging people to visit, spend and do business here in the UK.”

  • Tesla surges in after-hours trading

    Tesla (TSLA) stock surged in after-hours trading, reversing some of this year’s slide, following its promise of new models.

    Shares in the US electric carmaker are 10% ahead of the opening bell in New York as investors shrugged off a first-quarter revenue miss, a steep decline in profits, and a recall of its most recently released car, the $100,000 Cybertruck.

    Tesla said the production of new models has now been brought forward from late 2025 to later this year.

  • Lloyds sees profits drop by 28%

    Lloyds (LLOY.L) reported a 28% drop in its first quarter profits as the lender was hit by stronger competition in the mortgage market.

    The bank announced a pre-tax profit for the first quarter of £1.6bn ($1.99bn), down from £2.3bn a year ago.

    It came in slightly below forecasts with analysts expecting a quarterly profit of £1.7bn.

    Lloyds said the decline was driven by lower net interest income — the difference between what it generates from loans and pays out for deposits — and higher business costs.

    Net interest margin, a closely-watched measure of profitability, edged down to 2.95% from 2.98% at the end of the fourth quarter and 3.22% a year ago. Underlying net interest income fell 10% to £3.2bn.

    Its margins have narrowed into 2024 amid intense competition for mortgages and deposits, and the expectation that rate-setters will make multiple cuts this year.

    Furthermore, earnings per share decreased by 0.6 pence to 1.7 pence, and the CET1 ratio reached 13.9%. Operating costs jumped 11% to £2.4bn.

    Read the full article here

  • Asia and US stocks

    Stocks in Asia rose overnight after US stocks rallied for a second consecutive day on Tuesday.

    The Nikkei (^N225) surged 2.4% on the day in Japan, while the Hang Seng (^HSI) advanced 2% in Hong Kong. The Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) was 0.8% higher by the end of the session.

    Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index (^AXJO) ended flat after the release of a fifth consecutive quarter of decelerating inflation, with the consumer price index in the first quarter easing to 3.6% from 4.1%.

    Across the pond on Wall Street, stocks rallied for a second straight day, building on the Monday's momentum thanks to a round of strong corporate earnings.

    The S&P 500 (^GSPC) rose 59.95 points to 5,070.55. The Dow Jones (^DJI) gained 263.71 to 38,503.69, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq (^IXIC) jumped 245.33 to 15,696.64.

  • Coming up...

    Good morning, and welcome to our markets live blog. Be sure to follow along to stay updated with what's moving markets and happening across the global economy.

    Here's a quick look at what's on the agenda for today:

    • 7am: Trading updates: Lloyds, HSBC Holdings, Pensionbee, Star Energy

    • 9am: Germany Ifo business climate for April

    • 11am: UK CBI industrial trends survey

    • 12pm: US MBA Mortgage Applications

    • 1.30pm: US Durable goods orders for March

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