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FTSE 100: Wall Street and European stocks rise as US inflation falls in May

ftse NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 25: People eat at tables on the sidewalk outside Prince St. Pizza on June 25, 2023, in New York City.  (Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)
On an annual basis, US CPI inflation slowed to 3.3%. Wall Street and the FTSE climbed higher on Wednesday. (Gary Hershorn via Getty Images)

Wall Street stocks rose on Wednesday as inflation across America slowed in May. On an annual basis, US CPI inflation slowed to 3.3%, down from 3.4% in the year to April.

Consumer prices were flat, month-on-month, having risen by 0.3% during April. Cheaper gasoline at the pumps helped to ease the cost of living squeeze, while housing costs continued to rise.

The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) and European stocks were also higher on the day despite wet weather affecting UK economic growth in April.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), persistent rain kept consumers from spending and caused growth to flatline during the month. Rainfall in April was 55% higher than average and the wettest April since 2012, with sectors such as retail, construction and pubs all severely impacted.

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Gross domestic product (GDP) was forecasted to have grown by 0.6%, following growth of 0.4% in March. It comes as a blow to prime minister Rishi Sunak, who previously claimed that the British economy had turned a corner.

  • London’s benchmark index was 0.8% higher in afternoon trade.

  • Germany's DAX (^GDAXI) rose 1.4% and the CAC (^FCHI) in Paris headed 1% into the green.

  • The pan-European STOXX 600 (^STOXX) was up 1.1%.

  • Wall Street opened higher amid boosted hopes for interest rate cuts later this year. Markets now fully price a November rate cut.

  • The pound surged against the US dollar (GBPUSD=X), up 0.7% at 1.2840.

  • How to invest in the Indian stock market.

Read more: Trending tickers: Oracle, Apple, Paramount and L&G

Kyle Chapman, FX markets analyst at Ballinger Group comments: "The Fed will breathe a heavy sigh of relief that we are finally beginning to see some progress on the disinflationary trajectory this year.

"The good news is that it is broad-based, and there is good progress on some of the components that were stickier last time around. Shelter inflation refuses to budge, but when the decline in the leading indicators finally filters through, rate cuts should come into clear view."

Follow along for live updates throughout the day:

LIVE COVERAGE IS OVER27 updates
  • Blog close and recap

    Well that's all from us for today — thanks for following along as always. Be sure to join us tomorrow when we will be be for more.

    Here's a quick recap of some of the top stories from today:

    • US inflation falls in May

    • US dollar slides after inflation report

    • UK economy flatlines in April as bad weather hits spending

    • EU to raise tariffs on electric cars from China

    • Oil climbs higher

    • Fedex to axe up to 2,000 jobs across Europe

    • Starling Bank hails third annual profit

  • Labour government could be good for stock market

    Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer during a visit to Whale Hill Primary School in Eston, Middlesbrough where he announced Labour’s plans to ‘tackle the crisis in children's dentistry’ and clear the backlog with 100,000 extra appointments for children. The Labour leader was campaigning in the north east of England with shadow health secretary, Wes Streeting for next month’s General Election on July 4. Picture date: Tuesday June 11, 2024.

    A labour government could be good for the FTSE 100, the managing director at eToro UK said.

    Dan Moczulski, managing director at eToro UK, said:

    The FTSE seems very comfortable with Labour. We’re seeing a clear parallel to 1997, a moderate Labour party unseating a long-standing and divided Conservative government.

    A change of government after years of Tory rule was a stimulant for the UK stock market in 1997 and it looks like it will be again this year.

    It comes as the stock market rallied 17% ahead of the 1997 general election, and after Tony Blair had been elected by a landslide it rose 35% in the following year.

  • Oracle is top S&P 500 riser, up 11%

    Software giant Oracle (ORCL) is the top riser on the S&P 500 in early trading across the pond.

    Shares are up 11% after it announced cloud deals with Google and OpenAI last night, which cheered traders despite fourth-quarter results that missed Wall Street expectations.

    "In Q4 alone, Oracle signed over 30 AI sales contracts totalling more than $12.5bn (£9.8bn), including one with OpenAi to train ChatGPT in Oracle Cloud," CEO Safra Catz said.

    The company also said that it would bring its database to Google's cloud, with availability coming in November. Organisations will be able to deploy workloads in Google and Oracle cloud data centre regions without being subject to data-transfer charges.

    "In Q3 and Q4, Oracle signed the largest sales contracts in our history, driven by enormous demand for training AI large language models in Oracle Cloud," Catz added.

    Despite this, fourth-quarter results in Larry Ellison's company fell short of Wall Street expectations.

    Total revenue grew 3% to $14.29bn. Net income came in at $3.14bn, or $1.11 per share, down from $3.32bn or $1.19 per share in the year-ago quarter.

    In the latest quarter, the company raked in $10.23bn in revenue from cloud services and license support, up 9% from a year before.

    Oracle reported total revenue growth of 6% for fiscal 2024. For FY25, analysts expect 9% growth.

    The company expects first-quarter revenue to grow between 5% and 7%, while analysts estimate a 7.6% rise.

  • How to invest in the Indian stock market

    The volatility India's stock market saw this past week showed just how notoriously bad financial markets are at assessing and pricing political risk accurately. But as shares in Mumbai and Delhi bounce back, is it time for you to invest in the world's fifth-largest economy?

    You wouldn’t be alone. Last year alone, overseas investors bought $21.7bn worth of Indian stocks, accounting for 55% of foreign purchases of equities in Asia, excluding Japan, according to data from HSBC (HSBA.L).

    The benchmark BSE Sensex Index (^BSESN) is up 4% so far this year and the Nifty 50 (^NSEI) has pushed 13% higher in the past six months.

    India is already the world’s most expensive major equity market, with a forward price-to-earnings ratio that is even higher than the technology-heavy US market.

    “At the simplest level, India is both a low-cost manufacturing location and a rapidly developing source of demand. Perhaps, more significantly, India is also home to true centres of innovation in a number of fields,” said analysts at investment bank Bernstein.

    However, with the result of India’s extended election triggering significant market volatility, whether its stock market will continue to outperform is a question on investors’ minds.

    Read the full article here

  • Fedex to axe up to 2,000 jobs across Europe

    Fedex is planning to cut between 1,700 and 2,000 back-office jobs across Europe.

    The parcel delivery firm said the cuts will be carried over an 18-month period as it struggles with weak freight demand.

    It added that it was expecting a pre-tax cost of $250m to $375m related to legal fees and severance benefits.

    FedEx expects the job cuts to help save between $125m and $175m on an annualized basis beginning in fiscal 2027.

  • US dollar slides after inflation report

    The US dollar has fallen against a basket of other currencies today on the back of May’s inflation report which has bolstered hopes of interest rates cuts.

    The Fed is setting rates at 7pm this evening but policymakers are not expected to ease until towards the end of the year.

    The dollar’s weakness has meant that the pound is trading at a three-month high of $1.2857, up more than 0.9%, more than a cent higher.

  • US inflation breakdown

    Here's a breakdown of those US inflation figures:

    • CPI +0%

    • Core +0.2%

    • Food +0.1%

    • ️Energy -2.0%

    • Core gds 0%

    • New cars -0.5%

    • Used cars +0.6%

    • Apparel -0.3%

    • Core svc +0.2%

    • Shelter +0.4%

    • Rent +0.4%

    • OER +0.4%

    • Hotel -0.2%

    • Med +0.3%

    • Air -3.6%

    • Car insur -0.1%

  • US inflation falls in May

    US inflation has slowed to 3.3% in the year to May, having risen by 0.3% during April. This is down from 3.4% in the year to April.

    Cheaper gasoline at the pumps helped to ease the cost of living squeeze, while housing costs continued to rise.

    Today’s US inflation report said:

    "More than offsetting a decline in gasoline, the index for shelter rose in May, up 0.4 percent for the fourth consecutive month. The index for food increased 0.1 percent in May.

    "The food away from home index rose 0.4 percent over the month, while the food at home index was unchanged.

    "The energy index fell 2.0 percent over the month, led by a 3.6-percent decrease in the gasoline index."

    Core inflation, which strips out food and energy, rose 0.2% in May alone, and was 3.4% over the last year – also lower than in April.

  • Paramount shares crash after failed merger talks with Skydance

    Shares in Paramount (PARA) have crashed and continue to dive deeper into the red during pre-market hours after the c behind Paramount Pictures pulled the plug on a proposed multibillion-dollar merger, after months of negotiations.

    Shari Redstone ended talks with Skydance Media over a merger that would have handed control of Paramount from her family to billionaire David Ellison.

    Skydance had offered about $2bn to acquire Redstone's National Amusements (NAI) after which he would merge Paramount into Ellison's company through a stock deal.

    Skydance was also ready to buy out about half of Paramount's common shareholders at $15 a share and inject about $1.5bn to help pay off the company's debt.

    A statement from National Amusements merely noted that the two sides “have not been able to reach mutually acceptable terms” for the deal.

    Paramount has struggled in an evolving media landscape, particularly as its traditional cable business has declined.

  • EU to raise tariffs on electric cars from China

    The European Union has announced it will increase tariffs on electric cars imported from China as a trader war looms

    It will hike the tax on imports from the world’s second-largest economy by as much as 38.1% by 4 July amid concerns that the market is set to be inundated with cheaper imports.

    The European Commission (EC) said the tariffs would be 17.4% for BYD, 20% for Geely and 38.1% for SAIC.

    Other companies cooperating with the investigation would face a tariff of 21% and non-cooperating companies 38.1%

    The move will be applied provisionally from next month in line with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, which give China four weeks to challenge any evidence the EU provides to justify the levies on imported EVs.

    The EU said in a statement today:

    “The provisional findings of the EU anti-subsidy investigation indicate that the entire BEV value chain benefits heavily from unfair subsidies in China, and that the influx of subsidised Chinese imports at artificially low prices therefore presents a threat of clearly foreseeable and imminent injury to EU industry.”

  • Wall Street to open higher amid inflation data

    All eyes will be on the other side of the Atlantic today as traders brace for a crucial US CPI print, widely expected to show decreasing inflationary pressure on a month-on-month basis.

    Pierre Veyret, technical analyst at ActivTrades, said:

    “Even if investors don't expect anything major from the FOMC's rate decision, they will cautiously scrutinise Fed Chairman Powell's wording during his press conference to assess the central bank's projection over the next quarters.”

    “Monetary policies remain the primary market driver for equity traders, and most investors have tamed their dovish expectations over the past few months.”

    “This situation could lead to sharp bullish price action over many benchmarks if today's data were to display a better-than-expected inflationary environment.”

    “The STOXX-50 trades higher, close to the 5,000pts mark, with almost all sectors rising and top performers among financial and basic material shares.”

  • Gold rush grips Asia

    nuggets and gold bullion in studio on white background
    nuggets and gold bullion in studio on white background (Gilles Paire, Panther Media GmbH)

    Demand for gold in Asia surged on Wednesday despite prices hovering near the record highs. It comes as buyers are snapping up the metal to hedge against geopolitical and economic uncertainty.

    Spot gold is trading a little over $2,300 per ounce, up about 12% year-to-date and only about 6% shy of the record high it hit in May.

    Lower confidence in other investment options, such as real estate and equities, is also a factor behind the demand for gold, according to analysts.

    "When the macro-economic backdrop returns to normal, when real estate and equities are more interesting, I think that price sensitivity will return," Ruth Crowell, chief executive of the London Bullion Market Association, told Reuters.

    In Japan, there are more gold bulls than bears despite record high prices, according to Bruce Ikemizu, chief director of the Japan Bullion Market Association.

  • Payments taken twice from some Co-op bank accounts

    Customers at the Co-operative Bank have been victim to a glitch which meant payments were taken twice from some small business accounts.

    The lender said that "duplicate, historical transactions" had been appearing in some business customers' balances. It apologised for any inconvenience caused and said it was "supporting customers during this period."

    According to its website, Co-op bank has about 3.1 million retail customers and 96,000 small business customers.

    One person on X, formerly Twitter, complained that they were “almost £5k down thanks to this with no resolution in sight”.

    A spokesman for the Co-operative Bank said:

    We are aware there are a small number of SME account holders who have duplicated payments showing in their balances and are in the process of correcting this issue. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and are supporting customers during this period.

  • Starling Bank hails third annual profit

    Starling Bank posted its its third annual profit on Wednesday, boosted by higher interest rates.

    The mobile-only bank saw pre-tax profits rise 54.7% to £301.1m in the year to the end of March, while revenue grew 50.6% to £682.2m.

    The lender, which has 4.2 million customers added that total deposits were up 4% to £11bn.

    However, gross lending slipped to £4.7bn as its role as one of the biggest lenders in the government-backed COVID business recovery program runs down.

  • How to get the best holiday exchange rates

    This week the value of the pound hit 1.18 euros (GBPEUR=X) — its highest point since August 2022. For anyone planning a holiday to the Eurozone, it has raised the question of whether now is a good time to get your holiday money.

    The pound’s gains against the euro came as the European Central Bank cut interest rates. Lower rates in the eurozone make rates in the UK look comparatively attractive to investors, so money has flowed from the eurozone to the UK, pushing the pound up against the euro.

    With the ECB cut largely already reflected in the current exchange rate, if you’re travelling to the eurozone this summer, it might persuade you to exchange at least some of your cash while the pound is riding high.

    Of course, there are no guarantees it won’t rise even higher by the time you travel. Forecasting exchange rate movements is notoriously difficult, and they’re affected by all sorts of unpredictable factors, so the pound could rise again. It means you might not want to take a punt on this being the peak, and exchanging all the cash you need on your break.

    One possible option is to exchange some of it now, and the rest of it closer to the day you travel, to hedge your bets against a fall in the pound between now and then.

    However, it’s important to bear in mind that the best exchange rates for holiday money are available for those who spend on debit and credit cards while they’re away (as long as they’re the ones without additional charges for overseas use).

    Read the full article here

  • Oil climbs higher

    Oil prices climbed higher on Wednesday amid upbeat global demand views from the US Energy Information Administration and OPEC.

    It came as US crude oil inventories fell more than expected last week.

    Brent crude futures rose 50 cents, or 0.6% this morning, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained 62 cents, or 0.8%.

    The IEA raised its 2024 world oil demand growth forecast to 1.10 million barrels per day from a previous estimate of 900,000 bpd, while OPEC maintained its 2024 forecast for relatively strong growth in global oil demand, citing expectations for travel and tourism in the second half.

    IEA executive director Fatih Birol said:

    "As the pandemic rebound loses steam, clean energy transitions advance, and the structure of China’s economy shifts, growth in global oil demand is slowing down and set to reach its peak by 2030.This year, we expect demand to rise by around one million barrels per day.

    "This report’s projections, based on the latest data, show a major supply surplus emerging this decade, suggesting that oil companies may want to make sure their business strategies and plans are prepared for the changes taking place."

  • GameStop raises $2.14bn

    GameStop (GME) said on Tuesday it had completed an "at-the-market" equity offering of its shares to raise roughly $2.14bn in gross proceeds.

    Shares of the video game retailer, which has been at the centre of the meme stock frenzy, rose more 22% yesterday, and is down 5% in pre-market trading.

    It comes just days after meme stock influencer Keith Gill's first livestream in three years, which saw more than 600,000 viewers tune in.

    GameStop said it sold the maximum amount of 75 million shares registered under the program.

    According to Reuters' calculations, the average sales price of each GameStop share came at around $28.50. The company's shares closed at $30.49 after Tuesday's trade.

    The company said it intends to use the proceeds for general corporate purposes, which may include acquisitions and investments.

  • Legal and General announces company shake up

    Legal & General (LGEN.L) slipped 3% in London after it announced a £200m share buyback as it set out plans to restructure the business into three core units and promised to increase shareholder returns.

    "The strategy and targets set out today signal L&G's ambition and commitment to invest to grow our business, and reward our shareholders for their support," said new chief executive Antonio Simoes, who took over from Sir Nigel Wilson in January.

    The company said it intends to return more to shareholders over 2024 to 2027, with 5% dividend growth in 2024 followed by 2% growth per annum, in addition to further share repurchases.

    It also added that a US expansion was on the cards.

  • Rentokil rises on Nelson Peltz stake

    In equity markets, Rentokil (RTO.L) surged to the top of the FTSE 100 (^FTSE) on reports that activist investor Nelson Peltz's Trian Management has taken a significant stake in the pest control company.

    According to sources cited by Bloomberg, the investment firm is now among the top 10 shareholders in Rentokil, which owns Terminix in the US.

    The exact size of Trian's stake and its plans for Rentokil have not been disclosed.

    Shares soared as much as 16% on the back of the news, reaching the highest level in around three months. This gives the company a market capitalisation of about £12bn ($15.3bn).

  • President Macron set to speak today

    Ouradour-Sur-Glane, France. 10 June, 2024. French President Emmanuel Macron visiting the ruins of the village of Oradour-sur-Glane, southwestern France, on June 10 2024. This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Oradour-sur-Glane massacre. On June 10, 1944, just four days after the Allied forces landed on the Normandy coast on D-Day, 643 inhabitants, including 247 children, were massacred in the tranquil village of Oradour-sur-Glane in southwestern France, by German Waffen-SS soldiers belonging to the 2nd SS Panzer Division

    French president Emmanuel Macron is set to speak at a press conference later today, however there have been growing questions about the political landscape his centrist alliance will be facing at the elections.

    On the left, an alliance was formed on Monday night between the Greens, Socialists, Communists and La France Insoumise. But on the right there is still uncertainty, as Éric Ciotti, who leads Les Républicains party, called for an alliance with Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National.

    Jim Reid at Deutsche Bank said:

    Other figures in the party sternly rejected those suggestions, but the historic divisions between the traditional right-wing parties and the RN are becoming increasingly blurred as the latter has come to dominate the right-wing of the political spectrum in France.

    Later in the day, we heard that talks on forming an alliance between RN and the smaller far-right Reconquest party had broken down.

    In terms of the latest polls, an Ifop survey out yesterday had Marine Le Pen’s party on 35%, an alliance of four left-wing parties on 25%, and Macron’s alliance on 18%.

  • DFS issues second profit warning of the year

    DFS sofas shop entrance taken at night. Illuminated and lit up taken from the outside of the store looking in.
    DFS sofas shop entrance taken at night. Illuminated and lit up taken from the outside of the store looking in. (Montacute)

    Furniture retailer DFS has warned on profits yet again thanks to weak demand and higher shipping costs due to Red Sea disruption.

    It now expects pre-tax profit of between £10m and £12m for FY24, down from previous guidance of £20m to £25m. The company also cautioned there is an additional profit risk of up to £4m if Red Sea shipping delays continue through to its year end date.

    Meanwhile, revenues are now expected to be between £995m and £1bn, down from previous guidance of £1bn to £1.02bn.

    DFS owns 118 shops across the UK.

  • Rachel Reeves says the Conservatives have failed

    Rachel Reeves, Labour’s shadow chancellor, has posted on X that today’s GDP data dents the prime minister’s claim that the economy has turned a corner:

    "Rishi Sunak claims we have turned a corner, but the economy has stalled and there is no growth.

    "These figures expose the damage done after 14 years of Conservative chaos.

    "We are now in the third week of this General Election campaign and in that time the Labour Party has set out its plan to grow the economy by bringing back stability, unlocking private sector investment and reforming our planning system.

    "All the Conservatives are offering is more of the same, with a desperate wish list of unfunded spending promises that will mean £4,800 more on people’s mortgages. Rishi Sunak’s plan is a recipe for five more years of Tory chaos.

    "It’s time for change. The election on July 4 is a chance to vote Labour so we can end the chaos, turn the page and rebuild our economy."

  • TUC: Worst government for growth in modern times

    The commentary is rolling in this morning after ONS figures showed that the UK economy stalled in April. As expected, there is a lot of disappointment.

    TUC general secretary Paul Nowak said:

    “Our economy is slowing yet again. This has been the worst government for growth in modern times – and working people have paid the price.

    “Real wages are still worth less than 2008. Unemployment is rising at the fastest rate in the G7. And economic inactivity is at record levels.

    "The Conservatives can spin all they like. But the last 14 years have been dismal for growth and living standards. They have turned Britain into a stagnation nation.”

  • Wet weather not enough for BoE rate cuts

    Whilst the weather has improved of late, likely boosting May’s reading, the second quarter is off to a slow start and has a lot of catching up to do.

    Lindsay James, investment strategist at Quilter Investors, said:

    “Despite this renewed slowdown, it will likely not be enough for the Bank of England to cut interest rates next week.

    Wage inflation remains elevated and consumer price inflation is expected to tick higher in the coming months, and thus the BoE won’t want to deviate from its strategy just yet.

    “The election campaign has also seen Labour and the Conservatives putting forward proposals to increase economic growth in an incredibly restricted fiscal environment. Given tight public finances, it is unlikely substantial growth will be conjured up without significant additional borrowing, something neither party, nor the bond market, is particularly keen on."

    Money markets are betting there is just a 9% chance of a rate cut next week.

  • UK economy flatlines in April as bad weather hits spending

    The UK economy showed no growth in April, stalling the muted rebound from last year’s recession.

    The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said there was zero growth in April compared to the 0.4% growth recorded during March.

    The economy was unable to maintain momentum after being weighed down by the struggling factory and construction sectors.

    Construction output fell by 1.4% in April 2024, its third consecutive monthly fall, and factories fell by 2.2% in the three months to April 2024. It was also the third consecutive monthly fall for the sector.

    The manufacturing sector also saw production plunge by 1.4%, having been expected to fall by 0.2%.

    Experts blamed a negative impact from wet weather, knocking both retail sales and construction output. Services output grew by 0.2% in April 2024, its fourth consecutive monthly growth.

    Read the full article here

  • Asia and US stocks

    Shares in Asia were mostly lower overnight ahead of a decision by the US Federal Reserve on interest rates.

    The Nikkei (^N225) fell 0.7% on the day in Japan, as higher inflation and falling wages raised questions about how its central bank can navigate away from near-zero interest rates.

    The Bank of Japan is set to issue a policy decision on Friday. In March, it raised its benchmark rate from -0.1% to a range of zero to 0.1%, the first such increase in 17 years.

    The government reported that producer prices rose 2.4% in May, as the yen’s weakness against the US dollar upped costs for imports of fuel and manufacturing components. Meanwhile, real wages fell in April for the 25th month in a row.

    The Hang Seng (^HSI) fell 1.4% in Hong Kong, as the latest inflation data suggested persisting weakness in demand, and the Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) was 0.3% up by the end of the session.

    Across the pond on Wall Street, stocks were subdued ahead of a key inflation report. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) rose 0.3% to 5,375.32, driven largely by gains in tech stocks.

    The tech-heavy Nasdaq (^IXIC) was 0.9% higher, closing at 17,343.55, while the Dow Jones (^DJI) slipped 0.3% to 38,747.42.

    The yield on benchmark 10-year US Treasury bonds dropped to 4.40% from 4.47% late on Monday.

  • Coming up...

    Good morning, and welcome to our markets live blog. As usual we will be covering 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: Brighton Pier, Safestore

    • 7am: UK GDP report for April

    • 7am: UK trade report for April

    • 7am: German CPI inflation report for May

    • 12pm: US MBA Mortgage Applications

    • 1.30pm: US CPI inflation report for May

    • 7pm: US Federal Reserve sets US interest rates

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