European Markets Set to Move Higher

The FTSE 100 opened almost unchanged on Wednesday, down 0.1% at 7,026,95, despite the three US indices closing higher Tuesday as US tech stocks recovered from losses on Monday. European markets are set to move higher this morning ahead of the release of EU unemployment data.

The FTSE 100 opened almost unchanged on Wednesday, down 0.1% at 7,026,95, despite the three US indices closing higher Tuesday as US tech stocks recovered from losses on Monday. European markets are set to move higher this morning ahead of the release of EU unemployment data.

The Dow Jones closed 1.65% higher at 24,033 and more importantly the S&P 500 moved back up above a key technical level to close 1.26% at 2,614.

Asian trading was mixed with the Nikkei a touch higher, up 0.13% at 21,378, but all the Chinese indexes closed lower after domestic economic data showed that China's private sector grew at the slowest pace in four months in March. The Caixin composite Purchasing Managers' Index for services and manufacturing fell to 51.8 in March from 53.3 in February. A figure above 50 still indicates growth.

The Trump administration pushed ahead with plans to block imports from China and published a detailed list of goods across a range of industries including medicine, semiconductors, chemicals and equipment worth around $50 billion on which it will impose a 25% import tariff unless China agrees to several major trade and investment concessions. US companies have until May 22 to comment on the tariffs.

The pound traded at $1.4076, up 0.19 cents ahead of the release of UK Construction PMI data at 9.30 BST Wednesday while the 10-year gilt yield traded at 1.359%. Brent crude notched 22 cents lower to $67.91 a barrel.

WPP share drop in the wake of personal misconduct claims

Shares in WPP fell 2% in early trading after the PR and advertising company said that it had appointed an outside counsel to investigate allegations of personal misconduct against its chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell. Sorrell has rejected the allegations which relate to an alleged improper use of company funds.

Topps Tiles quarterly sales drop on cold weather

Topps Tiles reported a slowdown in sales in the last quarter of 2.2% because of cold weather and snow in late February and March and because of an earlier Easter. This in addition to a softer underlying market reduced second-quarter like-for-like sales growth by 1.6%. For the 26 weeks ended March 31, Topps Tiles' revenue increased 2.6% to £109.4 million from £106.6 million in the same period a year earlier. Like-for-like sales grew 0.6% in the period. The company is keeping a cautious view of market conditions until the end of the year.

Low cost airlines report increase in traffic numbers

Low cost airlines Wizz Air and Ryanair reported an increase in traffic numbers in March, Wizz Air by 26% and the Irish operator by 6%. Wizz Air, which covers destinations in Eastern Europe said that passenger numbers rose to 2.5m in March from just under 2m in the same month last year and that the load factor, which gauges how full the planes are, rose to 91.5% from 90.4%. For Ryanair the load factor increased to 95% from 94%.

Spotify

Spotify successfully listed on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday. The company took an unusual approach to the listing, allowing early stage investors to offload their shares rather than creating new shares. This made it initially difficult to determine what the likely opening price would be. Shares started trading at $165 but dropped eventually to $149 by the close of trading in the US. This still leaves the company with a valuation of approximately $26 billion. Spotify investors say that this is well north of earlier valuations based on private transactions.


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