European shares bounce back

After days of declines the FTSE is back in the black with London miners and insurers leading the pack.

The index is moving very gingerly – up only 0.05% with the recovery hampered by the IMF cutting its growth forecast for the global economy. With the trade wars between China and the US not looking likely to abate any time soon, the IMF is not the only institution cutting its global growth expectations. Though the US-China trade tit-for-tat is currently everybody’s favourite culprit for everything related to global growth, separately from this conflict a number of emerging markets are struggling to maintain their rate of expansion.

Aviva shares perks up as CEO departs

The way Aviva phrased its explanation of its CEO’s surprise departure Tuesday was designed to not give away very much. “It is time for new leadership.” But one criticism that Wilson faced was that during the six years of his leadership at the company a broad restructuring programme failed to achieve results. Granted, this was happening against the background of an overall decline in the UK markets where the broader index fell 6% on the year against Aviva’s 8%. But there were also public relations fiascos like the one earlier this year when the company tried to cancel preference shares at face value rather than the much higher market value. The project initiated during Wilson’s stay at the helm ended up provoking shareholder ire, drawing scrutiny from the Financial Conduct Authority and costing the company £14 million in compensation.

Pound sliding again

Sterling is just about holding its ground against the euro but is sliding against the greenback as a spending survey shows yet more signs of softening consumer spending and more caution ahead of Brexit. After a good summer consumers spent less time and money shopping in September and spending grew at its slowest pace in a year except during the slump last April caused by a shift in Easter dates. It is too early for outright panic because spending is still increasing rather than shrinking, but against the background of a no Brexit deal scenario it is enough to keep the markets on their toes.

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