FTSE lower, but retailers airlines defy trend

Like most European indexes the FTSE started the day on a lower note but it is now working its way towards positive territory on the back of better than expected retail sales news and flight data from airlines.

Like most European indexes the FTSE started the day on a lower note but it is now working its way towards positive territory on the back of better than expected retail sales news and flight data from airlines. 

Next and airlines surprise with December data
British retailer Next is the first high street name to update the market on its Christmas sales and the figures are proving significantly better than expected both in shops and online. The increase in the three-week run-up to Christmas seems to be making up for a slowdown in sales in November. 

Overall UK services sector sales are still not making for a comfortable reading but if Next’s sales are anything to go by there may be a glimmer of hope that despite Brexit some businesses are still able to make progress. Similarly, budget airlines Ryanair and Wizzair reported significant jumps in passenger numbers in December defying gloomy flight number expectations. This is particularly important for Ryanair which has struggled with the fallout of cabin crew strikes in Germany earlier this year.

Apple forecast weighs on Wall Street, Asian markets

Still, the perky European news may not be enough to counterbalance the damage done on Wall Street late Wednesday when Apple cut its holiday sales forecasts based on much lower iPhone sales and pressures in China. As ever with Apple the move was strong enough to ripple across the market and hit other FAANG stocks and shares of major Apple suppliers. Asian markets were not immune to the decline with South Korean and Taiwanese tech shares reacting most violently.  

Another day, another Brexit battle

As the new year gets underway Brexit is back on the top of the UK’s political agenda again as the Prime Minister starts another round of talks with EU leaders. She is seeking to get legally binding assurances on the issue of the Irish border ahead of another Brexit vote in Parliament next week, which, if unsuccessful, may lead to the postponing of the Brexit deadline from March to late June. The currency markets are chewing on all the possible outcomes but as they are not back to full volume of trade yet the pound reacted with slight declines against both the dollar and the euro.

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