FTSE lower on mixed news

A mixed bag of company news with lower production and profit guidance from Fresnillo and JD Wetherspoon, a higher dividend from British Land and expansion plans from Vodafone are pulling the FTSE in different directions but the London gauge is trading overall lower this morning.

A mixed bag of company news with lower production and profit guidance from Fresnillo and JD Wetherspoon, a higher dividend from British Land and expansion plans from Vodafone are pulling the FTSE in different directions but the London gauge is trading overall lower this morning. The worst hit stock is Metro Bank with a 27% decline in shares after the retail bank issued a profit warning for the full financial year.

Oil prices almost flat after Tuesday’s plunge

The accumulation of data showing a slowdown in China’s economy is working its way through the financial markets, affecting in particular technology and the commodities industry. Oil prices dipped nearly 2% on the day yesterday but this morning are trading mostly sideways on fears that China’s slowdown will directly translate into lower demand for black gold. 

Also, although Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed to cut production in December, so far only Saudi has stuck to its end of the deal while Russia continues to drag its heels, claiming it can’t cut production fast. Saudi Arabia removed 800,000 barrels a day and is planning to bring that number up to 1 million by the end of the month while Russia kept production at the same level as in December.  

Pound steadies in Brexit lull

The pound has stabilized since Tuesday evening and is now trading up 0.2% against the dollar and 0.21% against the euro. Brexit tensions are still playing out in the background but neither Theresa May nor Parliament have made any major moves since the start of the week. 

The PM has told ministers that they will have to keep the option of a no-deal Brexit open ahead of a key vote next week designed to rule out a no-deal Brexit at the end of March. 

Whatever politicians may decide next week businesses are continuing to make moves to Brexit-proof their operations. Ferry operator P&O said it plans to register its UK ships under a Cyprus flag before the end of March, Sony is moving its European headquarters to the Netherlands while Dyson is relocating his company’s HQ to Singapore.

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