Sterling weakens as FTSE heads lower

The pound continued to weaken against the dollar for the fifth day in a row as Brexit concerns weighed on the currency.

However, the pound held its ground against the euro which is facing its own set of problems with mounting concerns over the state of Italy’s economy. 

Normally the weaker pound would have helped some major FTSE companies gain ground but instead the FTSE index weakened amid a general worsening of the market mood with trade concerns and Brexit worries lingering in the background. 

Developers promise good growth despite a slowdown in housing market

A day after shares of property companies were hammered in London they staged a surprising turnaround as two large companies forecast solid profits in the future despite what they called “ a non-functioning housing market.”

Residential property company Barratt Development reached record high profits this financial year as it completed a high number of houses and flats. The firm’s pre-tax profit was up 9.2% and despite an overall slowdown in the UK housing market it is looking comfortably ahead saying it expects to grow by between 3% and 5% in the medium term. 

Similarly its peer Berkeley Group expects to earn pre-tax profit of at least £3.38 billion over five years to 2021, of which £1.58 billion till April 2019. The slowdown in house price growth has not been equally distributed across the UK. Most regions are actually still robust except for London where high transaction costs, multiple limits on mortgage borrowing and Brexit-related economic uncertainty are constraining growth. 

Miners trade lower as metal prices continue to slide 

Mining companies are among the top losers in the FTSE this morning with gold and metal prices continuing their recent trend of declines. 

Anglo American shares have dropped 1.9% while BHP Billiton and Fresnillo are both trading down 1.56%. 

The percolating China-US trade war is keeping metal prices under pressure but the bigger blow to prices is coming from China’s industrial and manufacturing numbers which continue to slide. 

China makes up around a half of the total global metals demand and any slowdown in the country’s economic activity is immediately felt in metals prices. 

Amazon hits $1 trillion 

Amazon, part of the FAANG group of the world’s most successful technology stocks, has become the second company to hit market value of more than $1 trillion.  

Apple managed to breach that record only about a month ago. FAANG companies Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google have been powering ahead and have accounted for a significant portion of rises in US indices. 

Amazon is now comfortably the world largest online retailer and has managed to achieve this in only 24 years since its inception.

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