|Day's Range||1.181 - 1.184|
|52 Week Range||1.0639 - 1.2078|
Strong employment numbers weaken the case for an interest-rate cut when the U.K. central bank’s rate-setting committee meets next week on the eve of Brexit
U.K. employment grew by 208,000 in the three months to November as the unemployment rate stayed at 3.8%, the Office for National Statistics reported Tuesday. Average weekly earnings stayed at 3.2%, and the claimant count for December edged up to 3.5% from 3.4%. The British pound rose after the publication of the data, with sterling rising to $1.3028 versus Monday's close of $1.3009.
U.K. GDP in the three months to November edged up 0.1%, the Office for National Statistics said Monday, which is lower than the upwardly revised 0.2% growth in the three months ending October. In November alone, GDP shrank 0.3%.
The British pound was lower following a speech from Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney, in which he said there was the equivalent of 250 basis points worth of cuts the central bank could make if needed through traditional cuts as well as quantitative easing and forward guidance. The pound traded at $1.3038 from $1.3096 on Wednesday. Earlier in the week, Carney gave an interview in which he warned central banks were running out of ammunition.
U.S. stocks fluctuated between gains and losses as investors struggled to square up terms of a phase one trade deal as described separately by Chinese and U.S. officials. The Dow swung between an as much as 158 point gain and 60 point loss during Friday’s session.
The British pound lost steam on Friday morning after topping $1.35 in the aftermath of the commanding Conservative victory in the general election. The pound fell back to $1.3370 from as high as $1.3515, though that's still far above the $1.3164 level from Thursday. The pound retreated to 1.1970 euros from 1.2082 euros, though that's above the 1.1826 euros level from Thursday.
Tom Stevenson, investment director of Fidelity International, said Prime Minister Boris Johnson is now "unworried by the Brexiteer wing" after the commanding Conservative victory in the general election. "The pound reacted so positively to the expected big Conservative majority because it raises the chances of a closer alignment with Europe in the long run," he said. "Unworried by the Brexiteer wing of his party, Mr Johnson has more freedom to conduct the forthcoming trade negotiations as he chooses. It is not clear yet whether freedom from the Brexiteer wing of the party will see the PM pursue a hard Brexit or tack back to the centre ground and greater alignment with the EU."
Goldman Sachs strategists reiterated a call on Friday to go long U.K. domestic stocks, particularly homebuilders and domestic banks. "Clarity on the UK's terms of exit from the EU should unlock pent-up business investment; the reversal of a decade of fiscal consolidation should provide a fillip to domestic demand; and a pick-up in global growth should underpin a recovery in net exports," said analysts Zach Pandl, Sharon Bell and George Cole. They estimated that each additional 1 percentage point increase in U.K. GDP growth would add to earnings per share growth about 3 percentage points to FTSE 100 , 5 percentage points to FTSE 250 and 11 percentage points to domestically-oriented U.K. stocks.
An economist said the Conservative victory in the general election will give the British economy some "breathing space" to recover after not growing at all in the three months to October. "Business confidence should recover, now that a no-deal Brexit isn't a risk in January 2020 and the outlook for domestic policy over the next five years is relatively clear," said Samuel Tombs, chief U.K. economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. "Many firms will be able to invest, knowing that corporation tax likely won't rise, wages won't increase rapidly and Labour's socialist agenda will not be implemented soon." The rise in sterling should help keep CPI below the Bank of England's 2% target, he added.
Domestic-oriented, U.K. midcaps surged in early action Friday after the Conservatives secured a decisive general election victory, but top British stocks were largely left behind. The midcap FTSE 250 jumped 4% while the large-cap FTSE 100 added just 0.5%, as the surge in sterling weighed on big U.K.-based multinationals who generate the bulk of their revenue outside of the country. Big gainers in the FTSE 250 included Travis Perkins , up 19%, and Virgin Money UK , up 18%.
Deutsche Bank advised clients not to chase the British pound after sterling's massive gains overnight after the Conservatives secured a majority in Parliament. "We would be cautious in chasing any move higher in the pound, however, and remain neutral. The next focus will be the government's policy on the UK and EU future economic relationship, a budget early next year, and the Bank of England's monetary policy meeting next week," the bank said.
Equity strategists at Citi said the U.K. election result "is probably as good as it gets." The bank said the FTSE 250 could rally even more than the FTSE 100 given its higher exposure to the domestic economy. Citi has an 8,100 target on the FTSE 100 for the end of 2020. That said, the bank says it remains concerns about the implications of Brexit for the U.K. economy and is forecasting a mild recession in 2021. The bank also expects more debt-financed M&A and share buybacks as the U.K. cost of equity, at 8.2%, is far higher than the cost of debt, at 2.5%.
It may seem as if the U.K. has been mired in political turmoil forever, but the deadlock over Brexit and the country’s future may just be broken this week when the public goes to polls.
U.K. GDP was flat in the three months ending October, the Office for National Statistics said Tuesday. There were increases across the services sector, offset by falls in manufacturing with factories continuing the weak performance seen since April, the statistics agency said. The ONS also reported a 1.3% drop in industrial production in the 12 months ending October, and a 2.1% drop in construction output in the 12 months ending October. The British pound was at $1.3152 vs. $1.3143 on Monday.
The Conservative Party lead over the Labour Party has narrowed to 6 percentage points for the Dec. 12 general election in the U.K., according to the latest ICM poll published by Reuters. The Conservatives, led by Boris Johnson, stayed at 42%, while Labour moved up 1 point to 36%. The general rule of thumb is that a 7-point margin of victory is needed to avoid a hung Parliament. The pound traded at $1.3151, from $1.3138 on Sunday.
The British pound has been on a roll of late, climbing against both the dollar and the euro on expectations the Conservatives will secure a majority in the Dec. 12 general election.
Investing.com -- The pound hit its highest level against the euro in over two years on Wednesday on increasing confidence that the general election on Dec. 12th will return the Conservative Party to power with a healthy majority. It also hit a six-month high against the dollar
The flash reading of the IHS Markit/CIPS flash U.K. services purchasing managers index fell to a 40-month low in November of 48.6, from 50 in October. The manufacturing PMI meanwhile slipped to a two-month low of 48.3 versus 49.6 in October. "The weak survey data puts the economy on course for a 0.2% drop in GDP in the fourth quarter, and also pushes the PMI further into territory that would normally be associated with the Bank of England adding more stimulus to the economy," said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit. "While Brexit issues such as stock-building and car factory closures have led to volatile GDP data so far this year, making monetary policymaking especially difficult and encouraging the Bank of England to sit on its hands until the fog clears, the PMI surveys are not only warning that the underlying trend in the economy is deteriorating markedly, but also that the labour market is cooling."
Investing.com -- Saudi Arabia bows to the inevitable and scales down the Aramco IPO - but it could still be the world's biggest ever. Hong Kong's stock market defies the most violent clashes yet between police and students. HP rejects Xerox's bid, and sterling surges after weekend opinion polls show Boris Johnson's Conservatives on track to win a majority in parliament and break the Brexit deadlock. Here's what you need to know in financial markets on Monday, 18th November.
The U.K. unemployment rate in the three months to September edged down to 3.8%, while employment fell by 58,000, the Office for National Statistics said. Average weekly earnings slowed to 3.6% from 3.8%. Jobless claims rose 33,000 in October. Economists polled by FactSet expected a 3.9% unemployment rate, a 22,500 rise in claims and 3.8% growth in earnings.
U.K. GDP grew 0.3% in the third quarter, the Office for National Statistics said Monday. The year-over-year growth of 1% was the slowest since the first quarter of 2010. Economists polled by FactSet expected 0.4% quarterly growth. The British pound traded at $1.2799 after the GDP data release.
Two members of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee voted for an interest-rate cut, the central bank said Thursday. The Bank of England, in deciding to keep rates at 0.75% by a 7-to-2 margin, said it will "monitor closely the responses of companies and households to Brexit developments as well as the prospects for a recovery in global growth. If global growth fails to stabilise or if Brexit uncertainties remain entrenched, monetary policy may need to reinforce the expected recovery in UK GDP growth and inflation." The pound fell to $1.2828 immediately after the decision.