Market Report

23rd October 2018 at 8:27 am

UK and European stocks opened lower as diplomatic tensions in Saudi Arabia, concerns over Italy’s Budget and ongoing Brexit talks all depressed market sentiment.

Asian markets fell across the board in afternoon trade as investors remained cautious amid rising global tensions.

The Japanese yen, a safe haven in uncertain times, firmed against the dollar, as the euro and sterling suffered due to doubts over Italy’s budget spending and over British Prime Minister Theresa May’s future with Brexit talks stalled.

Oil prices dipped after Saudi Arabia pledged to play a “responsible role” in energy markets, although sentiment remained nervous in the run-up to U.S. sanctions against Iran’s crude exports that start next month.

Gold prices edged higher as Asian stocks faltered, weighed down by political tensions between Saudi Arabia and Western powers, uncertainties around Brexit and Italy’s budgetary woes.

In corporate news, Whitbread grew sales 2.6% and underlying pre-tax profits 2.6% in the first half of its financial year as weaker consumer demand hit UK growth of its Premier Inn hotel chain. The £3.9bn sale of its Costa Coffee arm was approved by shareholders earlier this month but directors said the “exact amount, timing and method” of the cash return to investors was yet to be determined.

International distribution and services group Bunzl said third quarter revenue increased by 7% at constant exchange rates due to organic growth of approximately 4% and an impact from acquisitions, net of disposals, of approximately 3%. It added that it was buying Volk do Brasil, a distributor of personal protection equipment based in Parana, Brazil, for an undisclosed sum.

AstraZeneca and its global biologics research and development arm MedImmune announced a new multi-term agreement with Innate Pharma on Tuesday, building on an existing collaboration, and aimed at accelerating each company’s oncology portfolio and bringing new medicines to patients more quickly. The pharmaceuticals giant said the extended collaboration would enrich its immuno-oncology portfolio with pre-clinical and clinical potential new medicines. AstraZeneca said it would obtain full oncology rights to the “first-in-class” humanised anti-NKG2A antibody, ‘monalizumab’, as well as option rights to IPH5201, an antibody targeting CD39, and four preclinical molecules from Innate’s pipeline.

 

Markets

At 08:19
FTSE 100 6,994 (-0.68%)
FTSE 250 18,542 (-1.15%)
DAX 11,353 (-1.48%)

At the close
Dow Jones 25,317 (-0.50%)
S&P 500 2,755 (-0.43%)
NASDAQ 7,468 +0.26%

 

Fixed Income
UK 10-YR YIELD 1.50

 

Exchange Rates
GBP/USD 1.296
GBP/EUR 1.131

 

Commodities
Gold $1,231 +0.76%
Brent $79.230 (-0.91%)