Market Update – 13 Apr 2021

Well it was a bit of a lost weekend for me after my vaccination last week, I feel as though I’ve been in a fog for a few days but much rather that than catching Covid so well worth it and I’m now back to full fitness now and raring to go.  Carol had her vaccination at the same time but obviously my reaction was much worse!

In the Scoon household wee Megan has been headhunted and will start a new job next month with ActivPayroll, well done Megan – makes your decision to do your exams even cleverer!!

The sun is shining in Edinburgh today and the First Minister has today brought forward her covid announcement that will see some of the current restrictions in Scotland release slightly earlier than planned which is welcome news.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said measures were being eased earlier than planned to help people’s mental health.  People will be allowed to meet in groups of up to six adults from six households in outdoor settings and  they will be permitted to travel across Scotland to do so, as long as they do not stay overnight.

Other restrictions are expected to be eased from 26 April – with shops, pubs and restaurants likely to reopen on a restricted basis.

Restrictions on travel from Scotland to other parts of the UK are also expected to be lifted from 26 April.

And Ms Sturgeon said people should be able to meet indoors again in small groups from the middle of May.

However she warned that “we do still need to be cautious” to keep case numbers down and to prevent new variants of the virus from being imported.

In the markets today the FTSE 100 fell on first thing this morning dragged lower by losses in export-oriented stocks and energy firms, while Babcock International surged on its proposed restructuring plans.

Shares of the British engineer jumped 25.1% to the top of FTSE 250 index after it unveiled a restructuring plan that included divesting certain businesses. JP Morgan upgraded the stock to “overweight’.

The wider oil and gas index slipped 1%, with heavyweights BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc being among the biggest losers.

Official data showed Britain’s economy grew by smaller-than-expected 0.4% in February from January. The gross domestic product in January, down by 2.2% compared with an initial reading of a fall of 2.9%, was not as severe as previously estimated.

“We doubt this GDP data will change the view of market participants. After strong gains over the last 12 months, in anticipation of economic recovery, the FTSE 100 has lost ground over recent days, perhaps starting a phase of consolidation,” said Paul Jackson, global head of asset allocation research at Invesco.

“More important to the future direction of UK stocks, in our opinion, will be the extent of the economic rebound during Q2 and the path of the pandemic in the rest of the world.”

The FTSE 100 has risen 6.5% so far this year as huge vaccine rollouts and government stimulus helped boost optimism about a faster economic rebound. But a recent surge in COVID-19 cases globally and elevated yield levels have kept gains limited.

European markets moved higher today as the on FTSE lags behind.

The CAC 40 in Paris and the DAX in Frankfurt were both up 0.3% just before lunchtime . Spain’s IBEX was up 0.1% and Italy’s FTSE MIB  was 0.6% higher.

It’s a quiet atmosphere that persists across stock markets, as equities consolidate their gains ahead of the all-important US earnings season, which kicks off tomorrow with the big banks providing plenty of insight into the US economy.

Taking of the US, US futures were quiet ahead of inflation data later today. S&P 500 futures and Dow Jones futures were flat, while Nasdaq futures were down 0.1%.

Inflation has emerged as a key focal point for markets given the debates surrounding inflation and its implications for monetary policy moving forward, indeed part of the reason that markets have brought forward their expectations for Fed rate hikes is based around rising inflation expectations that they think the Fed might have to rein in.

So yet again all eyes are on the US for insight into market movements.

Stay safe