Market Update – 23 Feb 2021

So we have a road map for England and the devolved nations will announce their own maps over the next few days, with the First Minister due to announce Scotland’s map later today.

As she mentioned in yesterday’s news it will be a variance on what has already been announced with the watch word being caution, assuming there are no set backs it’s suggested that the timeline is 16 weeks, 21 June 2021 when the lockdown is lifted.

It’s our wedding anniversary on the 20 June so I’ve already told Carol that we won’t be able to go out, nothing I can do I told her the rules need to be followed!   I’ve suggested that we just have a quiet night in for a change!!

As I listened to BoJo make the announcement and he talked about the 17million vaccinations already given and the plans for the rest of the population to be vaccinated I felt a little proud that we were coming out the other end, must be an age thing.

So using the dates mentioned it’s now 16 weeks and counting.   16 weeks to shift the lockdown weight is the first thought to be honest so trainers on and back on the treadmill tonight

The media of course weren’t overly happy with the announcement yet again they were critical of the plans.  Robert Peston, not one of my personal favourites, focused on what hadn’t been said, unhappy at what wasn’t said as opposed to what was.

I’ve said before in previous updates that the media now make the news and don’t report the news, sadly this remains the case but never mind in 16 weeks we won’t be in the house to watch the news (I hope!).

 

The markets needed the shot in the arm as they had endured another rocky ride yesterday.  The signs of reawakening economies around the world raised concerns that a burst of inflation could soon follow.  Shares fell across the board as investors sold off their holdings amid concerns that inflation could rise, particularly in the US where higher-than-expected unemployment rates and output concerns have worried policymakers.

As the US markets opened yesterday, the main S&P 500 benchmark was down 0.7 per cent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell almost 1.2 per cent.

Shares in Europe also faltered over worries that stronger growth in economies could prompt prices to rise, should demand outstrip supply.

Analysts said that this could, in turn, cause central banks and politicians to peel back stimulus programmes that were intended to get economies back onto their feet in the aftermath of the pandemic. “Since investors are anticipators, they are preparing for a potential spike in inflation now,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research.

So even as Boris announced his roadmap for reopening the UK, the London markets are hesistant as traders digest the troubled outlook across the rest of the world.

The FTSE100 ended the day down 11.78 points, or 0.18 per cent, at 6,612.24 points after suffering a much larger dip at the beginning of the day.   A late rally was propelled by hospitality and travel firms, buoyed by more certainty around when consumers would be allowed to move freely and enjoy a night out.

Meanwhile, sterling made gains against the dollar to reach its highest value against the US currency for nearly three years, thanks largely to the UK’s continued success at rolling out Covid-19 vaccines. As the markets closed yesterday afternoon the pound was trading for $1.4076, its highest level since April 2018.

Analysts also predicted that Boris Johnson’s approach to easing the country out of lockdown could have the pound perform even better in the coming weeks.

Ricardo Evangelista, analyst at spread-betting website ActivTrades, said: “If the UK’s roadmap to exit lockdown and reignite its economy proves to be too cautious in the eyes of market operators the pound’s recent galloping performance may start to fizzle out.”

However the public have already acted to the announcement with airlines saying they have already seen a surge in bookings, Boris Johnson said a global travel taskforce would put forward a report on how to return to international travel on 12 April and the government would then make a decision on removing restrictions on international travel. Although this will not happen until 17 May at the earliest.

Tui reported that they had had their best day of bookings in over a month, with strong interest in Greece, Spain and Turkey for the summer.

Thomas Cook said traffic to its website was up over 100% on Monday from 15:00 GMT onwards, with bookings already “flooding in” for countries like Greece, Cyprus, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

EasyJet also reported a 337% surge in flight bookings and a 630% jump in holiday bookings for locations like Alicante, Malaga, Palmo, Faro and Crete. Bookings are strongest in August, followed by July and then September.

“The government’s announcement today is good news for those of us desperate to get away on holiday,” said Thomas Cook’s chief executive Alan French. “While we await more details, it’s clear that the government’s ambition is to open up international travel in the coming months and hopefully in time for the summer holidays.”

So 16 more weeks (we hope) and then normality, good news.

Stay safe