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Newsround: Apple takes a bite out of global markets

4 January 2019

Tags: Macro Economics

FTSE News  

An overnight profit warning from Apple hit markets across the world on Thursday (3 January) as the consumer electronics giant blamed a weak contribution from China for the worse than expected performance. The FTSE 100 was down 0.6% by the close at 6,692.66, although it fared a bit better than some other global indicies.

After a quiet couple of weeks while politicians (and the rest of us) enjoyed a Christmas break, Brexit is likely to return to focus when the House of Commons resumes sitting on Monday (7 January) (see Economic update). Also on Monday, manufacturing figures from the US could either allay or intensify fears over the health of the US economy. Next Wednesday’s (9 January) minutes from the latest US Federal Reserve meeting may offer further insight into the likely pace of rate increases across the Atlantic. While next Friday (11 January) monthly GDP figures for the UK are out, along with an inflation reading from the US.


Sector in focus

On a quiet week for corporate news in the UK, results on Thursday (3 January) from retail bellwethers Next (NXT) and John Lewis Partnership helped lift some of the gloom around the sector. Both saw a strong end to 2018 after difficult November trading. Traditionally the first major listed retailer to update on Christmas trading, Next said full price sales between Sunday 28 October and Saturday 29 December were up 1.5% year-on-year, bang in line with the guidance given in September. Encouragingly, strong sales in the three weeks prior to Christmas, combined with a good half-term holiday week at the end of October, made up for disappointing sales in a difficult November.

Continuing the long-standing trend, online provided the growth for Next over the peak selling period, with sales shooting up 15.2%. Unsurprisingly, Next’s retail business suffered alongside the rest of the structurally challenged high street, its sales declining by 9.2%. Christmas trading at John Lewis also saw a good late run with gross sales up 4.5% in the week ending 29 December. Updates from Debenhams (DEB) and Marks & Spencer (MKS), widely perceived as being potential losers heading into the Christmas period, will be closely watched when they are published on 10 January.


Economic Update

Sterling may well be volatile next week as MPs return to Parliament (7 January) after the Christmas break with Theresa May’s Brexit deal very much in focus. A vote on the deal is expected in the week commencing the 14 January and the currency markets are likely to respond to any clues which emerge over whether the deal can command enough support and whether there is any risk of the vote being further delayed.


ETF Watch 

Investors can gain exposure to a basket of global corporate bonds through iShares Global Corporate Bond (CRPS). The exchange-traded fund has an ongoing charge of 0.2%.


 Company Announcements

9 January – Full year results from specialist shoe retailer Shoe Zone (SHOE:AIM) may reveal if the firm’s budget footwear offering is chiming with a cost-conscious UK consumer. Recent signs have been positive with an October trading update confirming that Shoe Zone traded particularly well in the second half of the year to 29 September. Pre-tax profit beat expectations by coming in at more than £11 million.    

10 January – This update from leading UK supermarket Tesco (TSCO), encompasses the crucial Christmas trading period, and is therefore likely to be closely watched by the market. Some analysts have suggested a potential benefit for the company from the timing of Christmas, which in falling on a Tuesday gave shoppers ample opportunity to shop the weekend before.


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Writer: Tom Sieber Tags: Macro Economics

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