FTSE 100 erases almost all gains as Wall Street to open higher

  • FTSE rises 12 points, or 0.17%
  • Potential bullish play for cyclical stocks forming
  • Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC the day’s top performer

5:00 pm: FTSE 100 ends higher as investors eye value stocks

The FTSE 100 closed higher Monday as value stocks came back into focus ahead of a pending infrastructure vote in the US Congress.

At the close, the UK blue-chip index increased 12 points, or 0.17%, to hit 7,063.

European markets are enjoying a positive start to the week as investors traders remain optimistic about recovery prospects and a potential bullish play for cyclical stocks, said Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at online trading group IG.

“US tech dominance has helped drive major outperformance for the Nasdaq over the course of this pandemic, yet we are starting to see that unravel as the Fed moves towards a new tightening cycle. Concerns over the possibility that tech stocks have been pumped up by easy money brings a potential shift towards pro-cyclical laggard which often rise as yields improve,” he said.

“The surge in US Treasury yields seen over the course of the past week highlight the shift in focus towards value stocks, with the likes of the FTSE 350 and small-cap stocks expected to provide relative outperformance as a result. It is somewhat unsurprising to see the financial sector perform well, with stubborn elevated inflation expected to see the Fed raise rates next year.”

The top gainer was Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC, which increased by 11.3% to 147.48p.

3.30pm: Aldi plans GBP1.3bn investment in UK operations

The FTSE 100 held its gains before close and was up 16 points to 7,068.

German supermarket chain Aldi plans to invest GBP1.3bn in the UK over the next two years as it continues its effort to nab market share from Britain’s biggest supermarkets.

The discounter will open 100 new stores across the UK and expand its logistics infrastructure, including a new 1.3mln square foot site in Leicestershire.

Aldi said it will create 2,000 new jobs next year, adding to the 7,000 permanent roles already created over the past two years.

The investment announcement accompanied a trading update which revealed sales growth of 10.2% to GBP13.5bn in the UK and Ireland in 2020.

Pre-tax profit dropped by 2.5% to GBP264.8mln, dampened by continued investment in price and the cost of responding to the pandemic.

2.55pm: US indices see mixed open

The FTSE 100 was on the rise shortly after the opening bell at Wall Street.

London’s leading index surged 13 points to 7,065 but its US counterparts saw a mixed start to the week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added over 122 at 34,920, while the S&P 500 dropped 15 points at 4,440.

The tech laden Nasdaq dropped over 154 at 14,893 as the Likes of Nike and Apple dropped.

In the US, the 10-year Treasury yield increased, briefly to more than 1.5% on Monday – the highest level since June this year and up from 1.30% at the end of August.

In August orders for durable goods rose 1.8%, boosted by a rebound in the civilian aircraft, while business investment also rose, according to official data. Economists has expected a 0.6% increase.

“Behind the headlines, the sectoral orders data are so noisy that it’s hard to extract any signal month-to-month, but the big picture here is that orders continue to increase, though the rate of growth has slowed from the frenetic pace seen during the rebound from the first Covid hit,” economists at Pantheon Macroeconomics said.

“The continued upward trend in core capital goods orders is consistent with our view that robust productivity growth over the next year, at least, is a decent bet. That would hold down core inflation, by suppressing the rate of growth of unit labor costs. In time, sustained strong productivity growth would start to push up estimates of r-star, the real neutral fed funds rate.”

2pm: Grant Thornton fined GBP2.3mln for Patisserie Valerie audit failings

The FTSE 100 yo-yoed back in the green in the early afternoon, even though by just 1 point to 7,053.

Grant Thornton and its director of audit, David Newstead, have been fined a combined GBP2.3mln due to failings in the audits of Patisserie Holdings (AIM:CAKE), the owner of Patisserie Valerie.

“This Decision Notice sets out numerous breaches of Relevant Requirements across three separate audit years, evidencing a serious lack of competence in conducting the audit work,” said Claudia Mortimore, Deputy Executive Counsel to the Financial Reporting Council (FRC).

“The audit of Patisserie Holdings (AIM:CAKE) Plc’s revenue and cash in particular involved missed red flags, a failure to obtain sufficient audit evidence and a failure to stand back and question information provided by management.”

“As a result of this investigation, GT has taken remedial actions to improve its processes and to prevent a recurrence of these types of breaches. The package of financial and non-financial sanctions should also help to improve the quality of future audits.”

1.05pm: Bitcoin claws back weekend losses

The Footsie turned red at lunchtime and was down 5 points to 7,045.

Bitcoin is back to changing hands at US$43,750 as it managed to claw back some of the weekend losses.

The cryptocurrency lost nearly US$5,000 following last Friday’s news that China would once again ban crypto, but most coins have now recovered.

Ethereum is back above US$3,000, and most altcoins are back in the green.

“Many have criticised the dip last week as FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) since China has already banned cryptocurrency many times before. This kind of news usually causes a short-term pullback in the market but doesn’t really impact the fundamentals in the mid to long run,” said Jonas Luethy at the UK based digital asset broker GlobalBlock.

12.10pm: Wall Street to open higher

The FTSE 100 erased almost all gains at noon and was up a mere 2 points to 7,054.

US blue-chips looked set for a positive start of a new week as oil prices hit their highest levels in nearly three years, as fears about Chinese property giant Evergrande Group’s debt problems waned.

Futures for the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.3%, while those for the broader S&P 500 index added 0.1%, although Nasdaq-100 futures fell 0.2%.

Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, a global leader in online trading commented: “China worries seem to have evaporated, or at least have dimmed in importance, and with the US once again talking about an infrastructure bill we seem to have a welcome return to some of the old themes that proved so fruitful for equity markets in the first half of the year.”

“US futures point towards a better start to the week too, as the clouds that dogged markets last week disappear to be replaced by a new wave of optimism,” he added.

Stocks were volatile last week as Evergrande’s debt problems weighed on markets, but Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell helped boost confidence when he said the US economy has recovered sufficiently for the central bank to potentially announce the start of bond-purchase tapering at its next meeting.

Investors will eye data on US durable goods orders for August, due at 8.30am ET on Monday, with economists expecting an increase, as business investment and consumer spending strengthens.

Oil prices advanced as supply constraints around the world continued to have an impact and the rally in natural gas prices also continued, with Brent crude hitting its highest level since October 2018.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin rose, recovering some ground lost after a steep decline prompted by the Chinese government outlawing cryptocurrency transactions.

Among equities, special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Gores Guggenheim surged after The Wall Street Journal reported that it was nearing a $21 billion deal to merge with Swedish electric-vehicle maker Polestar.

11.05am: Oil price reaches three-year high

The Footsie held its gains in late morning, up 20 points to 7,072.

The price of Brent has gone up 1.2% to US$79 per barrel on Monday morning, the highest level since October 2018.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) reckon it will go up to US$90 by the end of the year, as the global oil supply-demand deficit is larger than expected and the recovery from the Delta variant has been faster than previously thought.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc was up 3% to 1,577.6, back to March 2020 levels, even though it’s still below some highs seen pre-pandemic.

“Fast rising oil prices also mean a further pressure on inflation, and a further pressure on inflation means tighter central bank policies and less support to the economic activity, which, in return, would mean a slower demand. Therefore, the rally should see a limited upside,” commented Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote.

10.05am: boohoo publishes list of international suppliers as part of ethical push

The FTSE 100 trimmed its gains in mid-morning, rising 21 points to 7,073.

boohoo Group PLC added 2% to 263.8p after publishing the list of 1,100 factories outside of the UK it works with.

The fast-fashion retailer is changing its practices after it emerged that workers at its Leicester suppliers were mistreated and paid well below minimum wage in summer 2020.

An independent review suggested 17 recommendations that were split down into 34 objectives, 28 of which have been completed, said the AIM-listed group.

Sir Brian Leveson PC, who is providing independent oversight of the Agenda for Change programme, said this isn’t the “the beginning of the end of the process, but merely the end of the beginning”.

The online retailer is releasing its interims on Thursday.

9am: Rolls Royce buoyed by B-52 deal

Traders were willing to overlook the chaos unfolding around Britain’s fuel stations as they began the trading week in a relatively upbeat mood.

No nasty surprises in China, where the Evergrande collapse appears to be contained, and in Germany, where the elections went off without a hitch, added to the sense of Monday calm.

Both Royal Dutch Shell and BP were near the top of the FTSE 100 risers’ list (they were up 2.3% and 2% respectively) after a surge in the crude oil price to levels not seen for almost three years.

A renewed interest in travel-related stocks lifted IAG 2.8% higher and Wizz Air 3.5%.

Rolls Royce, whose fortunes pivot with those of the airlines, was up 3%; however, the impetus wasn’t from the carriers. It was provided by a US military contract to supply engines for the giant B-52.

Cineworld’s shares advanced 8.3%, excited (apparently) by strong advanced ticket sales for the latest James Bond movie, No Time to Die.

6.50 am: FTSE 100 called higher

The FTSE 100 looks set to make a positive start to proceedings, largely ignoring panic gripping the UK.

With the gas sector in turmoil and the government ready to send in the army to get fuel to filling stations after a weekend of queues, a rather more volatile open might have been expected.

The mild irony is the Footsie’s move higher will likely be prompted by a resurgence in the oil price, which will have an immediate knock impact on Shell and BP, two big benchmark constituents.

Supply constraints have slowly pushed Brent crude to highs not seen for almost three years.

Currently trading just under US$80 a barrel, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) says the price of the black stuff could hit US$90.

What this means for the longer-term outlook for inflation, which, according to central bankers, is expected to be a transitory phenomenon, remains to be seen.

Earlier, Asia’s main markets made a tentative start to the new trading week, taking their cue from the US, which ended with a whimper rather than a roar.

On the issue of Evergrande, the Chinese property giant seemingly headed for imminent collapse, no news appears to be good news, according to Jeffrey Halley, analyst at OANDA.

“Markets seem to be rapidly pricing in Evergrande as a fully controllable outcome that won’t spill over China’s borders into the wider financial universe,” he added.

The ‘no nasty surprises’ mantra seemed to extends to the German elections, where the ruling Christian Democrats lost out to the Social Democrats.

Looking ahead here in the UK, we are expecting updates from Next, Boohoo, Pennon and United Utilities this week.

6.50am: Early Markets – Asia / Australia

Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed on Monday as oil prices surged to a three-year high after global output disruptions forced energy companies to pull large amounts of crude out of inventories.

China Evergrande Group remained a major unknown after the troubled property giant missed a payment on offshore bonds last week, with further payment due this week.

China’s Shanghai Composite slipped 0.98% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.21%

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dipped 0.03% while South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.13%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX200 has had good start to the week’s trading, with the index gaining 0.48% to 7,378.



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