In January, Jaguar said it would temporarily scale back production at its factory in Halewood near Liverpool in the second quarter. The factory builds three Range Rover models and employs around 6,000 people. Britain’s biggest car manufacturer blamed faltering sales after the Brexit vote and a tax crackdown on diesel vehicles.
Here’s our story at the time
Jaguar Land Rover to cut production and 1,000 jobs – ITV
Breaking news: Joel Hills at ITV is tweeting that Jaguar Land Rover will cut production and around 1,000 jobs after a slump in sales. The company is expected to blame Brexit and the slump in demand for diesel vehicles.
Meanwhile, in Italy, the eurozone’s third-largest economy, talks to form a government are still deadlocked. President Sergio Mattarella has declared that there has been “no progress” after a second round of talks with political parties.
JPMorgan Chase posts 35% jump in Q1 profits
JPMorgan Chase, the biggest US bank by assets, has kicked off the US bank reporting season with strong figures. It has posted a 35% jump in first-quarter profits, boosted by higher interest rates on loans and lower taxes.
The bank’s net income rose to $8.7bn or $2.37 a share, in the three months to March from $6.5bn, or $1.65 a share, a year earlier. Analysts had pencilled in $2.28 a share.
Further detail on the comments made by Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov at a press conference this morning, courtesy of Reuters. He said he hoped there would be no repeat of the experience of Libya and Iraq in the Syria conflict, in a veiled warning to US president Donald Trump.
God forbid anything adventurous will be done in Syria following the Libyan and Iraqi experience.
He said even the smallest miscalculation in Syria could lead to new waves of migrants and that ultimatums and threats do not help the dialogue.
More reassuringly, he said Russia and the US are using their channels of communications on Syria.
European stock markets have taken the comments in their stride and are still trading higher, with the exception of the FTSE 100 in London, which remains flat partly due to the strengthening pound. Germany’s Dax is up 0.67% while France’s CAC is 0.3% higher.
On a lighter note, the appointment of Goldman Sachs banker David Schwimmer as the new chief executive of the London Stock Exchange has prompted a lot of Friends jokes.
There are some snaps on Reuters quoting the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov as saying that the atmosphere around Syria is very alarming, and that ultimatums and threats do not help the dialogue. He also said that the channels of communication with the US are being used.
Gold on course for second weekly gain
Gold prices are up for a second week as concerns over the conflict in Syria remain.
While Donald Trump has back-pedalled on the threat of US missile strikes in Syria following last weekend’s chemical attack on civilians, the situation with Syria’s main ally Russia remains tense.
Russia’s deputy prime minister Arkady Dvorkovich said international relations should not depend on the mood of one person when he wakes up in the morning. More on our politics blog.
Gold is seen as a safe haven investment. Spot gold is trading 0.4% higher at $1,340.79 an ounce.
And here are Mahony’s thoughts on China moving to trade deficit in March for the first time in a year.
Chinese trade data has been the big focus for markets after the biggest economy in Asia posted its first dollar-denominated trade deficit in a year. A sizeable downward shift in Chinese exports will certainly provide heightened anxiety over where we go from here, with the threat of a trade war looming large over an economy which is still heavily reliant upon international demand for their products.
Joshua Mahony, market analyst at at online trading firm IG, has taken a closer look at the UK stock market and the pound.
Sterling has hit 10-week highs against the dollar and 11-week highs against the euro, partly related to diverging interest rate expectations for the UK and the eurozone. The Bank of England is widely expected to raise interest rates next month.
The FTSE has continued to underperform its peers this morning, with the index trading in the red despite gains across German, Spanish and French indices. Dovish minutes from the European Central Bank yesterday, coupled with a wider story of dollar weakness has ensured the pound continues to outperform against its main peers.
With the pound hitting a two-month high against the dollar and ten-month high against the euro, it comes as no surprise that the internationally focused FTSE 100 suffers, while the domestically focused FTSE 250 joins its European counterparts in the green.
Eurozone trade surplus rises
In other data just out, the eurozone’s trade surplus increased to €21bn in February from €20.2bn in January. Exports in the 19 countries sharing the euro declined by 2.3% but imports fell more, by 3.1%, month on month, according to the European Union’s statistics office Eurostat.
Inflation picks up in Germany and Spain
The euro is broadly unchanged versus the dollar after final German inflation figures met economists’ expectations. In March, German inflation rose to a 1.6% annual rate from 1.4%. Spanish inflation also increased, to a four-month high of 1.2%, as did French CPI, which was released yesterday. It was confirmed at a 5 1/2 year high of 1.7% in March.
The rise in the cost of living in major eurozone countries points to an increase in demand, which is good for economic growth.
David Maddden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, says:
Stocks are mixed this morning with traders cautious about being overly long going into the weekend. President Trump’s rhetoric in relation to Syria has dialled down and this has removed some of the fear in the market, but as the situation is yet to be resolved, investors aren’t particularly optimistic.
We are expecting the Dow Jones to open up 22 points at 24,505 and we are calling the S&P 500 flat at 2664.
Oil prices heading higher
Oil prices are now heading higher again and are on course for their biggest weekly gain since July.
Brent crude in London is up 0.7% at $72.53 a barrel, taking its gain this week to around 8%. US crude is also trading 0.7% higher, at $67.53 a barrel, and is up nearly 9% this week.
European stock markets rise
European stock markets are rising, with the exception of the FTSE 100 in London, which is flat at 7,252.
- Germany’s Dax up 0.4%
- France’s CAC up 0.2%
- Italy’s FTSE MiB up 0.15%
- Spain’s Ibex up 0.37%
Sterling, dollar strengthen
On currency markets, sterling has extended gains, rising nearly 0.5% above $1.4292 to 10-week highs.
The dollar, for its part, has touched a six-week high against the yen as fears over an imminent US strike in Syria faded and investors anticipated strong US corporate earnings. Banks JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo will report first-quarter results before Wall Street opens today.
The dollar rose 0.3% to 107.620 yen, its highest level since late February.
Paul Donovan, global chief economist at UBS Wealth Management, has sent us his thoughts on trade.
US president Trump suggested that there may not, in fact, be any new tariffs imposed in the Sino-US trade dispute, and that the US might apply to join the TPP. Markets have given cautious welcome to this news. Welcome, because avoiding a trade war is a clear economic positive. Cautious, because market trust in US presidential announcements is, perhaps, a little limited.
Re-joining the TPP could be construed as anti-Chinese. The TPP is a preferential trade deal, meaning that those outside the deal are at a competitive disadvantage to those inside the deal. On the Sino-US trade dispute, the US does seem to be pushing hard for a tweetable “we won” moment. The substance of any deal seems less important.
Donovan noted that China’s trade surplus turned into a deficit in March but said this is “seasonal and temporary”. The eurozone will be publishing its trade figures for February soon.
LSE picks Goldman banker David Schwimmer as CEO
The London Stock Exchange has picked Goldman Sachs banker David Schwimmer as its new chief executive, succeeding Xavier Rolet, who was forced out in November.
The 49-year-old American is due to start at the LSE on 1 August after a 20-year career with the US investment bank, most recently as global head of market structure and global head of metals and mining in the investment banking division. He has also served as chief of staff to Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein, then chief operating officer.
Schwimmer will be paid an annual salary of £775,000 plus a potential bonus of 225% of salary, pro-rated for 2018 as he joins half way through the year. The size of bonus depends on the company’s financial performance.
He will also bank a one-off payment of £1.05m to compensate for the “forfeiture of cash compensation for 2018 from his previous employer” – dubbed a “golden hello”.
Schwimmer is also entitled to a 2018 long-term incentive plan grant of 300% of salary, which will vest based on performance over a three-year period. In addition, he will get a cash allowance of 15% of salary instead of pension and standard UK benefits, as well relocation support including housing allowance.
Frenchman Xavier Rolet stood down as LSE boss in November 2017 after reported boardroom clashes over his management style.
LSE chairman Donald Brydon said about Schwimmer:
He is well known for his robust intellect and partnership approach with clients and colleagues alike.
David Warren, who has been the LSE’s interim chief executive, will stay on as finance chief.
Rolet was chief executive for more than eight years, when the LSE’s stock market value soared from £800bn to almost £15bn. However, the company suffered a severe setback when the planned £21bn merger with Germany’s Deutsche Börse was blocked by the European Commission in March 2017. It was the third botched attempt at a tie-up between the two stock exchange operators.
Trading is lacklustre this morning on European stock markets, but they are near one-month highs. The Stoxx 600 index is on track for its third consecutive week of gains, its longest winning streak since January.
Most of the first-quarter results released by European companies were positive. However British software firm Sage saw its shares plunge 19% after it cut its full-year revenue outlook. It is leading losses on the FTSE 100 index in London.
British aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce is another big faller on the Footsie, with the shares down nearly 2%. It said it needs to ramp up inspections on its problematic Trent 1000 engines, leading to extra disruption for customers and additional costs.
The company is in a the middle of a restructuring led by chief executive Warren East, but its turnaround has been held back by problems with some turbine blades that have worn out faster than expected.
The company said it had decided to increase the number of inspections after coming across a new problem with the compressor on Trent 1000 engines, which are installed on Boeing 787s.
We sincerely regret the disruption this will cause to our customers.
Our team of technical experts and service engineers is working around the clock to ensure we return them to full service as soon as possible.
We will be working closely with Boeing and affected airlines to minimise disruption wherever possible.
The FTSE 100 index is slightly negative, trading down some 6 points at 7251.70, while the FTSE 250 is also down, by 0.2%, or 41 points to 19732.13.
Shopping centre operator Hammerson is the biggest faller on the FTSE 250 index after bigger French rival Klépierre abandoned attempts to buy the company behind Birmingham’s Bullring and Brent Cross in London. Hammerson shares are down 12.7% at 454.1p, while Klépierre rose 4.3%.
Two days ago, Hammerson rejected a revised 635p-a-share proposal from Klépierre, up from its initial offer of 615p a share, to be paid in cash and shares – valuing the company at around £5bn. But Hammerson said the new proposal was only 3% higher and still undervalued its business.
The French company said it was walking away because Hammerson failed to provide “meaningful engagement” after the sweetened proposal this week.
The board of Hammerson did not provide any meaningful engagement with respect to the increased proposal and, after careful consideration, Klépierre has concluded that it does not intend to make an offer for Hammerson.
This means Hammerson can push ahead with its planned £3.4bn acquisition of smaller UK rival Intu to create Britain’s biggest property company worth £21bn. Intu owns the Trafford centre in Manchester. But what do shareholders think?
Oil prices slip but on track for biggest weekly gains since July
Oil prices are slipping after Trump toned down his threat of missile strikes in Syria on Thursday. Brent crude in London is down 0.2% at $71.89 – but is up 7% this week – while US crude has edged down 0.15% at $66.92 a barrel.
Both benchmarks have risen about $5 this week, putting them on track for the biggest weekly gains since July. They hit their highest level since late 2014 on Wednesday after Trump warned “missiles will be coming” in Syria after a chemical attack on civilians and Saudi Arabia said it intercepted missiles from Yemen over Riyadh.
Trump to reconsider joining TPP; China runs up rare trade deficit
Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
As tensions over Syria ease, trade is back in focus today.
US president Donald Trump has held out the prospect of rejoining the Trans Pacific Partnership, a multinational trade pact his government walked away from last year – but only if it offered “substantially better” terms than those provided in previous negotiations.
His comments on Twitter came just hours after he told Republican senators that he had asked US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow to re-open negotiations.
Trump’s comments were greeted with caution in the Asia-Pacific region. Japanese finance minister Taro Aso told reporters after a cabinet meeting, before Trump’s tweet:
If it’s true, I would welcome it.
He added that Trump “is a person who could change temperamentally, so he may say something different the next day”.
New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern also expressed some scepticism.
If the United States, it turns out, do genuinely wish to rejoin, that triggers a whole new process.
The TPP, which has 11 members, was set up to lower trade barriers in the Asia-Pacific region and to counter China’s growing clout. Trump pulled the US out of the pact in early 2017, citing concerns about US jobs.
The news came as new data showed China’s exports unexpectedly fell in March, the first drop since February 2017. The country ran up a rare trade deficit of $4.98bn for the month, also the first since February last year.
Chinese exports dropped 2.7% last month from a year earlier while imports grew 14.4%, more than expected, according to customs data. Analysts had been expecting a surplus of $27.2bn, following February’s surplus of $33.75bn.
The export outlook has been clouded by an escalating trade dispute with the US. China’s trade surplus with the US fell to $15.3bn in March from $21bn in February.
In the first quarter, its trade surplus with the US rose 19.4% from a year earlier to $58.25bn.
US bank earnings will also be in focus today, with JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo reporting first-quarter results.
10.00 BST Eurozone trade for February
12.00 BST JPMorgan Chase Q1 results
13.00 BST Citigroup Q1 results
13.00 BST Wells Fargo Q1 results
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