• Sterling weakens further as Theresa May’s ‘bold offer’ falters, Commons Leader, Andrea Leadson, resigns and Cabinet allies desert the PM amid demands she quits.
  • US major averages soften, giving back some of yesterday’s gains with techs again in focus.
  • Asia markets are falling quite sharply this morning on concerns that the trade dispute may be entering an extended stand-off.
  • Today’s UK financial updates include finals from: Helical, Hummingbird Resources, Mediclinic International, PayPoint, Renewi, TalkTalk Telecom, Tate & Lyle, QinetiQ, United Utilities and Young & Co’s Brewery, interims from AJ Bell, Hollywood Bowl, Mitchells & Butlers and Premier Asset Management, quarterlies from Atalaya Mining and Sabre Insurance Group, with General Meetings due for Acacia Mining, Alliance Pharma, Avast, Aviva, Bakkavor, Coats Group, EnQuest, Essentra, Gocompare.Com, Hastings, Henry Boot, Highland Gold, Ibstock, Inchcape, Intertek, Legal & General, Nucleus Financial, Polypipe, S&U, StatPro Group, SOCO International, Strix and XLMedia.

SVS expects the FTSE 100 to fall around 40 points in this morning’s opening trade. While concerns over the seemingly deepening US-China trade crisis continues to dominate international markets, UK equities are seen pulling back further on Thursday as the Brexit crisis deepens following the resignation of a senior government minister. Yesterday afternoon Federal Reserve Minutes suggested officials remained content with their standstill stance on interest rates at their April 30-May 1 policy meeting, leaving US markets falling for the third day, with chip makers hit by a US federal Judge ruling and compounded fears surrounding Huawei’s blacklisting and Chinese export tariffs. Late trading in Asia is seeing stocks tumbled with semiconductor stocks, tech and telecoms all hit after the UK’s ARM also suspended business with Huawei in response to the US imposition. Yesterday, the FTSE 100 closed up 0.07% yesterday helped by Sterling weakness, while the FTSE250 lost 0.66%. Marks & Spencer Group shares fell 9.4% after it reported disappointing 2019 profits had been hit by restructuring costs and announced details of a £601 million rights issue, originally signalled in February, to fund its JV with online grocer Ocado Group. Royal Mail by contrast jumped +5.0% despite confirming a cut in its dividend to fund investment. As expected, UK’s annual inflation rate rose to 2.1% in April, ahead of the Bank of England’s annual target, from 1.9% in March. European stocks yesterday had a quieter session, with the Stoxx Europe 600 ending down 0.1%.

Sterling weakens further as Theresa May’s ‘bold offer’ falters, Commons Leader, Andrea Leadson, resigns and Cabinet allies desert the PM amid demands she quits. The pound was trading down around 0.3% against both the US$ and Euro by London’s close yesterday. Having initially spiked on the idea of allowing MPs to vote on a second referendum late Tuesday, the negative reactions of both hard-line Tory and opposition lawmakers has seen confidence that the UK can pass the PM’s Brexit plan on its fourth attempt dissolve. The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, for example, suggested the PM’s new offer was a “rehash of her bad old deal”, while Conservative leadership contenders Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab strongly criticised her proposal.

US major averages soften, giving back some of yesterday’s gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average overnight fell 100.72 points, or 0.4%, to 25776.61, while the S&P 500 declined 0.3%, with the broad index remaining up 14% for the year albeit 3% below its April 30 record. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ended off 0.4%, despite a Federal judge’s ruling that that chip maker Qualcomm (-11%) had illegally suppressed competition for mobile phone semiconductors, knocked the wide industry sector hard yesterday. This and the concerns regarding US-China trade relations, upon which chip stocks are significantly dependent for end-user demand, has seem the sector tumble in May falling around 13.5% so far this month, having shot up over 34% in the opening four months of 2019. Energy stocks were also under pressure as oil prices declined following EIA data showed a surprising increase in crude stocks last week, leading the S&P 500 sector to lose 1.6% overnight.

Asia markets are falling quite sharply this morning on concerns that the trade dispute may be entering an extended stand-off, while sentiment for tech stocks is hit further as the UK’s ARM also ends supplies to Huawei. Following last week’s tariff hike and the fact that no new trade talks have been scheduled, market watchers are now beginning to doubt that a dramatic breakthrough at next month’s Group of 20 major economies meeting in Japan can be made after all. Japan’s Nikkei 225 is presently off -0.78% following release of the Markit/JMMA flash purchasing managers’ index which declined to 49.6 in May from 50.2 in the previous month. Shortly ahead of their session close, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is -1.45% and the Shanghai Composite -0.75%, while the more domestic Shenzhen Composite is -1.59%. Elsewhere, South Korea’s Kospi is -0.25% and benchmark Taiwan’s TIAEX -1.36%, Singapore’s STI, -0.65% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 -0.25%.

Today’s UK financial updates include finals from: Helical, Hummingbird Resources, Mediclinic International, PayPoint, Renewi, TalkTalk Telecom, Tate & Lyle, QinetiQ, United Utilities and Young & Co’s Brewery, interims from AJ Bell, Hollywood Bowl, Mitchells & Butlers and Premier Asset Management, quarterlies from Atalaya Mining and Sabre Insurance Group, with General Meetings due for Acacia Mining, Alliance Pharma, Avast, Aviva, Bakkavor, Coats Group, EnQuest, Essentra, Gocompare.Com, Hastings, Henry Boot, Highland Gold, Ibstock, Inchcape, Intertek, Legal & General, Nucleus Financial, Polypipe, S&U, StatPro Group, SOCO International, Strix and XLMedia. With the US’s Q1’2019 earnings announcements now in full flood, filings scheduled for today include: Autodesk, Best Buy, Brady Corp, DXC Tech, ePlus, The Gap, HP Inc, Intuit Inc, Sanderson Farms, Shoe Carnival, The Toro Co, Veeva Systems and ViaSat Inc.

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This is the profile of the UK Investor Magazine team who, in collaboration with each other and our partners, produce a number of in-depth analytical articles, reviews of investment services and publish sponsored articles from carefully selected partners.