Once again the flip back to basic resources helped by a positive upgrade from Morgan Stanley on a number of mining stocks is giving the UK benchmark a push northwards. The surge in oil prices and Brent crude finally managing to return to the $50/bbl marker is also boosting the cyclical sector despite the IMF’s rather negative global growth viewpoint.
The FTSE has finally pushed its way through the 6300 level for the first time since late August, this is more than a little bullish and tends to set the scene for a bigger move higher should the momentum carry. The FTSE is now down mere 3.4% year to date and while there are certainly some upside barriers from both a technical and fundamental perspective, the risk on attitude has removed some the recent downside bias. Breaking the 6400 level and a return to the levels last seen in August seems to be on the cards. The obvious correlation/causation to this more upbeat investor sentiment could well be attributed to the fact that Chinese stock markets have been closed much of this week. Ultimately a weekly close above the 6300 level is required for this optimism to remain.
Also supporting the miners is the precious metals complex which is also starting to look a lot perkier with gold prices once again challenging $1150/oz and threatening to break out of a major downtrend in play since the end of January this year. Silver, in general rather volatile, is trading at $16 for the first time since June and may well present a bullish move through its 200 day moving average.
The weakness in the US dollar can in some ways explain some of the current upside, both in equities and most importantly commodities. The Fed’s failure to act in September and the weaker than expected jobs numbers last week have essentially pushed expectations for a rate hike to at least the end of Q1 2016 and even then it’s precarious given the poor Q1 GDP growth we’ve come to expect from the US on the basis of bad weather.
Tesco (-1.9%) Nobody was expecting anything all that positive from Tesco but the fact that profits more than halved in H1 from £779m to £354m. Like for like sales were also down 1.1% and there was a note of caution from management that trading conditions will continue to be challenging. Nevertheless, pre-tax profit was £74m, a great deal better than the £19m loss posted last year. The new national living wage is also set to pose a problem for the supermarket chain, costing £500m by 2020 and expected to put even more pressure on weak profit margins. Also the company is not paying an interim dividend which will likely put off some of the income investors.
Tesco’s peers are not doing much better with Morrison falling 0.5% and Sainsbury shedding 0.9%.
Marks & Spencer (-2.41%) JPM downgrade . ‘’We expect another quarter of negative LFL performance from M&S in General Merchandise and are also concerned that LFL growth in the Food business is becoming harder to achieve. With our new TP of 550p (from 600p) offering only 6% upside to the current share price, we reduce our recommendation to Neutral.
SAB Miller (+2.5%) following yesterday’s refusal, Budweiser maker, Anheuser-Busch InBev NV has now bid 42.15 pounds a share in cash. For now, it’s uncertain if this will be acceptable and investors, judging by the muted response in the share price this morning are cautious and probably more than a little dubious that this deal will go ahead.
The transaction would be the biggest of 2015 and the fourth-largest takeover ever.
Anglo American (+4.55%) Raised to equal weight at Morgan Stanley. |Rio Tinto +5% Raised to overweight. Morgan Stanley state that stable data from China in the past few months has spurred this upgrade, potential uplift from stimulus policies increased conviction that the 19% commodity uplift by 2017 is achievable. Forcing supply disciple on the mining companies will also be an elevator to commodity prices.
Easyjet (-3%) - some profit taking following yesterday’s upside. The pop higher in oil prices may also become a factor for the airline industry should the present move prove sustainable. U.S. crude closed at nearly a three-month high yesterday after a new U.S. forecast showed tighter oil supplies next year, while Russia, Saudi Arabia and other big producers hinted at further talks to support the market.
IAG (– 2.98%)
Standard Chartered (+1.92%)Heinz Hilger announced as new Germany head. Standard Chartered just launched a fintech accelerator programme to help companies crack the Asian market.
Old Mutual (+2.72%) Underpriced and underrated according to Barclays- upgraded to Overweight
We are calling the Dow higher by 100 points to 16891.