17 July 2020
London stocks slipped on Thursday (16 July) following bleak data revealing how 649,000 UK workers had lost their jobs during the coronavirus. The FTSE 100 was down 0.67% to 6,250.69 at market close.
SECTOR IN FOCUS
A rally in copper prices added shine to FTSE-listed mining stocks such as Rio Tinto plc (RIO), Anglo American plc (AAL) and BHP Group plc (BHP) this week. The price of the brown metal has shot up more than 40% since mid-March, suggesting investors are confident about the recovery of the global economy, despite a recent uptick in coronavirus cases in many countries. Copper is seen as a good indicator of investor confidence as it is used in a wide range of industries and sectors. Therefore, when the price of copper rises, it typically means investors expect demand for the metal to grow.
Many shops are only now beginning to open again after lockdown, meaning they had been closed for the best part of four months. With the High Street effectively shut, it was inevitable that retail sales volumes would also suffer. In April, sales plunged a record 18.1% before making a partial recovery in May. However, ONS data from last month revealed that sales are still down 13.1% on February, a month before lockdown. There could well be further improvement in sales when the ONS reports its June data on Friday (24 July), though don’t expect fireworks.
While the S&P 500 has not yet reached its pre-coronavirus level, it has recovered quite strongly since the big sell-off in mid-March. Whether it can continue such progress is debateable, but if you want to increase your exposure to US shares in your portfolio, you may want to consider Artemis US Select I Acc GBP (GB00BMMV5105). The fund invests primarily in US large-cap firms and has an ongoing charge of 0.85%.
23 July – Consumer goods giant Unilever plc (ULVR) disappointed with its Q1 figures, therefore investors will want to see improvement when it reports its half-year figures on Thursday (23 July).
24 July – Educational publisher Pearson plc (PSON) has struggled over the past few years to transition successfully from hard-cover to digital textbooks. All eyes will be on whether the firm posts yet another profit warning when it releases its interim results on Friday (24 July).