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Week in Review: Surging oil stocks nudge FTSE 100 into the black

03 April 2020


Categories: The week in review

FTSE NEWS

A surge in the price of Brent Crude helped lift the FTSE 100 into the black on Thursday (2 April), with oil giants Royal Dutch Shell plc (RDSA) and BP plc (BP) among the day’s best performers. At the close of play, the UK’s blue-chip index was up 0.47% to 5,480.22.

  • IHS/Markit kick off the week on Monday (6 April) with the latest UK construction PMI data for March. There is likely to be a sharp fall in activity as a result of the coronavirus and subsequent government lockdown.
  • On Tuesday (7 April), the Office for National Statistics will release the latest data on the efficiency of the UK’s labour force. Boosting the country’s productivity has been a key priority for policymakers since the financial crisis.
  • KPMG and Rec will update on the health of the UK’s labour market in a new report to be published on Wednesday (8 April).
  • The Office for National Statistics will reveal if there was any pre-lockdown damage to the economy as a result of Covid-19 on Thursday (9 April) when it releases monthly GDP data for February.
  • It’s Good Friday on 10 April, so markets are closed and there are no major economic announcements planned.


SECTOR IN FOCUS


Banks have a key role to play in the coronavirus crisis as they are the conduits responsible for funnelling stimulus money to the businesses and people who need it most. However, shareholders will have been left frustrated this week after the decision of the UK’s major banks to suspend dividend payments until the end of 2020 following pressure from the Bank of England (BoE). Between them, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Barclays (BARC)Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY), HSBC (HSBA) and Standard Chartered (STAN) were due to pay out more than £8 billion in 2019 dividends but will instead hold onto this cash to help them ride out Covid-19 and to ensure they can carry on lending. Following discussions with the BoE, the banks have also decided to temporarily halt staff bonus payments and share buybacks. Since the announcement on Tuesday (31 March), the shares of all of the banks mentioned have fallen by more than 10%.


ECONOMIC UPDATE


The International Monetary Fund, which offers help to countries in financial difficulty, is set to publish its eagerly anticipated semi-annual Global Financial Stability Report on Thursday (9 April). Expect the coronavirus as well as rising corporate and national debt to be dominant themes.


FUND WATCH


If you’re approaching retirement, then it’s likely you’ll want your investment portfolio to start generating an income for you when you give up work. A good global equity income fund will do this while offering some protection to your investments by spreading them out across multiple markets. Janus Henderson Global Equity Income Fund I Inc (GB0031263899) offers a solid yield (or income) for a reasonable fee.

 

COMPANY ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

8 April – Supermarkets have benefitted enormously from coronavirus-induced panic buying of late, with sales hitting record levels in March. We will find out how much of that revenue boost has been captured in Tesco plc’s (TSCO) 2020 preliminary results when the supermarket giant reports on Wednesday (8 April).


8 AprilASOS plc (ASC), the online fashion retailer popular with trendy twenty-somethings, is set to report its interim results on Wednesday (8 April). The retailer recently halted deliveries to manage its stock levels due to a spike in orders from homebound customers.

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Author: MRM Categories: The week in review