Market report

Scots GDP growth remains above pre-pandemic level


10pm: Netflix weighs on Wall St

Netflix shares weighed on the tech-heavy Nasdaq after revealing it had just seen the first decline in subscriber numbers since 2011 in Q1. Shares in the streaming giant were down more than 35% on the session after the company reported the first fall in subscribers in over a decade. Group revenues were $7.87bn, compared to $7.71bn in the fourth quarter

At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.71%, while the S&P 500 was 0.06% softer and the Nasdaq Composite saw out the session 1.22% weaker.

5pm: London surges despite war

London stocks closed higher as investors were buoyed by positive updates from the likes of CRH and Qinetiq. The FTSE 100 ended the session up 0.37% at 7,629.22.

“Equity markets in Europe are higher thanks to the bullish session in the US last night,” said Equiti Capital market analyst David Madden.

“Even though the war in Ukraine persists, the mood in the markets is upbeat.

“Although there is speculation that Western governments will announce additional sanctions on Russia, the fact it has yet to happen has acted as a green light to the bulls.”

Just Eat Takeaway racked up gains of 2.14% after saying it was considering the partial or full sale of GrubHub as it reported a dip in first-quarter orders and cut its full-year guidance.

On the downside, Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto lost 4.75% after it reported lower-than-expected iron ore shipments in the first quarter.

9.45am: Scots economy grows

scottish economy

Scotland’s onshore GDP grew by 0.4% in February, according to statistics announced by the Chief Statistician. Output remains above the pre-pandemic level of February 2020, by 1.3%.

Output in the services sector, which accounts for around three quarters of the economy, grew by 0.7% in February. At the broad level, output in consumer facing services grew by 2.1%, while health, education and public services output fell by 1.2%, and output in all other services increased by 1.3%.

Output in the production sector grew by 0.3% in February, while construction sector output fell by 0.1%.

In the three months to February, GDP is estimated to have grown by 1.1% compared to the previous three month period. This indicates a slight slowdown in growth in Quarter 1 so far, after an increase of 1.3% in 2021 Quarter 4 (October to December).

Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said the figures show “the strength and resilience of Scotland’s businesses and our wider economy, driven by increasing output in professional, scientific and technical services, as well as in accommodation and food services.

“It is encouraging to see monthly GDP is now 1.3% above the pre-pandemic level of February 2020.”

7.30am: Hampden grows

Private bank Hampden & Co saw strong growth in loans and deposits for the year to 31 December 2021.

Total income for the year increased 29% to £13.2m (2020: £10.2m), the highest level since the Edinburgh-based bank was launched in 2015.

Full story here

7am: Watson to retire at Wood

Wood Group CEO Robin Watson has advised the board of his intention to retire as chief executive. He will remain in place until his successor is in place.

Mr Watson was appointed chief executive of the Aberdeen-based company in January 2016, having previously joined the board in January 2013 as CEO of Wood’s PSN division. He also served as chief operating officer.

The announcement comes as the company posts annual revenue down 14% on a like-for-like basis, with growth in consulting and operations more than offset by a significant decline in projects.

Full story here

7am: FirstGroup hires CEO

FirstGroup has hired telecoms veteran Graham Sutherland as chief executive. He will take up the role on 16 May .

Mr Sutherland held the same position the London listed telecoms company KCOM Group from 2018 until its sale to a Macquarie-managed infrastructure fund.

Full story here

Global markets

The FTSE 100 index is expected to open higher after Wall Street ended the session strongly, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing up 1.5%, the S&P 500 up 1.6%, and the Nasdaq Composite up 2.2%

Analysts are increasingly confident the US may well be able to ride out the worst of the economic storm despite rising inflation and after the IMF and World Bank both downgraded global growth forecasts.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was up 0.9% and the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was up 0.2%, but the Shanghai Composite was down 0.7% despite the city allowing four million more people to leave their homes as Covid restrictions ease.

Netflix takes hit

Shares in the streaming video service Netflix plunged 26% after-hours in New York, after it reported a loss in subscribers for the first time in more than a decade.

For the three months ended 31 March, revenue was up 9.9% to $7.87 billion from $7.16 billion in the first quarter last year.

However, Netflix highlighted revenue growth had slowed considerably with a loss of 200,000 subscribers during the first quarter, having previously guided to add 2.5 million net subscribers during the period.

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