Market report

Retail footfall falls | car sales up | Musk meets Twitter backers


5pm: China helps FTSE ends week with a flourish

Hopes of a reversal of Covid policies in China lifted the market mood. Recent reports have suggested that lockdown measures may be eased, including reducing quarantine times.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong recorded its biggest weekly gain in 11 years, rising 8.7%

The blue chip FTSE 100 index ended the week with a flourish, up 146.21 points (2.03%) at 7,334.84, despite the biggest single hike in interest rates for 30 years and a warning that Britain faces its longest recession since the 1920s.

Shares in newspaper publisher Reach were up by just 2p (1.93%) to 105.55p, suggesting there was little expectation of an offer from smaller rival National World, or that it would be pitched at a small premium. The latest price values Reach, owner of the Daily Record, Mirror and Express titles, at £334.07m.

The US added 261,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said in its closely watched employment report, well above the 200,000 gain expected by economists in a Reuters poll.

Data for September was revised higher to show 315,000 jobs created instead of the previously reported 263,000, but the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7% from 3.5%.

Footfall falls

UK retail footfall weakened in October, with Scotland’s figures worse than the average of all nations and regions.

Scottish footfall decreased by 12% in October (Yo3Y), 1.4 percentage points better than September. This is worse than the UK average decline of 11.8% (Yo3Y).

David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “This is a modest but nonetheless slightly more chipper set of results for shopper footfall in the early part of what is the critical ‘golden quarter’ of festive trading.

“Scottish footfall recorded its second-best monthly performance of the year so far during October, albeit still down an eighth on pre-pandemic levels. Retailers’ promotions, new seasonal ranges and signs of early festive purchasing helped drive a broad-based improvement across all retail destinations.

“Shopping centres secured their best foot-traffic performance of 2022 and Glasgow nudged into single digits for the first time.”

Car sales rise

British new car registrations rose for the third consecutive month in October, up by around a quarter, according to preliminary industry data released today.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said it expects a market recovery in 2023.

Twitter reassuring advertisers

Elon Musk spent his first week as CEO of Twitter reassuring companies that contribute more than $5 billion annually to the social media company.

Jason Calacanis, an angel investor and podcast host who is assisting Mr Musk said Twitter had a ‘very productive day’ of meetings with advertisers and marketers.

However, some clients have already paused ad spending on Twitter this week, according to other sources, partly over the months-long chaos around the deal and because of planned changes that would allow questionable content.

IPG, an advertising holding company that represents major clients including Coca-Cola and American Express, has advised clients to pause their Twitter ads for the next week, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Mass layoffs have begun, and Musk has sent a blunt email to 3,700 Twitter workers telling them that they are fired, but will remain on the payroll until 2 February as he skirts California’s tough workers laws. 

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